Late for a meeting I suddenly realized that I had been clinching my stomach for a very long time – maybe an hour. I took several deep breaths and pushed them through my belly. Ahhh! That felt better. Do you clinch your belly, your fists, your shoulders, your breath?

Often, we don’t realize that we are holding the tension somewhere in our bodies. When you think “I feel stressed”, check your body. Where are you holding the stress? Start with your head. Wiggle your eye brows. Open your jaw wide to release tension in your jaw. Roll your shoulders, take deep breaths. Clench and unclench your belly. Stretch your legs. Roll your feet around your ankles. Stand up and reach for the sky then try to touch your toes.

Once you know where you feel your stress, go there first when you notice you are stressed and consciously unclinch it. Then address why you feel it. What could I do about being late? I sent a text with a revised eta and they were fine with the new time.

I reviewed the activities that were the cause of the delay and realized I was too optimistic about how long it takes to get the family out of the house in the morning.

Lifetime pattern alert: I try to jam too much in the day, every day for decades. No breaks. Assume the traffic will be better than usual, that everyone including me will be on time, and if I think it will take 30 minutes, it can be done in 25.

I don’t need to unclinch my belly, I need to unclinch my thinking pattern about time. Oh boy, do I have work to do. I was scheduling more breaks for a couple of months, and I went back to my old pattern of jamming too much in. What about you?

This week, start with where you hold your stress and see where it leads you. What pattern do you need to change to unclinch your stress and enjoy your life a little bit more?


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