EP:63 - 5 WAYS TO STAY PRESENT WHEN LIFE FEELS LIKE TOO MUCH
(This video is recorded from a YouTube LIVE session)
There are moments and seasons in life that simply feel like too much.
We get triggered and our survival brain takes over. And the only option for our brains is to fight, flight or freeze.
We end up leaving the present moment and our bodies to manage in intensity of emotions.
And then we disassociate.
DISASSOCIATE: Any habitual rejection of what is going on.
Any moment when we say this is not OK, a pain in the body and emotion that comes up this fear or loneliness or shame or anger when we pull away from it rather than open up to it. There is some level of disassociation and pulling away.
And we do this typically in 3 ways: 1. Striving for perfection aka control, 2. numbing out and coping with distraction like alcohol, social media, food, Netflix etc, or 3. disrupting joyful moments by "dress rehearsing tragedy" and cognitively playing out worst case scenario.
And when we do this we cannot live fully alive. It robs us of joy, happiness, peace, and fulfillment.
THE COST: Dissociation cuts us off from our full aliveness.
So the question for the day is: What am I unwilling to feel?
Our power is in the present moment. When we can welcome what is here no matter how uncomfortable it is and move through it towards peace.
The more we can process now, the fewer emotional skeletons we will have in our closet threatening to erupt at any time.
There are 5 ways to stay present when life feels like too much.
Way #1: Recognize
Awareness is the beginning of being present. We have to recognize that we have left the present moment. We have to notice that we shut down and are being triggered.
Way #2: Allow
When we are get caught in flight, fight or freeze we have to meet ourselves with a lot of tenderness. We have to befriend whatever is coming up and allow it to be there without judgement. Pain is part of life, and we can’t avoid it by resisting it. We can only minimize it by accepting it and dealing with it well. So one way that I allow my emotions is to name them. Validating your emotions means accepting them. Judging yourself for feeling what you are feeling, or adding shame to the mix only paralyzes you further.
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Way #3: Embody
This is the most powerful step. It is so incredibly powerful to connect back to your body. This combats the looping that is happening in your head. One of the most powerful pieces of advice my therapist gave me years ago was to feel your feet. When you find yourself escaping the present moment, find your feet. Look down at them. Wiggle your toes. Feel your feet. And then you can ask, “Where am I feeling this anxiety in my body?. Where is it’s home? Is it in my heart, my stomach…? Pausing to feel the sensations coming up in your body. Without any judgement. Just get back into your body and it will snap you out of the trance of your mind.
Way #4: Connect
Once you’re tuned back into your body, you can start to come back to the present moment instead of the stories that have been playing out in your head. And one of the best ways to do this is to connect to your breath. There is nothing that will get you back into the present moment like breathing.And as you breathe start to look around. Notice. What is real? Look around. Notice anything you can in your environment. Trees. People. Your body. The floor. The sky. Anything. And you can repeat. Come back. Come back. Come back.
Way #5: Nurture
Lastly, it’s important to address the core need. Ask yourself: “What is asking for my deepest attention right now?” What needs comforted, what needs soothed? In this present moment right now, what do I need? How can I lovingly nurture my heart?
The gift is always in the present moment. When we can sit in the discomfort and allow it to be, we move through the pain so much faster than burying it. And then we have the opportunity to be fully alive in our lives.