When faced with stressful situations, a great exercise to use is to check in with your physical and mental awareness. Centering is useful when faced with a tough decision or when trying to navigate through a situation that can be emotional.
I suggest using the following method:
1) Stop and recognize that if something doesn't feel right that you may need to take a second or 30 to check in with your physical and mental systems.
2) Take a minute and tune into how you are feeling. Are you feeling anxious? Are you being pressed to do something that doesn't feel right in your stomach? This can indicate you need to check in and see what your gut or intuition are trying to tell you.
3) Do some breath work and trust yourself. Breath work creates a sense of calmness and clarity that will help you move forward for what is best for you.
This blog will explain how to recognize when you need centering, what to do when you need some and how to do this with no hesitation.
STOP yourself and recognize when you need to center
When you are feeling uneasy about a situation or feel like everything is just coming too fast at you, stop yourself and recognize that you may want to take a minute to center and ground yourself. This method helps with making decisions, dealing with emergencies and being able to move forward with confidence and strength.
You could feel shaky, dizzy, really nervous, feel like your stomach is a giant knot or you may hear something that gets you started thinking, "Is this right for me?" These symptoms may be physical signs from your body or mental chatter in your brain telling you that something doesn't feel right, the vibration is all wrong. It is time to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Tune in to what your own energy tells you
My car broke down the other day and I needed to rent one and when I showed up, the rental agent asked me if I wanted to have "walk away insurance". for an extra $300. I stopped in my tracks. I clearly wasn't having the best day and had quite a few expensive situations at the moment so I needed to give myself a moment to check in to see if I was leading with my heart or my gut. Was I going to jump at this offer because I was tired, frustrated and just over it or was I going to see what my physical energy was trying to tell me?
So I told him politely that I needed a minute and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes, and used breath work to ground myself and to recognize what my body was trying to tell m. When I felt grounded (a safe heaviness is how I like to describe it), I internally asked my mind how I felt about this extra cost - did it feel right? This must have made him uncomfortable and perhaps he was thinking that I was having a breakdown of some sorts, and before I was done, the extra was only $100. I heard a clear and resounding "TAKE IT!" and did just that.
Use Breathe work to find & trust your answer
How do you do this? Once you practice and develop a consistent meditation practice, this will be easier that you think.
1) Meditate daily. Doesn't have to be long - 10 minutes is great to start with, just as long as you do it. I suggest going on YouTube and finding a few meditation channels that you might like to listen to. Meditating is like plugging in your phone for your body, mind and soul. If your battery is low and you have 50 apps open, do you expect your phone to work well? Same thing goes for your body and mind - sometimes we need to go to chill mode to connect with ourselves inside.
Meditation lets you stay focused on one thing and you become calm and aware of sensations your physical body is experiencing. As you begin to connect with the symptoms of how you are feeling, you may explore the reasons these feelings are coming up and what it means to you. This is the mental component. Why am I feeling this way? What does it remind me of? It could be that this situation made you think of a past experience which may not have had a great outcome and now you are able to recognize that this is a new experience and you have more power over your choices right now.
2) Breathe it in!! There are so many quick and easy ways to use your breathe to center yourself.
3 Deep Nose Breaths: I like to start with 3 deep breaths in through the nose, hold for a few seconds and out through the mouth. Spend time following your breath until it is the only thing on your mind and this can be done by saying "Breathing in, breathing out." Once you have done this, notice if and where your body is sensing anything like pressure or heaviness. Then try to identify what this means to you - is it a good or bad feeling? Breathing consistently and evenly the whole time.
Belly Breathing: Try putting one hand on your belly and one on your chest. As you inhale your breathe, you extend your belly & hold, then inhale into your chest to extend that space. Now go back and release the belly and then release your chest. I find that 3 rounds of this breathe will calm me in a pinch and get me to be more aware of what is going on inside.
Breathing to make space: Imagine a space in between your belly button and your spine and with intention, focus on creating space in between those 2 physical parts. Then do the same with your heart space and then again with your third eye, in between your eyebrows. I spend a few minutes in each spot to feel it lighten and expand to find a warm and calm feeling as I do this.
3) Trust your first instinct or intuition. If the feeling makes you feel uneasy, ask yourself what's the memory that makes you feel this way? Is this emotion trying to help you from being hurt or has it come up because you are afraid of making another mistake? Recognize the emotion, understand why it came up and let it go. Keep breathing until you feel good and stable. This can take time and we are not programmed to give ourselves a moment so please try to stay with it until you are ready.
Once you have centered your energy, you can more calmly come to a decision. What is the first thing that pops into your head? Yes or no? This one or that one? Whatever is the right answer, will feel like the right answer because you are calm and clear. Now you can trust yourself and move forward knowing that you listened to your own instinct on what to do with no pressure from any outside source and feel great about it.
Hopefully this blog has explained how to center yourself and how it can assist you in finding balance and grounding so that you can make the right decisions and choices for yourself.