10 sure-fire ways to “unclench”

clenched fistNot 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:

  1. Take five long, deep breaths.
  2. Release the tension in my jaw.
  3. Drink water instead of coffee.
  4. Take a walk around the park.
  5. Say a prayer.
  6. Stretch arms and shoulders in a bear hug.
  7. Call a friend.
  8. Cook dinner instead of grazing in the fridge.
  9. Head to the gym.
  10. 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

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