Sometimes we all need a little space, right? Asking for space from another person allows us to regain our bearings and think things through. Now, while I thoroughly enjoy the planetary kind, the space I’m talking about is the space within us between reaction and response. We all have the ability to get emotionally hijacked. This happens when we zoom into autopilot, often reacting out of emotion and regretting the outcome. What if, instead of reacting, we gave ourselves SPACE?
TRY THIS MINDFUL EXERCISE:
Stop what you are doing. Take a time out, even if it’s only for 60 seconds.
Pay attention to what’s going on inside your body. What do you observe? How has your breath changed? Are you clenching your jaw or turning inward? Don’t judge what is happening, just observe what is happening.
Address the emotion. Can you name what you are feeling? If you can’t quite describe it, what are the closest emotions to what you are feeling right now? Can you pick two words, one to describe how you are feeling physically and one to describe how you are feeling mentally right now?
Calming breaths. Take a moment and breathe with your belly, they don’t have to be deep, just whatever feels comfortable. My favorite is to raise my hands above my head in order to get a deeper breath. Try to inhale patience….and exhale stress. I’ve found that 7x works out best for me, personally. Now belly breathing may not be easy for some, but it helps regulate the stress hormone, as does stretching and loosening up the neck muscles. (I’ll tell you all about the the Vagus nerve in a later blog post! It’s the longest cranial nerve we have and it is directly involved with our fight, freeze, or flight response).
Exercise compassion. Is it okay to feel this? Consider giving yourself permission to let go of any tension you do not need to hold on to right now. Also, consider allowing your feelings to exist for a moment before we distract ourselves. You can read more about building emotional tolerance from my past post: The Fear of Emotional Quicksand.
We are wonderfully human and we have emotions. Emotions drive so many of the decisions that we make. But, sometimes we just need some SPACE in order to make healthy, balanced ones.
With warm regards,
Samantha Grimes, M.A. MFTI