Our bodies are an amazing reflection of how we feel in any given moment. Chances are that when you feel unsure, awkward or uncomfortable in a situation your body will let you know. If you notice your shoulders, your may find they are hunching slightly forward or moving up towards your ears. Your teeth may be clenched, or your jaw may feel tight or determined. Eyes can be tense as they look for information or cues about what to do next. Your breath may be shallow or your chest tight and drawing slightly inward or pushing a little outward. Perhaps you are just tired, and your torso is slumping a little in your chair, or as you stand in line.
By changing one aspect of a habitual pattern, it is no longer the same pattern. Your brain and feeling state will respond differently. Try this simple exercise.
Calm Your Nervous System
Our bodies are also resources for transforming our state in an instant. Try making a few simple adjustments and notice how it changes your inner environment. First, take a slow and deeper breath and tell yourself that you are okay, and you belong right where you are. This accomplishes two things. One is you connect with yourself in a conscious way which starts to gather your resources. The second is you calm the mounting stress response with a little reassurance and a slow and deeper breath which calms your nervous system.
Change Your Posture Mindfully
Next adjust your upper body slightly by moving your shoulders in the opposite direction. If they are rounding forward, try raising your breastbone in the front up towards your chin and dropping your shoulder blades in back. Do that slowly and consciously and see what happens. Just that little adjustment can help your confidence level a lot. You are starting to summon your “upright qi”, and your heart center is looking up. You probably feel lighter and even from the outside you look more resourceful. Turn the corners of your mouth upwards into the hint of a smile to add icing to the cake.
If your shoulders are moving up towards your ears, drop them down a bit and squeeze your shoulder blades together in the back. This will also help your heart center wake up in a positive way. Take a few moments now to close and relax your eyes and very slowly go back and forth between your original, habitual posture and the new one. By slowing the process down and noticing the change in your experience you will reinforce the effects of this simple exercise in your brain, body and mind.
If you like how you feel, consider joining one of our qigong classes to learn how to train your mind and body to access your inner confidence when you need it the most. The next class begins February 18, 2019. We will use body, breath and mind to boost trust in our inner selves and to flow with change by attuning to the inherent cycles of nature.