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The Art Of Relaxation

The Art Of Relaxation

The Art of Relaxation

I read a fabulous quote the other day, “relaxation is one of the most complex phenomena – very rich, multidimensional“, I just wish I could locate the author to give credit, because this quote is gold!

Right now, we’re experiencing a level of societal stress that hasn’t been experienced since the recession in the 1980’s, or for those still alive, the great depression during the war.

For most people, having experienced two years of uncertainty and unknown during the pandemic, worrying about whether life will return back to normal, has exacerbated our sympathetic nervous system’s flight-fight response. Extended lockdowns has not been kind for most, and from a mental health perspective, damaging and traumatic. Effectively our capacity to feel calm and relaxed has been interupted, and in some cases reduced, due to long term stress.

Everyone on the planet, has something in their past, which is unresolved, and causes them to feel triggered in present day. This trigger drives a neurological survival response.

As a clinical practitioner, I support clients to learn how to recognise when they have activated their neurological survival programs of flight-fight-freeze. I joke that this state of survival makes you look like a meerkat, looking this way and that with crazy eyes.

When you’re in meerkat mode, you have reduced capacity to absorb all of the informaation in your visual field, so you have to turn your head at everything that moves. This leaves you feeling a little ‘hyped-up’. It also uses an incredible amount of physical energy, and leaves you feeling very tired at the end of each day.

To tell someone to relax when they are in meerkat mode is useless, because they have no capacity to undertake any higher ordered thinking (in the neo cortex), or find relaxation solutions (pre-frontal cortex). When you have activated your sympathetic nervous system, and look/feel like a meerkat, you are operating your repitillian brain – you’re doing whatever it takes to survive.

Why relaxation is complex?

1. Need To Feel Safe

There’s a number of emotional investments we have to work through in order for the relaxation effect to work. Taking note that we’ve likely activated our meerkat survival program, we have to be able to firstly feel safe. This sounds a little odd, but understanding that if you feel safe, you are more likely to deactivate the survival program and neurologically return to a state of ‘rest-digest‘ of the parasympathetic nervous system.

When working in clinic, I always advise the client to start with slow and purposeful breathing. I lead the way, and we harmonise our breathing rhythms – it always feels safer to work in pairs or groups. Working in isolation, or infront of a practitioner, can feel intimidating, which perpetuats the meerkat survival behaviours.

The outward breath is always through an open mouth, supports toning of the vagus nerve (longest cranial nerve which influences breathing, heart rate and digestion). Marrying the breath of the practitioner provides you with evidence that you can change, and do have internal resources to achieve relaxation. This builds energy for trust in self.

2. Becoming Present

The breath brings us into the present moment. This is the place in time where you can proactively create change in your life. This is the neurological space that we can switch from being a meerkat and back into rest and digest (of the parasympathetic nervous system). When we activate this switch, we regain access to reintegrate our brain function, to access the neocortex and pre frontal cortex.

3. Learning to Trust

An integrated brain means that your capacity for analysing the issue, identifying solutions to feel safe can begin. When we feel safe in the space of purposeful breath, we are creating capacity for learning to trust in our individual abilities.

Often when I work with employers or teachers, I take them through a variety of relaxtion techniques after revisiting purposeful breath. Actively demonstrating how focus, motivation and memory all improve with these simple mindful breathing activities enables the client to return to their collective tribe of colleagues or students and share their experiences.

4. Learning To Let Go

Many of the corporate presentations I do, involve introducing how the brain works at a very basic level. I actively discuss the survival switch and meerkat mode. It’s worth noting that I’ve never had anyone NOT connect with that anxious or overwhelmed feeling.

At every single presentation, I ask participants to rate their level of stress. We discuss we’re in a safe space, and I invite them to close their eyes. I take them through some basic breathing techniques as well as some guided meditation to identify and let go of stress. We open our eyes and I check in with how they’re feeling.

Re-introducing participants to their relaxed self is often a surprising revelation for the audience. Their perception that relaxation is hard, has been disproved.

Participants quickly learn to recognise that letting go can be as easy as connecting into themselves, registering where they store stress, and breathing it out.

It’s often not until we have physically overridden the nervous system that we realise how much stress our body has been carrying. The use of the quick breathing technique is often all people require as evidence that they can let go of their stuff in their mental and emotional realm. Afterall overanalysis of thoughts and feelings wastes a lot of physical energy.

5. Do Good, Not More

Purposeful breathing is a type of relaxation that is extremely effective when consistently repeated.

At corporate presentations, I find myself discussing strategies with leadership, of the neuro-biological need for regular mindfulness practice to drives higher efficiencies and focus in staff.

Asking staff to do more when there is little to no physical/mental capacity is a receipe for disaster.

Asking staff to do good, and supporting them with resources to be good, is in my opinion an ideal space to start.

Conclusion

Relaxation therefore is art and at times complex, because it requires a consistent commitment to undertaking actions that support you feeling safe, being able to trust, and let go.

