Do you ever have days where it feels like no matter what you’ve done, your body is determined to be tense? Tight. Stressed. Constricted. It’s probably affecting your sleep, hurting your digestion, and creating chronic tension throughout your body and mind, among other things.
It\’s no secret that stress has a lot of impact on our bodies and minds, and sometimes the tried and true methods of stress management like exercise and meditation just aren’t cutting it.
If you’re having a bad day and find yourself feeling this way, take yourself through a different approach to diffuse the tension with these simple mindset tips you can do anywhere.
Here Are 3 Mindset Tips to Diffuse the Tension
The Triple Seven Breathing Pattern
When we’re stressed, our body triggers a fight or flight response that changes our breathing pattern so we can have the ability to protect ourselves. When you’re feeling tense, the body will create this environment by tensing up muscles to get ready to move and react quickly to avoid danger.
The first thing you always want to do when you’re in a tense situation or you feel yourself building up those walls is to breathe.
Take a big breath in through your nose while you count to seven. Then hold it for seven seconds, and finally release it as you count seven again. No Mississippi’s, just a quick count that is matched to your breath.
Normally you’d probably see people say count to ten, but since our breath is short and shallow when we’re tense sometimes trying to reach that number can have the opposite effect and perfectionism can take over.
Keep it simple and try this triple seven-count breathing pattern whenever you feel your jaw tense up, shoulders rise, throat thickens, or neck stiffen.
As you feel your body start to calm, you can gradually increase the number count to ten if you want to but you don’t have to.
This breathing pattern of slowing everything down will help you slow your mind to better assess the situation and make a wiser choice based on the facts in front of you.
Know the Triggers
There’s nothing quite like personal development work. As people, we are driven by the need to progress, learn, change, and become better versions of ourselves.
That’s why there are countless books, courses, programs, professionals, and products designed to help people empower their own actions and get a better sense of who they are and how it can help them become who they want to be.
An important component of diffusing tension is knowing what triggers you. This concept of “being triggered” has many definitions, but the essence is this, a trigger is when something happens that our minds connect with an experience, belief, or story we have that is valid, true, and real. It also contains pain, fear, and often heartbreak that creates a negative emotional and physical response within our minds and bodies.
Everyone has triggers because we all have stories, it’s how our minds like to interpret information.
And when you can understand some key triggers that often come up for you by taking a step back and looking at the meaning behind what experiences, sayings, and situations cause you pain, you can start to catch the trigger and stop yourself from heading down an emotional roller coaster.
Our triggers like to send us off on destructive and counter-productive patterns because our mind is trying to protect us from pain. So instead of addressing the pain point that’s causing the trigger, the body will seek out numbing agents to avoid it entirely.
Of course, an overuse and imbalance of anything will create more tension in our mind and body, so that’s why when you can do a little digging into the WHY behind your emotional responses you can start to peel back the layers and get to the root issue.
Getting It on Paper
There’s something cathartic about writing about what’s going on in our minds. People resist it because they a) don’t think it will help or b) have told themselves that they hate writing.
But everyone is a writer. If you’ve ever posted anything on social media or sent a text message, guess what? You’re a writer.
And yes, it does help. Writing about what’s causing you tension will help you make sense of what’s going on in your body and get to the heart of how to feel better.
Maybe it’s a crucial conversation you need to have with someone. Perhaps it’s personal development work that you need to forgive and release so you can move on. Or maybe it’s just venting out frustrations, anger, and fears you have that you don’t feel safe sharing with anyone else.
Physically putting down what you’re feeling on paper is not only a proven way to manage your emotions in a healthy way, but it will help you diffuse the tension in your mind and body.
And don’t worry, no one is reading your private thoughts. Your words aren’t going on social to be judged and they’re not being put on the screen at the next staff meeting. It’s your sanctuary to share what’s really going on and it’s something that everyone needs to have.
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*Originally published on June 14, 2020.
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