Not unlike many of my high-octane coaching clients, “Maria” faced a constant problem. She got so caught up in the non-stop demands of her professional and personal life that she found herself stressed out to the point of shutdown. Physically exhausted, psychically stuck. It’s a sort of extreme protection-reaction I call “clenching.”
When we “clench,” it becomes impossible for us to move or take action–literally and metaphorically. Like a muscle in spasm, we have to find a way to release, so we can flow back into the world with all of our strength and grace. Otherwise, a clenched muscle just gets tighter, weaker, and more painful.
As we explored Maria’s experience of “clenching,” I asked her to devise a list of strategies she could draw upon to restore her flow and presence when she found herself begin to clench. The result is such a terrific resource that I asked Maria if I could share. Whether you have a minute or an evening, there’s a strategy here to suit you:
- Take five long, deep breaths.
- Release the tension in my jaw.
- Drink water instead of coffee.
- Take a walk around the park.
- Say a prayer.
- Stretch arms and shoulders in a bear hug.
- Call a friend.
- Cook dinner instead of grazing in the fridge.
- Head to the gym.
- Water the garden.
Next time you feel yourself about to clench, choose an alternative from the list–or devise one of your own!
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photo by takomabibelot