Let Out Some Poison!

letoutsome poisonOur body often acts as a barometer for internal emotional “pressure.” When powerful emotions like fear and anxiety become intense within the body, it can manifest itself as physical symptoms like muscle tension in the shoulders and face; other signs may be an increased heart rate and perspiration. These are classic signs that the body’s “fight-flight-freeze” system has been activated and stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline have been released into the blood stream.
It would be easy to blame the “evil stress hormones” for our discomfort and call it “poison.” But consider instead the distress that is created by becoming immobilized by not knowing how to release this type of mind-body tension as the real problem.
What then can be done? Is there a ready antidote to counteract this type of poisoning?
What if, when this distressing thoughts and emotions occur, we take the following three steps:

Stop what you are doing and take a couple of deeper-than-normal breaths.
Try to identify the thoughts you are experiencing (E.g. “I’m thinking that I may not find a job and become homeless”), the emotions (E.g. fear, anxiety) and the body sensations (E.g. muscle tension in the jaw and temples).
Call a friend and tell them what you are thinking, feeling, and sensing in the body related to a distressing situation.
I call this practice: “letting out some poison” because it provides an immediate outlet for distressing thoughts, feelings, and body sensations and counteracts the sense of powerlessness that can accompany ‘not knowing’ what to do with action-oriented steps to improve the situation. You might find that after doing this exercise your mind and body returns to a state of rest; the muscles in the body lengthen and relax, and the mind returns to a general state of wellbeing.
The next time you find yourself in a distressing situation, you might try letting out some poison!
–Tony Madril

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