What to Do When Your Brain Won't Calm on the Table

We’ve all been there: stressed, anxious, overworked and depleted.  Even tending to yourself with a massage can feel overwhelming. Sometimes the body, mind and spirit are wound up so tightly that it takes a little more effort to begin to feel in the present moment.  Here are three techniques I invite you to try while you receive your massage or anytime!

  1. Breathe: Seems simple, but for many folks under high stress, it can feel impossible.  When you notice a strong sensation, this is a cue to breathe. It doesn’t matter how deeply-- just that you do it.  Studies show focusing even more on the exhale can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system faster--leading to a quicker chill effect. Exhale your stagnant air and inhale fresh, cleansing air.  This is a skill you can take with you into your life. Bonus!

  2. Rectangle Breath: Imagine yourself in a place you adore.  It could be the woods, the beach, your snuggly bed or a complete figment of your imagination.  Now find something that’s rectangular. As you exhale, follow your eyes down the first vertical line, followed by a brief hold along the bottom horizontal line.  Take your deep inhale up the other vertical line and hold across the top. Continue this until your mind clears. If you get distracted and off-track, notice, and try again.

  3. Body Scan:  Imagine a bright, sparkly light that starts high in the atmosphere, above the Earth.  The light travels into the crown of your head, filling up the spaces of your brain, skull, neck, shoulders and heart space.  As it travels down your body, you’ll exhale. It continues down your arms, into your wrists and into your fingertips. It continues into your abdomen, back, hips, pelvis, thighs, calves, ankles, arches, toes and finally exits your body at the soles of your feet, and deep into the Earth’s core. It then re-enters the body and when it does, you inhale deeply.  

    I sometimes guide folks with this visualization or something like it.  You can use it to connect with all of your body. It’s a perfect check-in tool to see what you notice today.  Once you figure that out, you have an opportunity to tend to what needs tending.

Everyday is different.  Some days you may feel like a zen master during your sessions and sometimes it may take more intention to help yourself feel calmer.  Let me know if you’re able to try one or all of these techniques or tell me all about another breathing technique that works for you!