Unclench

Feels like an out of body experience,

when you are too much in your head.

Surrounded by them

but a feeling of a strange land.

The discomfort and the sensation

that you do not belong,

The feeling and the surety about the feeling

that you are the odd one out.

An outsider, A visitor

Almost invisible.

You see smiles wide,

but the tears are creeping outside.

The regret of being there,

the want to be anywhere else.

The replay of the unheard cries,

the injustice,

the wrong never made right.

The projection of outside on the inside,

you may not be worthy if this is the sight.

The going back inside and coming out of the mind,

Releasing the breathe,

you have been holding so tight.

Observe the body and heal the mind,

Feel your body and unclench your mind.

Phase 1

Feel

There is a moment when you feel something trigger in you, you were feeling alright, carefree, in balance but then click; it changes to something unpleasant. You feel a discomfort in your body and your mind is overactive, filled with thoughts.

It can be the present moment where something is said to you, happens around you, a sight, a smell, or just something that reminds you of a memory, an experience, a flashback. Whatever that something is, it is associated to a specific emotion; grief, hurt, anger, resentment, fear, contempt, disrespect etc.

It happens so quickly as if you are swept away by the wave of emotions, sometimes a tsunami of emotions. You are caught off-guard and your body starts to react accordingly. Your body stiffens and the life force is focused on the train of thoughts which just keeps on honking, taking you into an extremely alert and anxious state, the mind is terrorized and the body is now compromised.

When you are in this hyper alert state, almost fight or flight state, its not time to relax and the our consciousness is focused on that moment. Based on the intensity of the emotions triggered, we are in that moment after it has already passed, replaying it and prolonging the state of discomfort. This emotional hijacking manifests itself through body in the form of shallow breathing, rise or fall of body temperature, rashes or allergic reactions, clenching of jaw, stiffening of the muscles of neck, shoulder, face and increased pressure near the eyes.

Phase 2

Process

So now that you are in this state of stress, the next best thing is to swim along the waves or at least try your best to, hence processing what is happening. You may want to skip the this part but it can be a counterproductive move as it will come back haunting you in other ways, in other emotionally challenging events in future. Research also shows that unprocessed emotions, traumas and stress are the very cause of chronic illnesses, so its a smart move to deal with it heads on.

I have few steps that could be helpful to process the ongoing or any previous stress or trauma:

  1. How do you actually feel?
  2. Accepting that you feel how you feel.
  3. Why you feel the way you do?
  4. What can be done to make it better ?

Scenario

Lets say,

1. seeing a red carpet makes me feel sad.

2. I need to accept that I am sad and the sadness is due to the red carpet.

3. I feel sad because I have red carpet at my parental home and seeing the red carpet reminds me of home and eventually missing my home.

4. I can call my parents and talk to them, I can video call to see my house. I can tell myself a different story, a different narrative rather than the narrative of missing my home. The red carpet that makes me miss my home, actually represents home and pretty soon, I will go back home. Till then, the red carpet is a reminder that I do have a home where I am loved and will always belong.

Phase 3

Mindfulness

The third stage is to get out of the zone, swimming back to dry land or at least finding an anchor and that is mindfulness. It is time to bring your focus to your body, your smart vessel. Bring your focus to your shallow breathing, take a deep breathe and then breathe normally. Walk if you were sitting, sit if you were walking anxiously. Relax your jaw, your neck, your shoulder. Feel your body relaxing as you focus on your breathe. Your mind will try to go back to the intrusive thoughts, its alright, bring your focus back to your breathe and observe yourself as you relax.

I know that it is more like a balancing act on the rope than the flicking of a magical wand. The main goal is to come back to a relaxed state and you can transition from the feel, process and mindfulness phase by different ways as they work for you individually.

Some of the ways that works for me are:

  • Remove yourself physically from the situation, so that you can breathe.
  • Go out for a walk and some fresh air.
  • Write it down, it does not have to be proper sentences. Write hurt, if you feel hurt, then tired, angry, pizza, puppy, stars, annoyed, angry. The aim is to flush it out, do whatever it takes.
  • Talk to a anyone who you know from past experience that can appease you or just listen to you, you need to feel safe and heard.
  • Read something interesting.
  • Watch a funny video, laughter is indeed the best remedy, Friends bloopers always work for me.
  • Listen to music and sing along.
  • Get some sleep.
  • My personal favorite, move your body. As they say dance like no one’s watching.
  • Meditate, head space is a good platform, you tube has many guided meditations and its free or close your eyes and just breathe.
  • Eat a fruit, possibly a citrus fruit; be color smart!
  • And remember that you are enough and loved no matter what happens to you and around you. We were all born precious.


Phase 4

Calm waters

It is less of a phase and more of a state, a desired state. It is knowing that it will eventually be alright, no matter what.

Even though Phase 4 is the most loved one, we should not underestimate the power of previous 3 Phases as they make the calm state sweeter and makes us a little more stronger.

One thought on “Unclench

  1. This is the best and very relatable journey on which you took me with such clear and generous words explaining all we feel with such precision and also laying a path to walk on making it seem possible and easy which I know is not.

    Liked by 1 person

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