If you’re anything like the rest of the women I work with you want to feel radiant, sexy and confident in your body AND experience a life of freedom, ease, and full self expression. You know nourishing your body is an important part of all of that, and yet you don’t quite know how to find that middle way between doing everything right and …. throwing it all to the wind.
If you’re not waking up early, moving through your morning ritual, nourishing your body with clean, wholesome foods, and showing up fully for your to-do list, then you’re abandoning your body, checking out of the here and now, and recklessly burning it all to the ground. Consistent action gets thrown out the window. You hide. You become dim and small energetically, and you put your big dreams and intentions on hold. Until enough is enough and you go back to the drawing board yet again. New intention, fresh start, same old place you’ve been a million times before.
I promise it really is that simple. It’s just not always easy.
Stress deeply impacts the way in which we show up in life. The stress response is primarily controlled by the reptilian brain. The lizard or reptilian brain is all about reacting and survival-based thinking. And this reptilian brain, when in control, is constantly seeking out potential threats, and creating them when there are none.
What does this mean for you?
Chronic Stress = Survival-based living (rather than thriving), unnecessary struggle (rather than peace + joy) and a disempowered state of reacting (rather than intelligently responding) with choices that may not always be in your highest good.
Choices that arise from the reptilian brain are instinctual and impulsive. We reactively reach for behaviors and substances to dull the anxiety or to feel a quick lift from the discomfort that we are experiencing.
Think about it. You have a stressful week at work and you find yourself on Friday elbow deep in the tortilla chip bag while binging on Netflix.
We start to numb out and check out as a byproduct of the freeze response to stress. Ever seen a deer in the headlights? This survival response can keep you locked into patterns like overeating, chronic dieting, or zoning out in front of the tv or computer for hours. We make choices that we intuitively know are not in line with our heart’s desires, generating even more anxiety and emotional discord. Checking out and numbing out with food, tv, alcohol and work is simply a survival strategy, a coping strategy, and a way to manage discomfort.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard, “just listen to your body’s wisdom” and “follow your intuition.” And, sure, intellectually you know what it means and it sounds great! But on a body level, you have no felt sense of how to do this on a day to day basis.
Here’s the thing… listening to your body above all else demands that you actually be in your body. We can’t access body wisdom, body feedback, or intuition when we are disconnected, up in our heads, checked out, or numbed out – and unfortunately that’s the state a lot of us are in.
When we’re present, we bring all of our senses to the experience. We register pleasure fully. We gather our attention from all the places that have us feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and anxious, and we come home to our breathing bodies. Alive in the moment. Awake for the experiencing.
When we practice conscious self-care, we allow the nervous system to deeply relax and unwind, by communicating to the body that its needs will be heard and met. When we tap into the relaxation that is possible when we are stepping up and nourishing and consciously caring for the body and soul, we begin to respond rather than react to life. In a relaxed, embodied state we are also more likely to make choices that perpetuate this harmonious, relaxed, centered state of mind.
The parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system governs the relaxation response and it’s really important to note that this is where all healing and renewal take place. As we begin to drop into a state of relaxation rather than chronic stress, we nourish our energy, we radiate from the inside out for luminous leadership, and we create the inner presence that is the lifeblood of our business.
1) Start to create a relationship with your body, honoring her and her wisdom. If you’ve been on and off diets your whole life, eating by the rules or throwing all caution to the wind – then you likely have a relationship with your body that is more like a dictatorship with moments of rebellious uprising rather than a partnership with mutual collaboration. But we’ll never find a harmonious relationship with our body wisdom by following externally imposed rules or trying to figure it all out in our heads. When we let the body guide the way, we liberate ourselves from this persistent and painful struggle that comes from overanalyzing and overthinking.
Your body is a self-healing, intelligent, and instinctual animal – deeply connected to the greater wisdom of the universe. Want to let go of all the confusion and overwhelm? Drop out of the mind and get into the body. Trust her to lead the way.
Start to tune into your body and come into communion with her way of speaking. It may come through whispers of desire, symptoms, cravings, or bursts of energy. Get quiet, get still, and pay attention.
When making decisions tune into the wisdom of your body: what kind of foods would be most nourishing for your body? What aligned action in your business would bring you pleasure and joy? Give yourself the gift of fully soaking in every experience with pleasure, joy and relaxation.
2.) Make time throughout the day for Breath Breaks + Heart Check-ins: During the day, make yourself a nice cup of Rose Tulsi Tea (my fave) and take a moment to reconnect with your breath. Many people unknowingly breathe in patterns that actually trigger a stress response. Start by emptying all the air in the lungs, pulling belly button to spine. Place one hand on your lower belly and one on your heart. Then take a deep inhale through your nose, filling your belly first with air and then the lower chest, followed by the upper chest. Exhale fully through an open mouth with a relaxed jaw. After about 10 breaths just like this, start to let go and begin to breathe naturally.Do a body scan for tension and areas of aliveness. Feel into the center of your heart and, if it feels right, repeat the mantra Om (inhale) Ma (exhale), filling up with the support, love and nurturance all around you – Earth and Sky.
3.) Set aside about 10 minutes each day to play some relaxing music and check in with yourself physically, energetically, mentally, and emotionally in a journal.
4.) Start to enjoy movement for movement’s sake without attachment to how it shapes your body or the number of calories burned. Instead, tune in to what your body is asking for. How can you honor your body with movement? Relish in the experience of taking time for yourself and dropping out of the head and into the body. When a woman is really inhabiting her body rather than treating it as a tool/enemy/object, it’s empowering and sexy:)
5) Ground Yourself with Essential Oils and Self Massage. Aromatherapy and self massage are wonderful tools to ground back into the present experience of the body. Add 6-12 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil like sesame or almond oil for a relaxing self massage. In Ayurveda this practice is referred to as Abhyanga and it is one of the more effective practices for grounding our energy, centering, and overcoming fatigue. Even just a foot and hand, and arm massage is a great way to sneak in this practice each day.
Try these practices for one week and see if you feel a little bit more empowered in your business + life. A little less anxious, and a little lighter in your body, heart, and mind. Like all practices, they don’t require that we show up perfectly, they just demand that we show up.