This week I went to my kids’ primary school to attend a talk about supporting kids through anxious times…
As many of you know, I live in Hong Kong, and there’s been a lot of political unrest in our city for the past 3+ months.
Regardless of anyone’s stance and perspective on Hong Kong’s current affairs….I believe that the city as a whole is feeling higher levels of anxiety, worry and fear about both the day to day safety within our city, as well as general uncertainty over the future of Hong Kong.
No matter where you live in the world, my guess is that your country is facing its own challenges….
…..And on a global scale, I believe we’re ALL facing fear, uncertainty, and despair at the world at large.
Seeing Greta Thunderberg speak at the United Nation this week, I felt a heap of emotions:
Inspired by this 16-year-old who’s using her voice, protesting and standing up for the world to wake up to the climate crisis.
Shame and guilt for being an adult and not doing more as the adult to do what’s right for our children’s future.
Despair because I honestly don’t know where to begin to help and support.
Ashamed because I’m privileged that my day to day life isn’t yet immediately affected by the climate crisis or the protests and I still get to live my life as usual.
No matter where you live in the world, we’re all facing different anxiety and uncertainty about the future. We’re also feeling the constraint of this in our bodies — whether we’re sensitive to it or not.
If you’re anything like me, the default mode can be to try and armour up and squash down the fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, and sadness…for fear of being completely taken over by it.
But the truth is feeling these darker emotions (anxiety, uncertainty, constraint or whatever you’re feeling these days) doesn’t make us broken.
These emotions are simply something that is present in the body and ready to be felt, expressed and released.
This is a normal process that is needed to restore our autonomic nervous systems back to equilibrium…
And it’s from this space of equilibrium and flow that we’re better equipped to handle the world, to hold our boundaries and to come up with creative solutions for where we can focus our time, energy and attention to do our part in the world (as well as handle all the day-to-day stuff we’ve got going on in our lives).
To be clear, I don’t have the answers to the climate crisis we’re facing, the political situation in Hong Kong or the myriad of other challenges all around the world. Like you, I’m looking at the news, asking myself what can I do?
Albert Einstein famously said:
You can’t solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created it.
So to begin with, let’s change our consciousness, acknowledge the stress and anxiety we’re feeling and restore back to equilibrium so that we can have the capacity to answer the question “what can I do?”
This week I want to talk about 3 simple ways you can find peace in uncertain times so that you have the capacity to manage your day-to-day and also look at the world to ask “what can I do?”
Short on time? Read on for the transcript.
Before I go into the 3 ways to find peace, I want to acknowledge the elephant in the room: guilt and shame for prioritising your own peace in such uncertain times.
It can feel indulgent, insensitive, guilty or [whatever it is that YOU’RE feeling] to focus on yourself when there are so many people in the world suffering, taking action and speaking up.
But my friend, there is no helping the world, when you’re stressed out, anxious, worried and unable to keep it together.
During the talk I attended at my kids’ school….the presenter, Dr. Mark Gandolfi (neuroscientist and doctor) said (paraphrasing):
“As the adult, it’s OUR job to keep it together. Kids can’t discern the social nuances, context and tone of how we speak about the state of our world. We’ve got to be the adults and get grounded first and be in a neutral space — otherwise our kids pick up on our fear, anxiety, and worry.”
I believe that we haven’t necessarily been taught the tools to get grounded and process our own anxiety, grief and fear to then be able to communicate with others, let alone be a safe space for our children.
So I’m about to share with you 3 ways to do just that.
They may seem silly. They may seem flippant. But trust me, read them, and try just ONE.
#1: Move Your Body + Dance The Way You’re Really Feeling
Dancing is a beautiful way to shake out whatever is present in your body.
Your body’s natural state is flow.
What happens though, is that we can tend to deny negative emotions (like fear, anxiety, stress, guilt, shame etc).
When we deny feeling these emotions, then they get stored in the body as pockets of frozen tension.
How do I know this?
Thanks to the Feminine Embodiment Coaching Certification I completed last year.
Side note: If you want to learn more about the program you can check it out HERE. I love this modality so much that I’m a Teaching Assistant at the School. But I digress….
These pockets of frozen tension need to be liberated in order to restore back to flow.
When you dance, express and move as those pockets of frozen tension it restores you back to equilibrium.
Doing this is the equivalent of giving that feeling and emotion a space to express, be heard, acknowledged, loved and welcomed. It can then move on and reveal to you a deeper truth.
For example, the other day I was finding myself snapping for no reason, feeling angry, feeling like a raging river juuuuust below my outwardly pleasant demeanour….
I couldn’t put a finger on WHY I was feeling this way — and the truth is I didn’t need to over analyse (another way of disassociating from the feelings and emotions).
I simply put on a song.
The anger moved through my body.
The result → catharsis, lightness and a seed of a thought on what I needed to look at.
Action: Pick a song that embodies the energy of what you’re feeling. Let your body move as it wants to for the full length of the song. No censors. No filters. Just move. Ugly tears welcome! Still feeling deep in it when the song is over? Keep dancing, pick another song, keep going → you will get to flow!
#2: Go for a walk and get out in nature
Shifting your physiology changes your energy and state of mind.
There’s something about moving your body and being in nature that just automatically calms your body. Bonus points if you keep your phone away and just listen to the sounds of what’s around you.
The weather has recently turned here in Hong Kong and cooled just a couple of degrees. The humidity has dropped from it’s usual summer high of 100%….so I’ve been going to the country park near my place, putting my feet in the earth, getting my butt on the ground.
Without having to do much at all, I feel more like myself again, like mother nature has done her thing and nurtured me back to a sense of calm.
Action: Commit to getting out in nature in the next week and walking for at least 10 minutes.
#3: Hug someone for 10 seconds
This is something I learned at the talk today, apparently hugging someone for 10 seconds is all it takes to release oxytocin in your body.
Oxytocin causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop and helps lower your blood pressure. It can also lead to the release of other hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which help lift your mood.
10 seconds, that’s it. Quickest fix ever!
Action: Go and hug a loved one for 10 seconds and notice how it feels.
There you have it, 3 different ways to restore yourself back to flow and peace in uncertain times.
Give it a try.
What have you got to lose?
Once you’ve done these practices to restore back to flow, take note of how you’re feeling and the creative ideas, intuition that has now opened out.
This is the precursor to aligned action!
Before you go though, I’m curious:
- What is this post bringing up for you?
- Which of the 3 different ways are you going to try?
Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to know!
P.S. Did you skim to the bottom? I do that too! If you’re looking for some support in your anxiety and stress about your day to day life and/or the state of the world at large, I’ve got 1 more spot this month in my 1:1 Soul Aligned Woman Program where we explore your centre and soul aligned path. You apply for more information + schedule your call to explore it with me HERE.