Perhaps the greatest stress you will ever face is the impression that you can't protect yourself from life itself.
I have certainly had moments like this. A few years ago my husband and I went through two hurricanes, completing renovations on our house, putting it on the market, a cross-country move, and the death of my beloved grandmother all in a four week period (actually, all but one hurricane happened in one week). I have never been so stressed out in my life, and I began to notice that I was constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the next disaster to happen.
To top it off, I found I had gained about ten pounds in a week, although, due to stress, I hadn’t eaten a thing in days.
I felt exposed and unable to protect myself, and this frequency began to create the physical reactions that I was having. My fight or flight response was so overstimulated that my adrenal glands burned out. My mind was saturated with the idea that life was unsafe, so I manifested padding all over my body - and primarily my stomach, which is the seat of the sense of self - to at least soften the energetic blows.
If you carry excess weight in your mid-section, ask yourself why you feel unsafe. Very often, you will feel the answer in your gut immediately. Perhaps you have been hurt by someone close to you, and you are afraid of being hurt again. Maybe you are afraid of being rejected for who you are. Or, perhaps you are at a point of chaos in your life, and you feel that the blows will never stop. Any threat against your physical, emotional, or spiritual self can trigger an imbalance in the core of your body.
While you may feel that you cannot protect yourself, this is never true. As the co-creator of your life, you have the ability to create your own security and your own safe space, even in threatening situations. After all, the more that you identify a particular situation (or all of life) with the expectation, “I am not safe,” the more that you will trigger a fight or flight response in your body.
To feel safer, bring awareness to your breath.
When you find yourself feeling that you are being threatened in any way, bring your awareness to your breath. Focus in on it; you will likely notice that you are either holding your breath or it is speeding up, which continues to send a signal of fear to your body.
Instead, consciously slow down your breathing. Breathe in to the count of 5; breathe out to the count of 7. When you breathe in, make sure you are filling your lungs completely; it should feel that not another bit of air could go in there. When you breathe out, you should feel like you are doing so as slowly as you possibly could, and, at the end, that you have emptied your lungs completely. By doing this, you communicate to your mind that you are calm—and your body calms down.
Then, in this calm state, repeat to yourself the new expectation, “I create my own security. I am safe. I am protected.” If you would like to, you can place your hand over your stomach as you do this. By physically touching your skin, you are making a real connection between your mental and physical state, which strengthens your physical belief that you are now in charge of your emotional state.
The more you practice this, the more you create new neural programming that you really are safe and that you are able to protect yourself. You will begin to feel better and react to life from a more powerful state. Even better, this practice also sends out an important message to life itself that you are empowering yourself to choose better, safer, and happier experiences for you.
Remember, you DO have the power to change your anxious, scared reactions, and by so doing, to become more secure and safe in every way.
Tara’s Questions for Positive Change:
- Can you remember when you began feeling anxious? Was it during a particularly stressful time, or was it due to a traumatic event?
- In what situations do you feel most unsafe or anxious? When you are in those situation (or just before), remember to use the calming breath above. Then, in a calm state, repeat to yourself, “I am safe. I create my own security.” If you get anxious during the event, remember to go back to the calm breath. Again, putting your hand over your stomach helps to ground your mind and your body and makes an important connection for retuning your reaction in these situations.