I recently completed a 4-hour continuing education class in Ethics, Communication, and Boundaries through the Lens of the Nervous System. The instructor based this course around applying polyvagal theory in a massage therapy practice.
I want to share some simple things that anyone can use to reduce stress, because many of us may be feeling jumpy and tense, especially with an election approaching.
Experiment with these and find your favorites — and use them as needed when your stress response is activated!
- Making your exhalations longer than your inhalations for a couple of minutes.
- Singing and humming.
- Orienting to the space you’re in by slowly gazing all around you.
- Lifting your gaze and imagining the sun shining on your face, neck, and shoulders.
- Finding something that’s pleasing and telling yourself “I am safe and happy”.
- Making micro movements, dancing, doing yoga.
- Listening to calming music.
Do you find yourself doing any of these without a thought? My mother often hummed when she was washing dishes.
Music and dancing are important parts of my life. I created a playlist of happy music with the help of numerous friends on Facebook who made recommendations. I’m capping it at 100 songs and will post a link to it on Apple Music when I’ve finished listening to everything…a lot of it was new to me.
I have noticed already that some of the happiest-making songs are about dancing!