“I am free to fear less”
Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Or may be wait until you can enjoy a nap or its bedtime.
Write it, draw it, meditate on it. Stick a Post It on a mirror. Set yourself a reminder on your phone if you’d like to.
Practicing this thought throughout the day will help you notice this sequence and support you to navigate daily life in many ways.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship of the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Today’s thought it this:
“I am free to fear less”
We have a built-in response to fear, so that we can respond without the need to think, in an instant to a real or perceived threat to our life. Whilst evolution has given us this ability to react – it comes from an ancient part of the brain, known as the reptilian brain. It means we can fight or flee in an instant. We can be ready instantly and will just react to try and save ourselves if we meet a predator.
This is good news. The reactions will help us jump out of the way if a punch or kick comes our way suddenly. The reactions are there for us, if we need to swerve suddenly as we are driving and see an object in the road. The reaction is there, moving us out of the way, if we accidentally drop something heavy, our feet will jump out of the way.
These responses can be literally life saving.
And they can also get activated in situations which don’t really need this level of high-vigilance, when there is no predator baring its teeth at us, no need to run away.
There are many situations where we can enter this hard-wired mode Fight-Flight-Freeze-Fawn when it is not the most helpful mode to be in.
We can train ourselves so this isn’t the first and only way to respond to a job interview, an audition, a driving lesson or a situation in the future – which might never even happen.
No one can know what the future holds.
Looking after yourself now, one thought at a time, steering your body-mind towards more ease and less fear, is a worthy practice.
I think many people who have been panic-buying have been hijacked by this ancient part of the brain. They are scared and frightened that there won’t be enough loo rolls, pasta or milk in ‘the future’ so buy way more than they need right now.
I get it. I understand.
And using Alexander’s discoveries we can practice being less reactive, and more in charge of a reasoned response. It doesn’t mean we don’t have the fear reaction when we need it in emergencies.
It does mean that the lack of certain items at the shop is not necessarily deemed an emergency. We can begin to look further, wider and deeper for alternative routes and solutions,(rice instead of pasta) be creative in our strategies (I’ll make my own bread) and have more scope to meet our needs in different ways (tissues instead of loo roll), or bear the discomfort of not meeting certain needs in our preferred ways (no bread, just veggies – cabbage again).
We can practice how to respond differently.
When we are stimulated into fight and flight, like any mammal we tighten our jaw, our neck muscles stiffen and we narrow the focus of our vision and attention to a single point.
So please practice this thought again: “I am free to fear less”
- Invite your jaw to release tension (don’t waggle it, or munch it around) its just a thought to ask it to soften and release.
- Ask yourself to gently unclench your teeth. Now, you may or may not have been clenching your teeth. Practicing the thought, the wish, the subtle and delicate idea actually starts rewiring your nervous system.
- Allow your tongue to be fuller. It’s an idea to allow the excess muscle tension to release.
- Notice the movement in your chest, ribs and whole torso on your next out-breath.
- Let the out breath have its full life-span right until the end of the natural tide. (No need to force, or push, simply notice the ending of the out breath.)
- Invite your neck muscles to widen a little, as if you had a high necked jumper on and the elastic allowed it to become one collar size bigger. The whole cylinder of your neck muscles, can soften and release into the space around it.
- Become gently aware of what is in your peripheral vision – above, below, to the sides, and behind you.
Notice how your body is responding to these ideas?
Does your jaw get heavier, your chin softer?
Do your teeth come apart a little?
Does a sigh escape, all by itself?
Does your mouth stop pushing into your teeth or the roof of your mouth?
Does your tongue feel fatter?
Does the space around you become more visible and well, more spacious?
Does your vision go a bit blurry?
Does the muscles around your spine ungrip a little in the neck area?
Simply notice, and know that with this kind of thinking-practice you are reducing tension, you are re-wiring your brain and nervous system, your muscles are releasing their grip. You are finding the gap between stimulus and reaction – so you can begin to choose your response.
You are reducing fear. You are transforming your experience. You are less fearful. You are fear-less.
“I am free to fear less”