The Power of Choosing Where to Direct Our Energy
We all possess the ability to determine the focus of our energy. However, it is not always easy to manage our thoughts and emotions. Negative programming surrounds us on a daily basis, whether it is in the form of hurtful words or actions directed towards us, or through advertisements and programs that generate negative feelings such as fear, anxiety, and anger. Fear is pervasive; it is a powerful selling tool that promotes dependence and conformity to another's way of thinking. We may fear losing a friend if we do not comply with their beliefs or if we accidentally say something out of context – particularly when communicating through text where tone, emotion, and expression are not clearly conveyed. (But that is a topic for another post.)
The Impact of Fear on Our Well-Being
Have you ever considered the negative effects of fear on our mind and body?
When we experience fear, it often triggers the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response, which can take a toll on our nervous system, leading to stress, anxiety, and other related issues. Stress is known to cause various illnesses, diseases, depression, brain fog, hormone and endocrine issues, among other problems.
Taking Charge: Simple Steps to Combat External Stressors
While external factors can be challenging, we can begin to counteract their impact by controlling where we put our energy. Start with small, actionable steps to help counteract the negative effects on your body and mind.
First we become aware of their effects.
Take a moment and think of something that brings you joy, that just lights you up or that puts you in a relaxed calm state. Close your eyes and visualize it, then scan your body and notice how your body feels. Now inventory that in your mind. Next think of something that has stressed you out, just really ticked you off, made you sad, mad, or possibly gave you a fright. Again close the eyes visualize that moment and scan the body taking note of what you feel. Is there tension, ridgeness, change in breath, frowing the face, gritting the teeth, tightening of the gut area a desire to just crumple into a ball. You can now begin to notice what healthy and unhealthy, good or bad or stress or ease, feels like in your body. When we practice benchmarking like this we can become more aware of the things that do send us into an unhealthy body state.
The First Step: Understanding How Our Emotional Responses Affect Our Body
Our emotions can have a profound effect on our physical state, whether they bring us joy or stress. Take a moment to try this simple exercise: Begin by thinking of something that brings you joy, something that sparks happiness within you. Visualize it with your eyes closed and scan your body, taking note of how it feels, where you feel it. Take a moment to think about an unpleasant experience that has evoked emotions such as anger, sadness, or fear. Pay close attention to your body, and note any physical sensations such as tension, rigidity, furrowed brows, gritted teeth, and even tightening in the gut. Be mindful of how the experience makes you feel, where you feel it, the intensity, and any changes in your breathing that may occur. Benchmarking like this can help us recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy emotional responses and become more aware of what triggers us. When we are more aware of the body signals we can more easefully maneuver away from the cause or implore strategies to manage the severity of our response.
The Impact of Emotions on Our Physical Health
It's interesting to note that our emotions play a significant role in our overall health. For instance, tensing up the gut area can cause digestive problems over time. Similarly, when stressed, many of us tend to tense up our shoulders, which can lead to posture issues, severe headaches, and shoulder ailments. Additionally, grinding our teeth can lead to tooth enamel wear, fractures, and tightness in the jowl area. Every tight muscle and connective tissue can cause our bodies to become imbalanced, leading to pain, wear and tear, and even the possibility of long-term injury or surgery.
The good news is we have the ability to make change and take back our Power. It begins with awareness. This week take some time daily to practice scanning your body and inventoring Health and Unhealth, Ease and Stress, Joy and Pain in your body. As you heighten your awareness you empower your fierce independence.
Up Next: Step 2 - Harnessing the Power of Breath.