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Reduce stress with THIS exercise

In my last post I talked about stress and the impact it has on our lives. After explaining how stress makes everything in our lives gray, even the things we typically enjoy, I then proceeded to PROMISE I would not leave you hanging. So here I am, hoping that today’s activity brings a glimmer of sunshine to cut through the stress in your life.


One of the activities I’ve been using with my clients recently is from “The Heartmath Solution” called “Freeze Frame.” If you haven’t read any of my recent posts, let me just explain why I love The Heartmath Institute. To make a long story super short, about 15 years ago I started talking to a therapist. I had some old habits and wounds I wanted to work through. I went for a few years, but it wasn’t until I figured out unless I incorporated my heart in the game, there would be no real movement. This was odd for me, and it took years to figure out, because my background does not set me up for this type of work. I made all decisions with my head, stayed busy (still do at times) and felt so overwhelmed by emotions that I just pushed them away and stayed numb. Weird to hear a therapist admit that, huh? Ok, so back to why I love the Heartmath Institute. They made me feel not so crazy because of their research that backed up engaging the heart! I felt crazy talking to my heart, but IT WORKED. The Heartmath has done scientific research to prove that it works. In my world, if there is scientific research that totally makes me NOT crazy :)

Alright, so if you come from a “shake it off, bulldoze through emotions, stay busy, no pain no gain” type background, continue reading, my friends. This stuff is LEGIT. It works. And it works to the degree that you just dive in and trust that it works. What we are going to do is try to calm the racing monkey mind and the tight muscles to open up to the deep knowing within you. So, here are the instructions. Again, just so everyone knows where credit is due, these steps are from the Heartmath Institute. And you’ll be thankful I’m giving you their steps because mine started with drawing a picture, which I might just have to explain in my next post.


Freeze Frame Steps:

1) Write the situation. Find a stressful situation in your life and write out the key points.


2) Write down your HEAD REACTION. For this part, you will write down anything flying through your head or what emotions continue to surface. Usually they are emotions like fear, worry, anxiety, impatience. They might even be thoughts like “I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, life sucks…”


3) FREEZE FRAME. This is where your goal is to feel a new feeling. Shift your attention. Try to picture a fun trip, a memory that makes you shine as you re-live it, a sense of care for anyone in your life, appreciation, or gratitude. Listen up- DO NOT, I mean DO NOT try to force it. You can’t fake out your heart. IT needs to be heartfelt. This is where you can’t “fake it til you make it.” Choose something that truly shifts your emotional state. Stay in this stage until you feel an internal shift.


4) Ask your heart how to proceed. This is where you will write down your HEART REACTION. Ask your intuition or deep internal self what would be a more helpful way to see the situation and proceed. You might hear a “still small voice” inside, or you may just get a physical sensation. As you’re starting out in this activity this part may be tricky because you may or may not have a previous relationship with your heart. And if you’re saying, “relationship with my heart? WHAT THE…” then you may just have a little further to ease into this activity :) Just notice when you place your attention in the area of your chest and see what comes up. If your answer from this area of your body is calm, peaceful, logical, accepting, marked with clarity then you’re onto something. When you’re looking for a heart response and you are familiar with the Christian passage (Gal 5:22-23) we are talking about things similar to the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.


After you're done with these steps, take a look back to see if anything was similar or different from steps two and four. Often times there is a difference. If there isn't, if you keep practicing you might notice a shift begins to happen. The more you can alter your emotional state to feel a different feeling, it puts your head and heart in alignment to see the situation with more clarity and peace. Keep practicing this and you'll really see a difference in your life! Happy rooting, everyone!

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