It would seem that there is a pandemic of sorts that has been sticking around.  It may not cause the sniffles, but it has been impacting the body, mind and hearts of many across this planet.  With increasing discussions of what the future may or may not bring around finances, economy and potential lockdowns, worry and fear have moved in for many.  There has been constant ups and downs, and just when this summer was beginning to feel “normal”, the rumours and inflation have crept back in.

Worry is an indicator that the stress response, the “fight or flight” has been activated.  It is also possible that it never did get turned off from the last time its button was pushed.  Worry, anxiety and stress show up for us in many ways.  For some it may be nightmares or constant puttering, unable to sit and relax.  For others it may be muscle tension, headaches or belly aches. Relationships, health, work, self care and more suffer when we live in crisis mode.  And, let’s be real.  Our whole world has been in crisis mode for one reason or another.  You, however, are deserving of peace and calm.

Lack of control in our lives and not feeling safe in our world or body show up as defence mechanisms.  These ways of coping are often as unhealthy as the stress.  And, if this resonates with you, please know that you are not alone!  It is true that we can not control the actions of others and systems of power.  However, there are ways that we can find grace and strategies within a world in chaos.

Here are some strategies that may be helpful during these challenging times.

Name and Address the Fear

Often we feel the feeling, but it comes on so strong or quick that our body responds as a protective mechanism.  However, when we can physically stop what we are doing and name the fear, it allows us then to explore if it is serving us and if not make another choice.  Stating to yourself what is the feeling, is it panic, anxiety, sadness…? Then identifying where that feeling is located in the body.  Asking if this feeling in this location is serving us, moving us forward or holding us back.  Finally, inviting the earth brain to the party.  Consciously making a choice to move forward.  Some great forms of therapy to help with this are the Grief Recovery Method, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping) and PSYCH K.

Ways to Move Forward during Fight or Flight

Understanding your prime modalities can help you to choose an action that will help you move forward.  Are you primarily kinaesthetic, visual or auditory?  Everyone is a combo, however one tends to take the lead in different areas of life.  If you find yourself feeling, then you are tapping into your kinaesthetic modality.  For those who hear negative or limiting words, auditory is taking the lead.  And for those who see or have everything go dark, it is visual that is showing up.  Regardless of how it presents, there are strategies that you can use and even plan ahead to use.

Kinaesthetic responses can be mitigated with: weighted blankets, hugs, petting a cat or dog, snuggling a pillow or soft sweater, smelling spices that you attribute to happy times like cinnamon or sage, physical activity or busy tasks like knitting, cleaning or painting.

Visual responses can be balanced with: incorporating calming colours into your space, decluttering your home, bring outside in open spaces or spaces that you associate with being at peace like beaches, forests or your front porch, creating something beautiful and putting it where you will see it, vision boards and writing affirmations in locations where you frequent in your home or workspace.

Auditory also includes the “over thinkers” and can be shifted from fear to love with: speaking positive affirmations or poems that reflect what you would like (for example:  “I am safe in this space surrounded by love, comfort with all of my needs being met every day.”), singing and listening to uplifting music, meditation and breath work, chanting, calling a friend, telling a joke or funny story, stating out loud what you need to someone who listens and responds to you.

And finally build connection

The circumstances of the past few years have created significant isolation within all systems.  This isolation and disconnect increased the layers of trauma and confidence in many to rebuild it.  Here are a few things that you can do to promote inclusivity.

  1.  Create a list of 5-10 people that you can call on.  They may be family, community organizations, friends or colleagues.  Share with them that they have made your list, and if you are comfortable let them know that you have been feeling cut off or lonely or sad.  Whatever word feels right to you.  You might be surprised how many are grateful and have also been feeling on their own.
  2. Find opportunities to ignite the physical body in ways that feel comforting to you.  This might look like putting your favourite blanket on the couch so that you can grab it easily.  Make  pillow or wear the shirt of a loved one so that even if they are not near, your senses can feel their presence.
  3. Meal plan.  Yep, I said it.  Nourishing your body and expressing gratitude for both the food and your body is a great way to feel connected to the most important person in your life….You!
  4. Call a friend far away to moon gaze with you.  You might want to do this video or just voice, plan to have snacks or your favourite drink.  Muscle memory is a beautiful thing!  Hearing their voice while indulging in flavours you love will send the message to your subconscious mind that you are in happy and familiar surroundings.  Pair that with seeing the same moon no matter where you are allows the conscious mind to join the party and build connection.  Soon the mind will open up energetic pathways so that your loved ones feel close by.
  5. Join a club.  Children have extra curriculars to help them expand their skillset and make friends.  That does not need to change because you have bills to pay!  Step out of your comfort zone and know that there are options for every budget for this one.  You can connect with your local library or rec centre.  Some colleges offer adult programs for special interests.  Play and awakening the inner child is a fun and fast way to feel reconnected!

You are loved and deserving of harmony in your life.

Sam Black
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