Allow yourself to feel, sense and be when stressed out

Give yourself permission

Humans are creatures of habit. We like our routines, our ways of doing and being in the world.

Then something comes along and all that gets disrupted, blown up, maybe even obliterated. We start to fumble around in the dark looking for the light switch that will turn everything back on.

Over the last few weeks maybe you found a new normal, a new routine that you’ve settled into. Maybe you’re not settled at all. Or perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle and it depends on the minute, day, or week.

Regardless of where you are in the moment, as you read this, give yourself permission to be in your present moment. In your now moment, feel all the feels, notice the sensations in your body. What messages do your thoughts, emotions and sensations have for you? Let’s explore how to access that information.

How to step into permission

Here are two ways to give yourself permission, and to step into your present, now moment to support you on your process.

  1. Start by grabbing your journal or a piece of scrap paper your kid left on the floor. Consider each of these questions and answer them openly and honestly. This information may come to you quickly, or it may evolve over time.
  2. What do you need to do for yourself in your present, now moment? Are you soothing with food (hello, carbs) or booze, or other substances?
  3. Are you numbing your emotions because you don’t know what do to with them, or they’re triggering something deeper in you?
  4. Are you allowing distractions to take over – social media, video games, TV, avoidance behaviours? Consider what you’re distracting yourself or escaping from.
  5. What is motivating you right now? Even if it’s something small.
  6. How are you treating others? Are you tempted to shame or judge strangers in the grocery store or acquaintances on social media? How can you show compassion?
  7. How are you judging yourself?

These are all the things I was thinking about as I sat on the couch with my glass of wine, bag of chips, while binging that last season of Suits on Netflix. I also noticed that my body wasn’t fully relaxed, and that I was tensing my hips and jaw.

I gave myself permission to be that slug on the couch for a while. That’s where I was at. Once the niggling feeling came in that it was time to shift this behaviour, I allowed myself to make different choices.

I opted to bring in more kindness and compassion for myself with healthier food choices, I added in more regular workouts.

Grant yourself permission

Remember when you were in school and your teacher sent home permission slips for a parent to sign so you could go on a field trip?

Grab that journal again. Write yourself that permission slip. This is a sample to get you started, but make it your own.

I, [your name], grant myself permission to [feel, do, be whatever it is], until I feel or sense [frustrated/angry, the niggle, my ass created a dent on the couch, I’ve yelled at the kids, etc.] or I give myself [a timeframe – a week, a day, etc.].

I give myself permission to be.

XX sign your name

I learned that I needed to give myself permission to just be – whether that was on the couch or going for a walk. Permission comes without judgement. In the present moment, I’ve chosen to be kind to myself by acknowledging what I’m feeling and allowing myself to feel, sense and know what I need in any given moment.

Breathe. Connect. Meditate.

When you start to feel yourself slipping out of being present – when you catch yourself obsessing about what might, could or should happen in the future, when you’re trying to control an outcome – bring yourself back into your now moment. Connect to your breath (here’s an article on why and how) to recognize your emotions and the sensations in your body.

Connect to kindness and self-compassion. A beautiful way to do that is with a loving kindness meditation called Metta mediation. Sit quietly, and begin focusing on your breath so you start to feel calm. Repeat silently these words to yourself as many times as you need to, until you feel you mind move back into the present:

May I be happy.

May I be well.

May I be safe.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

There are countless guided Metta meditations and variations on words that you can find online.

Giving yourself permission is a process, so allow yourself to accept and acknowledge how you are in your now moment. It’s a choice to shift out of ways that don’t serve your well-being.  

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