It’s only when we are present, and not operating a past tense survival program that we can focus on the things you can embrace (rather than control).

During a typical working day, depending on the type of work, you may need to reset your nervous system at regular intervals. Breathing techniques, getting up for water breaks, and changing your visusal field all contribute to resetting your neurological state.

For more information about our survival switch and techniques to defuse it, view my book “This Is My Roar – Transform Your Trauma Tale.” Click here for more information.

Want to read more like this?

Self Reflection – A little Look Within – click here

8 Hot Tips How To Journal – click here

Can You Risk Not Stepping Up To Mother yourself? – Click here

How To Stop Making Excuses & Start Living Your Best Life – Click here

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation Facilitator, and self-confessed laughaholic.  She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’ 

Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland

What Is My Dharma?

What Is My Dharma?

Welcome to the personal journey of your Dharma

Have you ever wondered how people manifest anything they want?

Does that leaving you scratching your head wondering where you are at in life?

Dharma is a Sanskrit word which translates to ‘right direction’. Therefore when you actively explore your dharma, you are immersing yourself into a quest to gain perspective of your purpose, passion and power. This exploration is an assessment of whether you are pointing true north in your journey life and fulfilling your highest purpose.

Your dharma isn’t something you search for or find outside of yourself.

Everyone has a purpose in life…a unique gift or special talent to share with others” – Unknown source

Exploring your dharma enables you to:

  • Define your dharma through observation of you living your precious life
  • Understand how you honour your life path, or dharma
  • Create a mission statement to remind you how to remain on true course, always pointing north.

When we are connected to our dharma, even though life can throw us experiences that generate emotional high or low responses, we can remind ourselves of our true purpose. This enables us to celebrate the wins, to accept the defeats or lessons being learnt.

Acceptance of our dharma provides an energetic space to expand and create balance in our lives. The dharma intention you create enables you to build the platform from which you ground into. Re-evaluation of your dharma is like inspecting the footings of your home, ensuring strength and support to move forward.

Embracing our dharma creates a desire, deep within, that keeps us pointed to our true north. Your dharma starts with connecting to you heart space which seeds positive thoughts.

You might be scratching your head wondering where you could make a start on exploring your dharma! Let me share some tips!

“Your dharma is not a career, or a project, or a certain role you play. It’s the unique vibration that your soul carries to everything that you do and every way that you are.” —Sahara Rose

10 Tips to Discover Your Personal Dharma

1. Pay attention to shows up (ie synchronicity)

The universe / god (call this what you want), is very good at guiding you, giving you a nudge or two and even providing a trail!

I recommend you pay attention to what or who keeps showing up in your life. When someone or something shows up over and over, it’s likely that this is tied to your dharma.

2. Accept invitations from spirit

You can label these invitations ‘callings‘. The invitation calls to things that you feel deep inside, that guide you. The trick with callings is to remind yourself that sometimes they don’t necessarily make sense to anyone else but you.

Remember this is often a gut based feeling, rather than something you’rethinking. Callings are preparation for connecting with your dharma, or life purpose.

4. Your journey path is not a straight line

The path to your connecting with your dharma is not straight, and can spiral into a myriad of directions. It can even feel like a rollercoaster of ups and downs!

Spirit has a funny sense of humor. For just when you think you’ve connected with your dharma, spirit is likely to throw you a curve ball with a new challenge and lesson to learn.

Let me give you the tip, it helps a bunch to flow with this process, and where required, surrender to the notion that the journey isn’t always forward or as you expect.

5. Make friends with the unknown & unexpected

It’s important to know that connection to your dharma can be push or pull you into a myriad of directions that aare unexpected, unknown and ometimes uncomfortable.

There’s no point trying to control the path that you’re on. The trick i becoming a mastermind at going with the flow.

6. Create a connection ritual that aligns you to spirit

The trick with this tip is to figure out how best to nurture your soul. Implement simple small actions like yoga, meditation, coluring, painting or walking in nature.

I find any activity that connects you to your heart space is all it takes to align to your truth. Your heart space is where you’ll locate the information about your dharma.

7. A cup of courage is required to walk on the wild side

Discovering your dharma is sometimes not a cake walk. It requires you to embrace your moxie!

I encourage you to call upon a higher level of universal trust. Here’s another way of looking at this connection … you are a precious child of the universe. So when you commence connecting with your dharma, you are rejoining your spiritual tribe.

8. Be patience and kind with your self

Your dharma is not something you can catch, take a pill, make magically appear,  or generate a quick fix.  Connection with your dharma is a life long  journey.

They key is to take small steps, then stride,  then leap, and then allow yourself breathe deeply.

You know the old saying, patience is virtue.

Wrap Up

According to Sahara Rose “if you’re not living your dharma, you may experience feelings of being stuck—like you’re taking action, but not really moving forward. The future doesn’t excite you. You’re surviving rather than thriving.

