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.


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

6 Tips To Self Reflect

6 Tips To Self Reflect

A Little Look Within

Self Reflection enables you to face the awkward, uncomfortable and dysfunctional aspects in your life  can change your life!

I have multiple conversations in clinic every week with clients who have moments, and even periods of time, where they feel stuck? Perhaps this immersion into darkness only lasts for a couple of hours, or worse, the stuck lasts several days. Some report that it extends out to weeks and gasp, maybe months!

There’s a common denominator for nearly everyone I see — they don’t know why they are stuck.

I talk to these clients about the need for real honesty with yourself, in order to seek a deeper understanding of that close and very personal relationship called ‘me’ or ‘myself’. Diving deep into the relationship with yourself can support you to overcome sub conscious habits that restrict or inhibit you to live your best life.

If you’re nodding your head then self reflection might just be the thing you’re looking for.

Self reflection is not an activity to beat yourself up. Nor is it designed to instigate shame, blame or guilt yourself. And let’s continue with a bit more honesty and agree, that when you first actively begin to explore yourself, it can feel a little uncomfortable — if you allow it.

Self Reflection is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as
“a serious thought regarding your actions”


In other words you’ve got to dig for the good stuff. For example for you to return to your heart space and perceive what worked well or what didn’t?

Self Reflection is a process of observing yourself. This includes your feelings, thoughts and actions. It’s a process that requires being honest with yourself and should not ignite negativity of self sabotaging behaviour of shame, blame, or guilt.

Self Reflection requires a couple of things in order to achieve a positive outcome. You require courage to explore your darkness as you search for your hidden treasure. This includes your flaws, mistakes and reprimands. Your darkness hides the quirks in your values and belief system. Your darkness hides your strength by running a vulnerability based survival behavioural program.

It means you have to be prepared to accept yourself and get the hell out of your head and step down into your heart space. Connecting into your heart space, you are accessing your innate wisdom. You are activating your intuition and perception of life from a space of love. When you disconnnect from all that over thinking, you are actually stepping back into your heart space.

Allowing yourself to be willing to explore within incorporates the need to embrace six ‘self’ attributes.

These include:

  1. Self-confidence —embracing that feeling of trust of your own abilities, qualities and judgement.

2. Self-image — how you see or perceive your abilities, appearance and personability.

3. Self-Worth — sense of your own worth or value as a person.

4. Self-Respect — pride & confidence in yourself.

5. Self-Belief — the belief that you can do things well.

6. Self-Esteem — confidence in your worth & abilities.

Self Reflection is therefore a personal growth tool which allows you to pause and determine how well you’re travelling your journey path. It’s so easy to reflect on your life with a negative filter like overthinking, worry or fear. Your nervous system drives this defensive type of mental based energy.

Self reflection can be used as a tool which supports you to evaluate, and celebrate what you have achieved in your life. With a little kindness for yourself, self reflection can support you to step out of self sabotaging patterns whereby negativity swirls around inside your head.

You can do this be using the power of reframing your perceived failures, simply as lessons not yet fully learned. In turn this creates a positive energy of acceptance and allows you to shift gears or direction to achieve success in the future.

So let’s explore what Self Reflection can do for you!

So let’s explore what Self Reflection can do for you!

Tip #1 Be Honest With Yourself

Self reflection is an invitation to be honest with yourself about how things are going in your life. Your observation should simply assess your behaviour during your experiences, in terms of your values and beliefs.

Are you aligned to your core values? 

Tip #2 Observe your behavioural patterns 

I invite you to gently lay down the need to judge yourself on this one and simply look at whether the same trigger consistently arises for you to address. This creates an opportunity to become aware of the habits that best support you to live your best life, or address the ones that are holding you back.

Tip #3 Understand Your Core Values

From the persepctive of Self Relfection and understanding your core values means reaffirming assessing what is important in your life.

Assessing your values (because some may change throughout your life as you mature) is like maintaining and re-affirming your inner compass to always point you in the direction of your true north.

Tip #4 Be Kind & Gentle!

Self reflection isn’t intended nor designed to beat yourself up about what has happened doesn’t change your experiences. All this does is make you feel like crap.

