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How to instantly soothe signs of physical stress.


How to instantly soothe signs of physical stress.

Have you ever found yourself flipping through your calendar, your schedule, your to-do list—instinctively tunneling down the rabbit hole of each impending meeting, each anticipated event—and you suddenly realize that you have stopped breathing...? 

I found myself holding my breath yesterday, while reviewing my particularly busy week to come. I had literally stopped a vital, involuntary, life-sustaining action while looking at my phone’s weekly planner. My chest started to feel tight, my body became rigid, tense, while my brain left the present moment to try and lock down future details over which I had little-to-no control. Once I became aware of them, the acute physical manifestations I was feeling made me realize how often we hijack our entire nervous system when we start to feel significant stress. 

I stopped, put my phone down for a moment, and drew in a deep breath. My mind was still on my schedule, still racing. It bounced back and forth between the anticipation of future events and the worry that I not repeat past ‘mistakes.’ Back and forth, back and forth, a mental ping-pong match between the past and future—in the pickle of which my body had been trapped running around in metaphorical circles. For, our bodies only live in the present moment. Our hearts do not beat in the past, our blood is not oxygenated in the the future, our cells do not live in any other time period but the current one. The brilliant physical system of our bodies—the meticulous machine that even the best scientists have yet to fully understand—exists inside each millisecond, from micro-moment to micro-moment; fully alive and in the now. We can either join it—and bolster its ingenuity by exponentially combining forces in the powerful present moment, or we can distract, detract, or even derail our body’s metabolic magnificence by counteracting it with the absence of our mind from the moment. Our consummate power comes from what we feel in the present; right here, right now.

After putting my phone down, and starting to breathe, I put my hand over my heart. I slipped it under the collar of my shirt, so that I could feel the skin of my hand contact the skin of my sternum, the warmth of blood flowing beneath the surface, the systemic rhythm of life force for which my body was innately responsible. I put my other hand on my abdomen while I challenged myself to breathe deeper and deeper until I could feel it rise and fall underneath the warmth of my hand’s contact. I concentrated on the energy, the heat coming from my own touch, the sensation of breathing, the beat of my body’s brilliant heart. I did my best to focus on nothing else, and eventually I got present. I synced my body, my mind—and subsequently my spirit—and let myself finally step into the NOW. It took a beat. It took focus. It took patience. But, finally, I relaxed on a cellular level. An intrinsic calm swept over me, a knowing that everything we had, have and were to encounter had come into our lives for our own adventure; a deep, resonant feeling that the advent of everything to come was more than manageable, it was incredibly exciting. 

By the time I reached for my phone again, the notations on my calendar were simply flags along the slalom course of my life—ones for which I had trained, ones around which I had longed to flow, ones to which my present momentum would take me in perfect time. For, I was finally synced up to the present moment—my mind, body, soul moving together in the freest form of authenticity—and set, on perfect course, to the speed of life.

It is absolutely possible to dissipate the stress of life. We just need to recognize it, take a beat, connect to our bodies, send loving energy to our nervous system, and get present. We can handle ANYTHING inside the most powerful NOW of who we are body, mind and soul.