When you feel pain in your body how do you react? What happens within your body?
How many times have you become frustrated with someone or angered because something isn’t getting done?
All of us experience physical discomfort at times in our life and are triggered by co-workers, friends and family, but how do you respond in these situations. All of these situations are times that we can choose to take a step back and learn from. If we are being triggered then this is our body’s way of letting us know that there may be something to heal from or a deep rooted belief system that we may want to look into. Our bodies are asking us to tune in and take a moment to listen. One of the best ways to do this is by acknowledging, observing, and being. So, how do you do that?
The founder of Myofascial Release, John F. Barnes, always says, “Without awareness there is no choice.” Whether you notice a physical sensation (pain, discomfort) or a reaction in a situation (anxious, uncomfortable feelings, fear) the first step to working through and healing is acknowledging what you are sensing. There are different ways to do this, but either way you want to take a moment to slow down or stop what you are doing. Use your breath to connect to the sensation that you are feeling without trying to change the sensation. As you do this start to allow your mind to quiet down, just connect with the sensation and acknowledge what you are sensing. The next step is taking a moment to observe what you are acknowledging.
Many of us have pets and have seen them enter a room and immediately go to the new item in the room, whether it is a paper bag or a box. They go toward the object with a sense of curiosity. This is exactly what we want to do after acknowledging the sensation or reaction. With a sense of curiosity, we want to allow ourselves to observe the feeling(s) within our bodies without judgements or labeling it good or bad. Still allowing our minds to be quiet, just observe for some time any reactions that your body has. It may be a physical sensation (tensing, pulling away) or emotions (anger, sadness) may heighten. Just give yourself the time to observe how it feels in your body, again without needing to change it. This leads us into the last step in allowing ourselves to just be or feel.
Whenever we feel a physical sensation or an emotion our bodies first reaction is typically to shut it down or avoid the feeling. When we do this we never actually heal from the situation, but only add it to the many layers we already have within our bodies. In order to actually heal we have to allow ourselves to acknowledge, then observe, and most importantly feel what is there and possibly express what we are feeling. Again, without any judgements or labels just allow your body to be in or with the sensation fully (no resistance, just be). You may start to notice that the sensation gets stronger, this is the time that we want to give ourselves permission to express what we are sensing fully. Here are a few examples:
* Your body may feel like it is shaking, let the shaking get bigger without holding back
* You may feel sad and want to cry, let the tears come without stopping or holding back
* The pain may heighten and make you want to yell, yell and tell the pain what you are feeling without holding back
It is very easy to stay in the cycle of stuffing down what we are feeling because that is what we were taught or being short and reactive. It is also very easy to continue to be stuck on the same pattern of reactions thinking that it is the other persons fault or issue, but ultimately it is our own. That individual is merely a mirror showing us the aspects in our lives that still need to heal or that we need to work through.
Over the years, I have found the concept of “acknowledge – observe – be” to be the first step in addressing our triggers. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Are you ready to take that first step? Give yourself permission over the week to just be mindful of sensations in your body and how you react to them OR if you are in a challenging situation make note of how you react. Then, next week bring in the concept of acknowledge – observe – be. Be easy with yourself as this will be a new concept and takes practice. I know that you can do this and as you do you will notice less triggers, less pain, and less reaction. This is where the change happens.
One of our clients recently shared her experience with using the concepts she learned from this article on “How Not To React”.
A few weeks after receiving the handout, I experienced a situation that moved me from relaxed and peaceful to TRIGGERED in about one second. Immediately my heart was racing, my thoughts were racing. I felt sick to my stomach, my head and heart hurt. I was flooded with anxiety and fear. This was not a new experience for me, but this time I had very little time to pull myself together.
I decided to try something different. So instead of trying to ignore it or focusing on why this happened and why this person did what they did (did I say or do something to make them angry? Hurt them? Disappoint them? Frustrate them? Etc., etc., etc.), I decided to just acknowledge that I’d been triggered and to tune in to where it was affecting me in my body. No trying to make it stop and no trying to get busy so I wouldn’t think about it or feel it.
Next, I tried to just continue to observe how I was feeling (deeply hurt, excluded, sad, helpless) and to allow myself to be curious about it. To stay with it without judgment or censoring. To truly feel it and sink into it. To begin to explore where in me those feelings were coming from. And that’s where the magic happened. As I sat with the physical sensations and the feelings that arose, and was curious about them, I realized that this experience was all mine. It originated in me and belonged to me and really didn’t depend upon anyone else. That meant that what I did about it (if anything) was totally and completely up to me. I could choose a response that I could be proud of and that could bring me one step closer to healing.
We thank our client on sharing her experience. She did a wonderful job of stopping what she was doing so she could take herself through the steps of Acknowledge – Observe – Be/Feel. By doing this she didn’t “REACT” to the situation, but instead started to heal her response to being triggered. Great job!!