If you have problems with anxiety or stress, part of the issue will be “conditioned” physical spikes in response to certain triggers. Triggers can be all sorts of things. For example, if you’re feeling depressed, a trigger might be anytime anyone asks you to do anything.
If a trigger is paired with anxiety/stress, over time that trigger will habitually trigger a physical anxiety response.
To un-link the trigger from automatically triggering a big spiky stress response, try dropping your shoulders when you notice physical tension.
If noticing your own physical tension is hard for you, you might find it easier to noticed stressed thoughts. (Mindfulness meditation practice is a great way to learn how to better notice when you are holding tension in your body). When you notice a thought repeating itself, drop your shoulders.
Why Drop Your Shoulders Works
– Dropping your shoulders is simple to remember.
– People don’t generally feel intimated by doing one single action that literally takes only a couple of seconds.
– Doing this will cue the rest of your body to relax and release it’s tension.
– It’s sometimes easier to take a few slow breaths if you drop your shoulders first.
– This can interrupt your ruminative thinking long enough that you can recognize that you are ruminating.
– A version of this I like is to first drop my shoulders and then to uncurl my fingers and toes because I find that I tend to curl them up when I am nervous or concentrating. What’s your signature way that you hold tension in your body?