What to do when all feels lost ...
Last week was tough. There were co-parenting challenges and children starting new schools, cancelled events and unexpected extreme weather patterns. I felt hormonal, overwhelmed and frustrated. Because my ayurvedic constitution is pitta (fire, fire, fire) my go-to place in overwhelm is anger and ‘acting out’. Over the years I’ve learnt many ways to manage this. Peppermint oil helps (really! it cools me right down), breathing helps. Anchoring into a different body sensation helps too (for example feeling my bare feet on the earth). This week I needed more … a complete reframe and I turned to the steps outlined in a brilliant podcast I listened to recently. I wanted to share these steps with you because they were incredibly useful to me and I think they may help you. This is a guide for what to do when you are at your wits end, when you feel unable to cope and totally overloaded.
‘Trauma Response’ coping steps:
1) Do some shaking. Get up and shake your whole body out! My teachers at Jivamukti Yoga have spoke about the power of this practice and I know it works. Shaking is what animals do in the wild to release stress (which is why wild animals don’t carry trauma – where as domestic animals which we have trained to suppress natural instincts and behaviours, do). This shaking creates what is technically described as a ‘neurogenic tremor’ and it teaches your body to let go to mounting tension.
2) Bring a lot of activity to front of brain (this happens when we experience wonder or awe – for example when you see a double rainbow, smell an uplifting fragrance such as a favouite essential oil or listen to a special piece of music). This allows your brain to be less triggered in distress and instead turn to something positive. It is a practice which induces your brain in a different way. It’s the internal equivalent of turning off the news and turning on mantra music. Change the channel in your brain.
3) Increase activity between analytical and intuitive self. The positively induced brain is a ‘stage’ to create a brand new story … use the real estate of the brain to tell a new story, recruit participation in the story from both left and right hemisphere of the brain in the most interesting and reverent way possible. For example sing mantras (or just sing anything uplifting). Find reverence in a small detail of your day or this moment. Sustainable change happens incrementally over time in small doses. When we create a new story instead of sinking into an old habit we toggle across left and right brain crossing the mid-line and counterbalancing extreme emotions.
4) A story can become true if you tell it often enough. See the other person or the trigger in beauty and light. Reframe your old victim stories.
For more information and insight on these teachings listen to this brilliant podcast
with thanks to Elena Brower and Lisa Wimberger for their inspirations.