Remember to not use why questions, because they only leave you looking in the rearview mirror of the journey you’re taking. You need to ask what questions which enable you to open up to a different reality or version of your truth.

Tip #5 Be Forgiving

Self Reflection should encourage you to be gentle with yourself, especially when you don’t meet your expectations, don’t get it right, or completely mess it up.

We all make mistakes.

This is why reframing thoughts and feelings is so vital. Remember that our expectations are often unrealistic and set you up for a perception of failure or fear of not being perfect.

Tip #6 Keep Track Of Your reflections

Capture your observations, thoughts, feelings and whatever burns up your internal barometer in a journal. This enables you to monitor change over time. It helps you map the evidence of your success, or further identify where you can make small adjustments along the way to living your best life.

So Self-Reflection is really like a form of internl auditing.

It’s just like placing your thoughts and feelings in front of a mirror, and being able to examine what the heck has been going on. The reflection enables you to examine what is seeping out of the cracks or what has arisen from the dark depths of your sub conscious. As part of your internal audit, instead of going straight into reaction mode, you can choose to become curious and explore why certain emotional responses arise under specific conditions, or be triggered by specific places or people.

Self reflection is a very useful tool, especially if you’re trying to manifest that next big thing in your life. Perhaps you’re using affirmations or the law of attraction and you’re not quite reaching the desired outcome you seek. Self reflection enables you to look at various aspects of your life where you may be running a hidden sabotage pattern.

Self-reflection is a tool that instantly brings you into the present moment because it forces you to explore how am I feeling about x?

It’s a particularly useful strategy if you know you’re about to face something that may re-trigger stress such as a work situation or family gathering. Additionally it’s a useful tool when you’re studying or working on a project as it supports you to measure actual success and celebrate that!

So where in your life can self-reflection support you?

Let’s begin with your relationship with yourself.

We all know that knowledge is power. When you can acknowledge how a person, place, or thing can push your buttons or stress you out, you can take action to defuse the stress trigger. The relationship you have with yourself needs to be based in self love in order to manifest positivity and productivity. 

If you waste your energy and time with the negativity of shame, blame, guilt, judgement, or even resentment you’re wasting your life. This is because negativity stifles your energy to thrive and shifts you into a space of survival, in other words flight or fight.

The relationship you have with yourself is therefore vital in order to thrive in your life. The person who looks back at you every morning in the mirror is going to be the most important relationship you have in your life. It’s imperative to therefore consciously assess where you perceive any weakness or areas for improvement and this starts with where does your negativity spring up?

What pushes your buttons? What trips you up? What causes you to fall or go splat on your face? What fucks you up?

When you can sit quietly with yourself and honestly replay a stressful situation, accepting the flourish of emotions that may have transpired as a component of your reaction (rather than response) you are creating an opportunity for growth. It’s a choice point when you explore this quiet space because you get to decide how that reaction made you feel afterwards. 

You get to decide whether you might do it differently. You also get to explore where that reaction came from so that you begin to understand yourself on a far deeper level.

Want to read more like this?

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

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

Healing Emotions Hurt More Than The Physical Wounds – 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

How To Stop Making Excuses And Start Living Your Best Life

How To Stop Making Excuses And Start Living Your Best Life

How To Take Charge of Your Stuff


How you perceive these current global circumstances is a mindset choice.

  • I don’t have support.
  • I don’t have equipment or resources to achieve my goal
  • I don’t know the best way
  • I’m too old or young, to do what I want
  • I’m too busy to do what I want.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too sore, too much pain or simply not feeling the vibe of wanting to do what I want.

Recognise the excuses are no valid, they aren’t you. They are conjured and fabricated from your self-doubt. The doubt arises from the fear that you may fail, miss out, be left behind, fear to be considered yourself unworthy, fear of feeling not good enough, fear the future, uncertainty or unknown.

Our truth is our capacity and commitment to rise above the experience and show the world who we really are, despite the fears of showing the world our true self.

And here’s the catch. You have to choose that outcome. You have to want your truth more than you avoid fear.

