Ten Centering Techniques to Live an Embodied Life
An embodied life is a way of life that embraces what Plutarch said centuries ago…“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” So much of modern coaching techniques focus on thought process, emotional control and presence. Yet learning to live in and with our bodies is often neglected. People are left with a chasm between the person they want to be and the person they are daily and especially when under stress. (For example, you want to make good nutritional choices, but the argument with your boyfriend makes you so frustrated you binge on ice cream and chips.)
This is taking a huge toll on our physical, emotional and mental well-being. We live in a world so full of stress and hurried activities, we’re out of touch with who we are now and who we want to become. We get so busy with the doing of life that we forget about being. We might have every intention of being mindful of our inner experience, but it’s difficult with the daily distractions that vie for our attention.
A very successful approach to achieving lasting peace and calm is to live an embodied life. What does that mean and how can YOU achieve it?
Living an embodied life refers to creating an inner peace and calm through learning to recognize and embrace your inner experience in an honest and curiosity-filled way. It means you’re aware of your total mind/body/spirit connection and you do things daily to nurture it.
Knowing what to do and how to do it are two different things. So I’d like to share with you some daily practices that will help keep you centered. As you read through the following list, think about how you can create a daily routine of intentionally connecting with each one of these components in your life.
Ten Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress and Center Yourself:
1. Breathe. Throughout the day, take five to ten slow breaths that fully expand your lungs. Conscious breathing is the key to connecting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of your life. Focus especially on the exhale to let go of subtle tension in your body. You’ll immediately feel calmer and more energized.
2. Connect with your Heart. Tap into your inner strength by connecting with your emotional and spiritual intelligence. In a non-judgmental, compassionate way be present with how you’re feeling. Develop emotional tolerance by the simple act of observing the experience instead of always engaging in it. You’ll release the tension that prolongs the emotion so that it simply fades away.
3. Embrace your Body. Consciously focus, through your breathing, on the sensations your body is feeling. Connect your breathing to the feelings in your neck, shoulders, hands, and stomach as you remain in the moment rather than trying to escape.
4. Tap into your inner world through Mindfulness. Create awareness in all of your activities…breathing, eating, walking, cleaning the house, visiting with friends, loving… Make a point of doing them with more awareness than usual. Remember that the point in being mindful is not to think about your experience but simply to notice it.
5. Be in the Present Moment. No matter how out-of-control your day is, no matter how stressful your life becomes, the act of being present can become an instant sanctuary. When you are completely present, the external forces are no longer a problem, because there is only you and that external force, in this moment, and not a million other things you need to worry about.
6. Radically accept what is. Fighting against reality will drain you of your energy. Accept the moment for what it is and let go of any upset as you figure out how to relate to your present.
7. Cultivate Compassion toward others. See through the words and actions without judgment and compassionately look for the intentions and motivations, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt that they want peacefulness too.
8. Practice Self-compassion – developing a compassionate mind focus. Cultivate the ability to generate feelings of self-reassurance, warmth and self-soothing that can act as an antidote to the sense of inner loneliness, threat and despair. Learn to treat yourself and talk to yourself as you would a beloved best friend.
9. Relax deeply every day. There are various relaxation techniques such as meditation, bio-feedback, visualization and imagery, exercise such as Yoga, music therapy, going for walks, bubble baths and so much more. By trial and error you will find the one that works for you.
10. Develop Body Awareness. The Feldenkrais Method® (which I use in Somatic Coaching) is a powerful tool using gentle movement and directed attention to increase flexibility, coordination and range of motion. As your physical body rediscovers its innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement, your nervous system is trained to find new pathways around areas of damage and or disconnection, resulting in a greater mind/body connection.
Each of these techniques can help you center yourself. Centering is one of the easiest and most useful forms of embodiment practice. It’s especially helpful in the midst of strong emotional states such as anger, frustration or anxiety. It is often used by athletes, public speakers, actors, and anyone who wants to feel more stable and prepared before a potentially stressful event.
In order to have these skills available during hard times we need to practice daily, when we feel resourceful and safe, in order to develop unconscious competence. Persistence is an important aspect of cultivating a sustainable centering routine. Purposefully centering yourself many times throughout the day, even when you’re not feeling particularly emotional or in need of centering, will help to deepen your practice.
Would you like a guide in this journey toward living an embodied life? I will soon be opening up enrollment for the 2022 Embodied Coach School. Learn more about this approach by downloading my free report, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice — Leading to a Deeply Fulfilling and Rewarding Career as a Therapist and Coach. Also, feel free to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation, to learn more and see if this training is the right fit for you. Last year’s class exceeded all of our expectations. We learned so much and made deep and lasting connections with each other. I’m looking forward to what the 2022 class will bring.