When stress piles up, we fall into habits that can be harmful to our health. We tend not to prioritize health when experiencing high levels of stress, and because stress plays such an integral role in our day-to-day lives, it can be hard to recognize. In most cases, the detriment it can cause is only brought to our attention by something that must be both alarming and inconvenient, like manifesting physically in our bodies.
How are our psychological experiences connected to the physical body?
By becoming aware of our somatic responses, only we can understand for ourselves.
The somatic nervous system communicates information from our psyche that instructs our body how to react physically to what it's processing, triggering an emotional response.
Do you know anyone who suffers from road rage?
Think of that person now, and how they might react to being cut off by a stranger on the freeway. Maybe they yell, honk their horn, turn red in the face or offer rude gestures to the other driver.
From a passenger's perspective, you can clearly see they're having a reaction. But let's pause to consider what it's like to experience this emotional response for the person actually going through it: the driver.
With the nervous system all of a sudden kicked into overdrive, the driver might feel heat rising in their cheeks, perspiration on their forehead or upper lip, a pounding in their chest or tingly sensation in their hands/feet. In only an instant, you've watched them go from having the best day ever, cruising and singing along at the top of their lungs to their favorite song, to being in the most sour mood.
Now that we have an idea of how the somatic nervous system works, how do we become aware of our own?
Your new presence practice:
Instead of ignoring stress until it declares itself a serious distraction, practice noticing when your energy shifts or dips, before completely tanking into a black hole of reactivity. The next time you get worked up, train your attention on your somatic responses. Take note of what it feels like when you're triggered.
Nervousness might trigger a fluttering in your chest (aka 'butterflies'). Anxiety might make you feel like there's a pit in the bottom of your stomach. When scared, you might start to feel claustrophobic, like your chest is caving in. These are only a few types of physical responses that can be pathologically transmitted by how we react to our emotions.
Others might look like:
- Tightening of jaw/clenching of teeth
- Tightness or heaviness in the chest
- Compulsively fidgeting with hands/legs
- Irregular breathing patterns
- Pulsing or pounding sensation in head, temples and/or neck
- Fluctuation in volume or tone of voice
- Bracing of the entire body or parts of the body
When you experience any of the above, take note of what's going on emotionally when they arise. Once you can connect the trigger with the response, you'll realize the wealth of information your somatics have been trying to signal to you. When in tune with your somatic responses, you have a rare opportunity to find fullness in presence and capability to harness overwhelming emotions.
Society ushers us towards addictive and unhealthy mechanisms for coping with stress that actually only suppress, not solve, it. We pump ourselves with pills and caffeine, skip out on eating, sleeping, hydrating and exercising. Another unconventional way we deal with stress in the twenty-first century is self-medicating via social media.
All of these behaviors, once succumbed to, can turn into old habits that die hard. However, we often opt to use them anyway because they're quick and effective in silencing our discomfort, so that we can continue to produce and perform in order to keep up with the mayhem that is our daily lives.
Ladykind's food for thought:
Instead of burying ourselves in the defeat of our emotions for the sake of performance, why can't we use our somatic responses to develop healthy communication patterns between our body and nervous system? If our somatic responses are carrying fruitful knowledge from our nervous system, how can we invite them in to receive its message?
By familiarizing ourselves with our own somatics, rather than dismissing them, we can come to understand these sensations as prompts to recalibrate. So how can we prepare our physical and psychological spaces to align?
Did you know your body naturally produces cannabinoids? One of which is affectionately known as the 'Bliss Molecule'? This molecule, anandamide, functions as a line of communication between your physical and psychological by binding to your body's cannabinoid receptors (CB), creating an organic connection. Akin to the way the body responds to THC, but less the psychoactive effects.
To discover how to take full advantage of your CB receptors and regulate your anandamide production, Ladykind's Rise & Rest Set has you covered! Rise and Rest are both sublingual tinctures made with the finest quality CBD, and can be held under the tongue for 60 seconds for best results. Rise helps you get going in the mornings, or when you need a boost throughout the day.
Rest does the opposite. Rest encourages your cannabinoid receptors to relax and unwind once the day is over. It's also great to use throughout the day if you experience stress or anxiety. Don't forget to pay attention to your somatics while experimenting. With mastering that practice and the assistance of our premium CBD, harnessing your overwhelming emotions might be in closer reach than you thought!