Starting your day with a positive intention-based mindset sets you up for success. Being aware of any negative dialogue you have during the day and reframing a negative thought, like a judgement, into something positive allows you to drag the energy of the excuse (and it’s associated behavioural pattern) into the consciousness to be addressed.

Being happy is like a savings account at the bank. It takes regular deposits into the account to make it grow, to evolve the habit and turn things around.

This commitment to self means no more cheating the rules, calling yourself on the laziness, and basically being committed enough to self to just do the life you want, over and over until it becomes the new habit of doing you.


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

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, self-confessed laughaholic, and now 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.’ 

Let Your Autumn Leaves Fall

Let Your Autumn Leaves Fall

This is the season to get ‘bare’ and heal.

Favourite time of year

Autumn would have to be my favourite time of year on so many levels. The nights are cool so you can sleep. The days have glorious warm sunshine which doesn’t burn you or cause you to sweat to the point of chaffing!!

Energetically, autumn is the time of year we acknowledge the abundance of summer. The peak of sunshine and solstice has passed. We can celebrate the goals kicked and reflect on those that missed the posts and didn’t score.

Autumn should be when we slow down and progress towards our hibernation period of winter. As we lose external daylight we are energetically forced to find the light within. This is a normal part of our transitional process for our evolution.

I don’t know about you, but I reflect on my NYE intentions during this season. I review my goals and ask myself whether they are still relevant, and if they are, I question myself whether I am on track. I do this from a place of non-judgement.

It’s like a self-audit. You can pick and choose the feelings, thoughts and actions, and make any required modifications to your life.

It’s ok to not be in a space where you expected. Life is meant to be fluid and filled with unexpected change as we walk our journey path.

It is in this reflective space that you can be kind to self and explore any opportunities that have arisen along your path. You can embrace cross roads, instead of being fearful of them.

Just like the leaves on the deciduous trees which constantly change, we are entering the energetic phase of baring our branches (our patterns and beliefs and dreams). The falling of the leaves allows us to become vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to be exposed for this is where you find your raw truth — your hidden treasure of innate wisdom.

Before the equinox descends upon us, be gentle with self. It’s like filling up your love account for self. The more happiness deposits you can make, the larger your capacity for more love.

Set your intention to be open to all possibilities which allow you to be happy. I find simply setting my intention for being open to experiences of joy each day, invites the unexpected into my life. I am constantly surprised at my capacity to love when I set simple intentions, rather than planning out life to the last minute.

Set your intention which allows you to be connected to self and your inner harmony and peace of mind.

Set your intention for ‘easy’, so that you can always be open to the fork in the road and connecting to your intuition and innate knowing.

Just keep breathing, watching the tree colours change each time you are outside and walk. Allow nature to trigger your imagination and the universe to surprise you with wonder.

Be like the tree and allow your change process to evolve.

Here are some steps to support your pruning phase this autumn.

Sharpen the shears

You have to be prepared to cut out the deadwood. Journalling is a fabulous activity for this. Writing out all the arising feelings as you sit quietly and explore, reflect, and goal setting is an extremely liberating and purging gift to self.

Rake up the fallen leaves

Collect your thoughts and feelings through journaling and meditation. It’s important that when the feelings arise into consciousness, you don’t dwell on them. Use the breath to acknowledge and gently release that which no longer serves your higher purpose.

Mulch the tree roots

Fuelling your body with sufficient nutrition and water is essential in your change process. A healthy gut promotes your brain to work better and be more readily adaptable in this stressful world.

Fertilize the soil

When I first typed this I wrote fertilize the soul. By this I mean to be selfish and meet your needs.

Self-care is vital with any change process. For some, this may include a relaxing bath each night. Perhaps a walk in nature. Cuddle the pets or kids can reinforce your physical connection to others. Massage is another ripper activity for the self-care tool kit.

As always be sure to get good sleep to rest the body and the mind.


In summary, allow yourself to align to the seasonal change. Surrendering to the energetic shifts aligns you to your unique path and the steps you are about to take. Surrendering to your leaves falling and your branches becoming bare will prepare you for your upcoming winter hibernation.