In the throws of a stressful day, stressful week or stressful LIFE there are a thousand modalities geared to help you gain perspective, find gratitude or think positively. But what can you do when you are actually deep “in it”? Remember these 3 P’s...
Chest tightness? Shortness of breath? Headaches? Stomach ache? Indigestion? What does your stress FEEL like? Your physical body is alert to your discomfort long before your conscious mind catches wind that there is a problem. Utilizing the 3 P’s in states of overwhelm is not only a valuable practice but an invaluable skill for self mastery.
Literally PAUSE from what you are doing and open your awareness of yourself and everything around you. This is the most critical skill you can develop when it comes to learning the unique language your body speaks. It is the ONLY way to allow yourself to learn what your body is trying to tell you. The benefit? The ability to consciously pause opens the opportunity for choosing differently. Although it is easier said than done, with practice, it changes EVERYTHING. Just a PAUSE. This ONE skill will change your life, it creates space for new possibility.
2. Physical Scan
After the pause, scan your entire body from head to toe. What do you feel? Where do you feel the stress? Is it in your chest? Your stomach? Your neck? Your shoulders? Headache? Your back? Tag every spot you can and be as specific as you can. With more practice you will find different types of stressors have specific physical manifestations and sensations. Write down in as much detail as you can what the sensations are in your body. Instead of something simple like “headache”, explain what it actually FEELS like. Is it pounding? Is it more of an ache? Like lightning bolts? Are there any colors or visions associated to the sensation?
Scanning your body can help you to really attune yourself with what is actually going on with you and how to manage things.
After you have complete your physical scan ask yourself these three questions to check in and see if you have been supporting optimal physical function:
Have I taken some deep breaths?
Have I had enough water?
Do I need to eat?
Your ability to regulate when stressed is greatly impacted by how you eat, hydrate and breathe.
Did you know that your brain uses 20-25 percent of the total oxygen in your body and is directly linked to your emotional state? Carbon dioxide increases with stress and causes your brain to cloud quickly as its levels rise. Breathing gets rid of carbon dioxide. BREATHE!
Hydration is important to help transport all necessary nutrients and to flush out waste products, dead cells and toxins. Inadequate hydration can prove to be a huge problem and increased physical stress on vital organs.
You need the right amount of carbohydrates and fats to provide the energy cycles, vitamin utilization and nutrients necessary to mentate clearly and appropriately. You need quality amino acids derived from dietary protein that are ready for your body to utilize in heightened states of stress without having to break down its own protein for resources.
Once you are hydrated, oxygenated and fed you are more equipped to expand beyond your current experience to make actionable steps that can alleviate the overwhelm. This is where all self care comes in to play. It could be something as easy as a lunch away from the office or cancelling dinner plans to relax. If you have been overdoing it saying “NO” is your enlightened “YES” to reducing stress.
Today’s human being doesn’t have short burst stressors like the humans of yesteryear. The stress and fight or flight responses are still in place and still geared for short term. When they are prolonged, they can cause havoc within the human body. There is an awesome, comprehensive and highly functional way to de-escalate these responses and expand your experience beyond the box.
Pause. Physical Scan.Proceed. The only 3 P’s you need.