You know that feeling you get at the end of a really great Yoga class or after a nice relaxing massage? Those few magical moments of bliss where everything feels at peace in the world? If we are lucky, we can make this bliss last for a couple of hours. With a little practice and a few quick tips, we can bring this peace into our day whenever we desire!
You may be familiar with the term 'fight or flight.' This describes what happens to our nervous system in stressful situations. We may feel our face flush, our heart rate increase, our mouth may become dry, or our adrenaline begins to pump. This is our body preparing to stay and fight or get away from a 'harmful situation' as fast as possible.
Our bodies evolved this complex system to protect us from danger. However, our body did not evolve the ability to tell the difference between an impending deadline, unexpected heavy traffic when we are in a hurry, or to a mother bear headed our way protecting her young. This means we respond to EVERY stressful situation as if it were a matter of life or death! You can see how this might become problematic.
Fear not! Below are a few tips and tricks to guide your body and mind back to the Bliss.
#1 CLOSE YOUR EYES AND VISUALIZE
Our mind is a powerful tool. Simply close your eyes and think of a time when you felt the blissful magic of a deeply relaxed state. Feel it, taste it, smell everything about that blissful moment. Pretty soon you will find yourself letting go a little bit!
#2 BREATHE DEEPLY WITH INTENTION
Sit or stand where you are with your feet evely pressing into the earth. Inhale deeply through the nose trying to make the belly rise and ribs go out wide (like stretching out the band on your sports bra). Exhale with the same deliberate intention completely emptying the belly. 3 deep breaths is enough to trigger your nervous system to relax at a cellular level.
#3 TAKE A MINDFUL MOMENT
Draw your shoulders upward towards your ears, then rapidly let them go dropping them back down. Repeat by scrunching your face, release. Finally, squeeze the glute muscles (your booty) and release. This 15 second exercise helps to teach us if we are holding onto our stress. Do this once an hour or more throughout your day and make a mental note of what you are holding onto.
Bliss can be yours whenever you desire. It does get easier with practice and you may even notice all of your daily interactions slowing down a bit! Give this gift to yourself. You are worth it, I promise!
Stay tuned for my next post which will dive deeper into how stress relates to our perceptions of pain.
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Dr. Megan Anderson is an integrative women's health physical therapist specializing in pregnancy and post-partum care. She loves helping the women she works with get back to doing what they love. She also regularly offers workshops and yoga classes related to women's healthcare issues like diastasis, pelvic floor health, and post-partum fitness. www.MeganAndersonPT.com