What is a Bodymind Connection?
Below we have a picture of my good friend Sally blissfully melting onto my table. We've successfully shifted her out of stress response and into rest response. Look at that smile as she gets all tucked in, prepared to integrate genuine relaxation into her nervous system. Now, all Sally has to do, is remember what this experience feels like any time she's stressed. But alas! Easier said then done! Here's why:
Read more below...
Driving our cars, tapping away on our laptops, even brushing our teeth we rarely notice just how much effort we use to exercise our daily tasks. Spending all this time in action and activity winds our nervous system up, shifting us into 'stress response', keeping us alert and in anticipation of life's daily challenges. Before we know it, because we have not taken the time to notice just how much time we spend in 'stress response' we get stuck there. That said, a bodymind connection is what it is to notice (mind) how we are feeling (body).
Us humans have a tendency to wander around touting off just how 'stressed' we are. If not externally vocalized to others, it is often internally expressed to self.
"I'm so stressed!"
"You're stressing me out!"
"This is so stressful!"
Which is great, as these statements are all evidence of being stuck in stress response. Now, if we were to shift the perception of 'being' stressed to FEELING stressed we start to pay attention to how we experience stress in the body or to notice the physical symptoms of stress response. These are as follows:
Physical Symptoms of Stress Response
Short, shallow breathing.
Inhalation/exhalation are uneven (easier to exhale than inhale/easier to inhale than exhale.)
Feeling 'stuck' or feeling 'butterflies' in stomach/solar plexus.
'Tight' muscles in neck/shoulders/hips.
Many of us do not have the internalized expressions of "I am so stressed" cuing us to acknowledge the experience of stress response. Without this cue, take the time to notice what is happening in the body. Are there physical symptoms of stress? They are undeniable.
The moment we notice the physical symptoms of stress, we have created a bodymind connection. Hurrah! The next step is to notice how we feel about what we feel. This step is crucial and is often quite scary for some, especially those who experience panic attacks. This is because the perception of our stress response has been conditioned to be negative. What this means is that we have been conditioned to view our experience of stress as 'bad' or 'wrong' when in actuality it is a brilliant mechanism the body has devised to alert us to a potential threat. Thanks body! How this conditioning happened was because no one around us felt comfortable with us being uncomfortable and so we were taught that to 'be good' we had to always 'feel good' which is complete and utter bullshit. With that, I encourage you to treat your stress response the way we would have needed to be treated to condition ourselves that this response is a simple messenger. Here's what that looks like:
"Oh hey! There's stress! Cool, I wonder what messages my body is trying to tell me." In doing so, you have again created a bodymind connection and in listening to your body with openness and curiosity you have created the exact response necessary to observe what your body is telling you.
A response from someone who has panic or anxiety attacks might be:
"Oh god I feel like shit, my breathing is so fast I might die!"
From here, you can create a bodymind connection by saying:
"Cool! Check out how fast my breathing is getting! Rad!"
The moment we notice our body's responses and reward them with openness and curiosity we create the necessary space to shift from stress response to rest response by offering the body a sense of safety. Responding to stress as though it is bad or wrong intensifies the stress response because we are now seeing it as the 'threat'. Responding to our stress with openness and curiosity gives us the space to witness the 'stress response' as a messenger then decide if the message truly holds any weight. For example, "Am I really going to die? Or can I take the time to consciously slow my breathing?"
Physical Symptoms of Rest Response
Long, easy breaths.
Breathing is initiated by the diaphram/belly/solar plexus.
Inhalations and exhalations are even.
Muscles feel rested/supple.
And here you have it, the basics of what you need to create a bodymind connection. Please note that this takes practice! The more we practice
Responding with openness and curiosity
the stronger our bodymind connection becomes. First, we might notice a month after the initial stressor, then a week after, then a day after, then an hour after, then during, then actually before we even respond with stress. MAGIC. No matter what and no matter when you notice, respond with openness and curiosity and decide if/how you'd like to shift.
Why I love doing what I do so much is because I help reinforce your bodymind connection with all the necessary tools to anchor this process. No matter if it is in person or on a call, if it is a bodywork session or a life coaching session (they always overlap), you are being guided to recondition yourself in a way that suits your optimal wellness.
With that, for tips and tools on consciously shifting out of stress response stay tuned for more blog posts and check out my youtube channel. I have a video posted below with simple techniques to shift.