Does this resonate for you?

The symptoms of stuck can feel like anxiety, depression, unworthiness, or just feeling off and not yourself. I know from personal experience, that when you are live life in accordance with your dharma, you learn to experience the sensation of acceptance with who you are. You learn to enjoy expressing and sharing your unique gifts with the world. There is so much personal power associated with this connection.

Perhaps by sharing these tips is you can see your callings, journeys and even seeming missteps can be coalesced into a pathway toward your personal dharma.

Maybe the next time you hit the pause button and take time out for yourself, ask yourself the following question – what is the change that you so deeply want to see in the world?

Any answer is an important clue to discover your personal dharma, your sacred duty, your mission here on earth. The more clues you discover, the greater  the opportunity to shine your light bright!

If you are inspired, I invite you to book at Dharma Meditation Session and explore your why!

Want to read more like this?

Self Reflection – A little Look Within – click here

8 Hot Tips How To Journal – click here

Can You Risk Not Stepping Up To Mother yourself? – Click here

How To Stop Making Excuses & Start Living Your Best Life – Click here

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, and self-confessed laughaholic. She is an avid Breast Cancer Advocate residing in Gippsland Victoria Australia. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’ 

Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland

Reflect & Connect This New Year’s Eve

Reflect & Connect This New Year’s Eve

Take A Moment To Reflect

Do New Year’s Eve resolutions actually work?

In my opinion the answer is setting a NYE Resolution is a major source of shame, blame, and guilt in January.

Why is this?

When we create a resolution, it’s simply a statement of what you want your dream life to include. There’s very little, if any, actual planning of how you will achieve success of the goal you’re setting yourself.

Instead of setting a resolution for the new year could I invite and encourage you to reflect on the year that is drawing to a close and ask yourself the following questions?

1. What was great for you this year?

Are you able to set aside everything that occureed externally in your life this year, and just pause. Take a breath. Now ask yourself this – have there been any highlight moments for you this year that can be celebrated?

I encourage you to simply sit with what arises. Don’t push any feelings aside.

2. Is there any negative thing that could be reframed into a lesson being learnt?

And before you respond, give some thought to the rules of the law of attraction, which state that the universe hears everything you say!  Eeekkk so catch yourself stating “this year was shit”!

What if I gave you permission to reframe or look around the challenge to find the solution? What advice could you give yourself or what might you discover?

And let’s be honest, this fresh perspective may not solve the problem (call it a challenge instead) you’ve been experiencing. It may however, be an important jigsaw puzzle piece that enables you to forgive yourself for that negative reaction. In turn this may enable you to soften and feel better within yourself.

That is powerful stuff!

3. Is there a theme that arose or captured your attention this year?

Perhaps it might be a common feeling or thought process? It might be a trigger from a place, person or thing?

I invite you in today’s reflection to ask yourself “what is this trigger trying to tell me”?

Journal out everything that arises from this question.

Why? Because once that emotion is out, you create a space for heart space connection and capacity for courage to move forward.

4. What do I want to be feeling instead?

When I work with clients in my clinic, we commence every session with “so what’s been happening“?

This questions allows a lot of venting to occur, which opens the door for me to create an invitation to arrive at “so how do you want to be feeling?

When was the last time you connected in with the feelings of your heart space – the space within you that is your truth?

This is the space and time to allow yourself to become very honest and ask connect with your inner truth.

5. What Is My Intention Moving Forward?

Making that connection with how you want to feel in your life can feel a little confronting, and that’s ok because this is where the lesson needs to evolve- learning more about yourself. I use guideded meditation to gently ease into this space and allow regular insight to connect me to my dream life. 

 Now that you have identified your why (the desired feeling), you can implement an action plan that drives you towards what you have to do to achieve that feeling.

Reflection doesn’t have to include shame, blame or guilt. It can simply be an honest observation of whether you’ve strayed from your path or self check-in as to how birght you shine your light!

Reflect and connect with the real emerging you!

Wrap Up

Creating an intention instead of a resolution, is like gifting yourself an invitation to undertake a consistent paced approach to change over the coming year. It creates a positive energised space, that is permission based, to focus on self. An intention energetically allows you to measure your progress without shame, blame, or guilt.

You’re either on track or you’re not.

When you allow yourself to be courage and look within honestly, you can change course, seek support, defuse old patterns – you can choose to change and bloom from within.

Whatever your tradition to ring in a new year, may you be blessed with the courage to really look at your reflection and appreciate just how amazing you really are!

Happy New Year gorgeous!

Want to read more like this?

Self Reflection – A little Look Within – click here

8 Hot Tips How To Journal – click here

Can You Risk Not Stepping Up To Mother yourself? – Click here

How To Stop Making Excuses & Start Living Your Best Life – Click here

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, and self-confessed laughaholic. She is an avid Breast Cancer Advocate residing in Gippsland Victoria Australia. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’ 

Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland