So how do we do this?
I like to think of our Universe as an elegant and helpful system. When we’re carrying an unresolved charge about something – when there’s a lot of bound physical and emotional energy – then physical events, life circumstances, and interactions with other people become very helpful tools to bring our awareness to the stored energy. How does this happen? Your buttons get pushed.
You know how things push your buttons? Like that thing that drives you crazy, begins a pattern of bad habits, or triggers a part of your body to hurt? This is very important, because it’s revealing something:
This “button pushing” activates a part of our body, spine, or nervous system that was operating “below the radar” of our conscious mind. Until it was triggered, we couldn’t find it!
This can show up as physical pain, tension, or feeling and acting not like your self. This is wonderful, because now that the button has been pushed, we are aware of what’s happening and can now DO SOMETHING WITH IT! Woo-hoo! Once our buttons are pushed, here’s how to effectively move through the energy:
1) Celebrate Awareness, Don’t Judge It: This is the most important part! When you’re aware that you’ve been triggered by something, don’t beat yourself up for it – celebrate this opportunity! This is a chance to be aware of something you weren’t aware of before!
As we mentioned in an earlier blog, the key to growth in stressful times is to be aware. When you recognize that your buttons have been pushed, you can take ownership for the fact that it’s YOUR button – it’s really NOT those crazy people, or the time change, or being within 3 cubic miles of a gluten molecule. This trigger is revealing a subconcious process… so get aware and curious.
Start by getting good in hindsight (it’s a lot easier AFTER THE FACT to start developing awareness), and use Somatic Respiratory Integration (SRI) Stages 2 and 3 to find your body’s emotional button, take the emotional charge off, and take responsibility for YOUR buttons. Meditation and yoga are great tools to support this as well. With practice, you can catch it in the moment and stay aware… even while having an intense emotional experience! That’s powerful.
2) New Body Movements: Have you ever noticed how teenagers come up with all the cool new dance moves… while adults stuck in a rut don’t move so well? New ranges of physical movement help with emotional well-being and the expression of passion. So don’t sit on it, shake it out… in a new way!
Seriously, I mean stretch, shake, arch, clench and release, dance, punch a pillow—do something DIFFERENT than your usual movements, stretches, and exercises! Switch from pilates to yoga to belly dance to SOMETHING new for you, not just more of the same.
When triggered, check in to your body for where tension has surfaced, and move in a way this part does not normally move.
Why? If you want more of the same, just keep moving the way you always move. If you want a change in your stuck range of emotions so you can HEAL, you’ve got to MOVE in new ways!
Emotion and motion are strongly interconnected, and more options in one category support more options in the other. Initially, just shake it out. Then stretch into it and see what’s in there to explore the nooks and crannies for the undiscovered parts of you that are hiding out (until you’re triggered, that is)! This is a great PROACTIVE strategy – find it before it grabs you!
3) Facial Expression: Like posture, our face tells us what we’re feeling, or fighting. Learn to use it consciously to free up some emotional stress. Stretching the facial muscles even a little outside your normal range is liberating. An easy way to do this is in the privacy of your bathroom with a mirror.
Start by stretching your jaw open, forward, backwards, and sideways. Stretch your ears, eyes, and nose in all directions. Stick your tongue out as far as it can go and then get creative, using parts of your face you normally don’t move.
It may sound like a silly thing to do… but does it make more sense to be silly, relaxed, and healthy than to be repressed, tense and in pain?
If you think the latter makes more sense and is preferable, then it’s your MIND, not your EMOTIONS, that’s stuck – and we will cover that in a later blog post. Until then, learn to express every angle of your face, and you might be surprised by how good you feel!
4) Sound: This is an important way to express emotional energy. Ever been so mad you could scream? What happens when you make the sound? What happens to your jaw, neck, and stomach when you don’t? Sound and pain relief go together—that’s why we grunt or cry out when we stub our toes. Good starting points are to make a sound that vibrates that part of the body, or make the sound that would come out if the tension increased 200 times. For some people this can seem challenging, especially if it hasn’t been safe to speak up before, so start quietly if you need to. If you stick with it, this is incredibly liberating!
The key to engage and then change the emotional part of the brain is to make sound for more than 7-10 seconds! You’ve got to stretch it out, and not a loud breath “Ahhh…” kind of thing. The actual SOUND. The “if a brick was dropped on your foot, what sound would naturally come out” kind of sound. If this seems too challenging, then start by making yourself laugh for 1 minute straight. Set a timer and do it. Laugh at nothing with a full belly laugh. This will totally reboot your emotional chemistry, and after that 7-10 seconds of pure unadulterated sound will seem EFFORTLESS.
Try it. You’ll like it.
5) Get Network Care: According to the research of Dr. Candace Pert, the molecules of emotion (neuropeptides) are primarily found in the spine. Studies AND personal experience shows that regular Network spinal entrainments increase people’s ability to cope with emotional stress, in addition to releasing physical tension and increase quality of life. Level 2A of Network Spinal Analysis Care – where we stretch specific areas of the spine we call Spinal Gateways – really focuses on building the body’s access to your emotional range. This can be used for new healing responses, adaptability to stress, and instant action! Developing a world-class spine allows for a full range of emotions… which supports amazing health.
Remember, emotion is a physical process to build “fuel” for taking action. Emotion comes up because something needs to change instantly so we can adapt to our environment in the NOW, not in how it SHOULD be. If we repress what we’re feeling and try to control our emotions, we will express that energy in a shadow way, meaning we’ll hurt, get sick, depressed, or act out unconsciously when it’s triggered. We will also miss the opportunity the moment is offering to us.
When we learn to recognize the emotions for what they are, and let our body move that energy – without needing to understand it – we are giving our selves the leverage to heal, feel, and fully experience the moment.
Just like the feeling in our stomach can mean “feed me,” or “stop feeding me,” other emotions can be that simple. When it seems complex, that’s just where our mind gets stuck. One of the best ways to shake up our stuck mental habits is – not surprisingly – the five steps we shared above! So explore these 5 steps, practice them, get your spine checked, and above all have FUN with it!