From Fear to Fierce Love – Resetting your nervous system in challenging times (And how to prep your Emotional Tool Kit for any situation)
By Margot Schulman, Author, Coach and Founder of Choose Love Revolution. Her expertise has been featured on TEDx, RadioMD, Talk Healthy Today, Working Mother, Hitched Magazine, VoiceAmerica Radio and more.
No matter how zen you are, it is near to impossible to avoid feeling afraid, anxious and nervous sometimes when life is difficult enough to navigate during the easiest of times.
And now, is certainly not the easiest of times!
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary tools to support you fully. The simple beautiful practices that felt so helpful in the past, may not be cutting it these days.
Have you felt fear, anger and frustration building up in your chest A LOT recently?
Is the overwhelm of monotony and self-pity relentlessly weighing down your shoulders?
You try taking a few deep breaths, but nothing changes in your body or emotions. Now you feel even more frustrated that your trusted practices are failing you.
I feel you. I have been there myself so many times. Fortunately, there are other ways to come home to your peaceful, loving center that works when taking deep breaths fails. Holding yourself through the following practices strengthens your relationships to yourself; expanding acceptance, trust, compassion and love.
The first powerful practice is Purposeful Tantrums.
This is a sure-fire way to move anger, frustration, fear and “life is so unfair!” feelings out of the body. When not dealt with in time these feelings will come out in actions and words that hurt ourselves and our loved ones. Allowing yourself a few minutes to throw a tantrum will move that energy out of your body in a safer manner. Babies and children do this naturally until blocked by adults. Animals do this as well; shaking their entire body after a stressful, frightening experience.
The basic idea is simple: you allow yourself to yell and scream, kick the floor, pound pillows, shake your head and body in a safe way. Check out this short video for a demonstration and fuller explanation.
The second incredibly supportive practice is Free Dancing.
This technique is really great for all kinds of uncomfortable moods and emotions. When you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I recommend choosing some favorite songs that really fired you up as a teenager. Let yourself sing at the top of your lungs and jump, stomp and dance like a maniac. (Make sure you have privacy to really let loose!)
When you are feeling sad or lonely you can try playing some of your favorite heartbreak songs. Hearing people sing about their sadness can be so soothing to your nervous system; reminding that you are not alone in your feelings. Try closing your eyes while listening and let your body move from your feelings. There is no wrong way to do it.
After either of the above, I recommend playing a song that makes you feel expansive and empowered. (A few faves of mine are Brave, Sarah Bareilles, Live Like a Warrior, Matisyahu and A Sky full of Stars, Coldplay.) Turn the volume up loud, close your eyes and let the emotions move your body in whatever ways feel good to you!*
Self Snuggling, one of my very favorite practices, is called for when fear and anxiety threaten to overwhelm your nervous system.
Get into bed, pull the covers over your head and softly touch yourself: stroke your hair, your arms, your face and hug yourself tightly.
You can also speak soothing words out loud to yourself such as “You are safe. Everything is okay. You are loved.” Think of how you would comfort a young frightened child whom you love very much because you are comforting the frightened parts of yourself and they respond to the same kind of soothing.
Adding the above practices to your self-care tool kit will support you enormously. They offer opportunities to care for yourself lovingly, release uncomfortable emotions and more easily come home to your safe, compassionate center. The more that you can show up for yourself, and all your varied feelings, the more acceptance, trust and love you infuse into your relationship with yourself.
*If you find yourself really enjoying the Free Dancing practice, come join the amazing Choose Love Dance Club! We offer a variety of fun, safe, connected, dance opportunities through zoom every week.