People feel compassion for others as a natural instinct and when things are out of your control, such as the spread of coronavirus in general for example, it is difficult not to feel helpless and sad. “This is especially true for extremely sensitive individuals (HSPs), who feel more empathy than most,” says Habash.
People tend to take on the feelings of others, destroying their own feelings and their nervous system. And if you know you are a very sensitive person (or suspect you may be), it is even more important to have ways to honor those feelings, but not to keep them deep inside your body, where it will cause stress and anxiety.
“It can cause stress, anxiety, and even physical problems as a result,” says Habash. This type of trauma can remain and last in the body, unless it is properly released through healing and changing emotional state. Here are some beneficial practices for relieving stress and anxiety as well as relieving trauma from these painful events happening around the world.
How to remove the wound from the body
1. Scream Therapy
Anything you can do to express and release restrained emotions without hurting others in the process can be helpful. “You can scream in your car, in a closet or on a pillow if you need more privacy,” he says.
“This practice will help you remove the upset from your body and you will often feel some relaxation in the body afterwards,” he adds. Follow it with a gentle self-care practice such as self-massage, bath or gentle flow of yoga or candlelight yoga.
Try this 20 minute relaxing yoga stream:
“Working with the breath is very effective in calming the nervous system, with a particular emphasis on exhalation, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (triggering a ‘rest and relaxation’ response),” says Habash.
Ask for your inhale to deepen to count to four and then pause for a moment before taking a long exhale to count to six. “Adjust the number or proportion to your ability and, if possible, work on an exhalation that is twice the inhalation,” he says.
A simple alternative, visualization can also be a good tool. “Imagine breathing deeply in peace and exhaling in the world, practicing for five minutes and then breathing normally to relax,” he suggests. This type of breathing not only calms the body, but also gives the mind a focus to clear ideologies and get rid of trauma.
3. Dancing or “shaking” the wound away
Dancing is not only fun and training, but can also be very helpful in eliminating trauma. “This is one of my favorite practices for relieving stress and trauma,” says Habash. “According to Peter Levine, its author Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma“Animals shake their bodies vigorously to release stress and trauma,” he says. The “shake” or dance works well for people.
Stand with your feet at a distance between your hips for stability. Allow yourself to move freely and spontaneously, without thinking too much or getting into this dance or “moving” with a plan in mind. Enjoy the movements that occur naturally.
“If you’re not sure what to do, just start gently shaking your arms and legs, wherever it makes you feel good or you can also relax through the dance,” he says. Express your frustration, anxiety, stress, anger, or sadness – any choked emotions from trauma – through movement, such as pressing, jumping, spinning, and shaking. After a few minutes, take a break to observe your senses, take a few deep breaths and then enjoy some time to relax by reducing negative emotions.
4. “The Woodchopper”
This is a quick and easy exercise that helps relieve stress through the use of breathing and intense movement. “Make sure you start slowly and easily and adjust for any physical limitations or injuries (for example, if you have back problems, keep your knees bent as you lean forward or skip this altogether),” says Habash.
Stand with your feet on your hips at a distance. Bend your fingers in front of you with straight hands. As you inhale, raise your arms. On the exhale, with your knees slightly bent, lean forward while waving your arms down as if holding an ax and chopping wood, with a strong exhale.
Allow yourself to hang on to the front bend for a moment before slowly rolling. “You may want to make a sound as you ‘cut your wood’ to let even more energy out,” he says. Repeat a few times until you feel refreshed, where your worries and stressors have eased.
5. Compassion for oneself
“Usually we are very good at feeling compassion for others, but we neglect to extend that care and understanding to ourselves, so let us compare your situation with that of others and take a few minutes to pay attention to your feelings.” says Hambas.
It is helpful to incorporate touch into this practice as well. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your abdomen. Then imagine inhaling compassion as you inhale deeply into your abdomen and heart, and as you exhale, extend that compassion to all other beings to spread love.
“Visualize and feel what it would be like to experience this compassion for your suffering, as it is to do good to yourself and to others,” he says. Practice this exercise for a few minutes and as you feel fuller with compassion for yourself, you will be better able to gently hold the difficulties in this world and not let the trauma affect you too much on a regular basis.
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