Whether or not you welcome the holidays, the extra stress of this time can be crazy-making, indeed tailor-made to defocus us with deadlines, entertaining, shopping, traffic . . . need I say more? It need not be that way though, if we remember to check in with ourselves, focus, and be present for the gifts of the moment as they come our way. Although this is easier said than done, there are several sanity-preserving tools that can easily be employed, no matter where you are.
The other day I found myself stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the highway. Suddenly I noticed that I had so much anxiety that I was gripping the steering wheel for all that it was worth. I felt that I just had to be ready to jump into a faster lane, or avoid an accident, at any moment. I was so focused on what might happen, I lost touch with being in “the now.”
My poor sympathetic nervous system was actually so taxed, I was holding my muscles tight enough to create pain. Not only that, I also actually was unaware of the beauty that was happening directly in front, behind, and to the sides of me, even on the highway.
Fortunately, I caught myself and remembered that I did not have to live in that state of hyper-focus. I used Hook-ups™, one of the BrainGym™ tools that I teach, to escape the fight-or-flight state of being. I relaxed into an acceptance of knowing that eventually we would start moving again and, in the meantime, it wouldn’t do any good to be anxious or angry about a situation over which I had no control.
My nervous system relaxed, I loosened my grip and settled in to the present moment. This allowed me to avoid the backlash of creating soreness and pain in my muscles later on, and gave me the chance to look around at the scenery that I often take no notice of.
I noticed beautiful vineyards that were vibrantly changing colors, Canadian geese traversing the sky overhead, and a spectacular sunset in the making. Now that is what I call the gifts of the season! And they were free!
Tip of the Month:
To soothe anxiety, try doing Hook-ups™. There are two parts to this simple technique:
1) Cross your ankles and cross arms in front of your chest, so that each hand is touching the opposite shoulder lightly. No brownie points for doing this as hard as you can. Hold these acupressure points as you touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
2) Place your feet flat on the floor, really connecting with the sensation of the soles in your shoes. Place your fingertips gently together as if you were holding an invisible ball. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Now hold these points and breathe deeply.
The process of Hook-ups™ actually uses both parts, sequentially. Depending on your situation, you may choose to do one or both. If you are stuck in the midst of traffic, as I was, you can just do part two.
Hold the points until you feel the breath ease and your anxiety calm down. The sympathetic nervous system will relax, allowing you to have a different experience with whatever is truly happening in the moment.
Stay tuned for upcoming tips and tools that can profoundly change the experience of being present in the beautiful world that we live in, even when dealing with chaos.
Wishing you the best the season has to offer,