The words “feel better” mean different things to different people. For some it would mean having more energy, for others less pain, for others happier and less stressed out. We all have our own definition of what “feeling better” means. Often when we’re not feeling good we resort to habits such as eating chocolate, excessive exercise or other avoidance behaviours, which means the underlying “feeling bad” doesn’t go away.But feeling better can also mean "better feeling" - more able to feel, even the stuff we don't like.
“What does feeling better meant to you?”
I have observed over many years of working with people that what we tend to do is focus on what doesn’t work. Maybe it’s a British thing, I don’t know, but people tend to talk a lot about their bad back, their mother-in-law that just won’t shut up, their difficult boss and so on. After you’ve focussed on what really isn’t working for you most people tend to feel worse, wound up or irritable.
If however you shift your focus to the holiday you’ve just had that was wonderful, the new love in your life, your friends new baby, most people really start to feel better. Often your energy rises, your mood lifts, you feel different and you feel better.
So these are examples from how other people or things can change your mood or energy. But what can you do when it’s just you.
The secret is to find out what works in you so that you can put your focus inside of you. Then, any time of the day you can focus on somewhere in/on your body that makes you feel better.
Luckily there are some simple exercises that whatever your objective can help you.
Feel Better Exercise no 1.
So find a quiet space, ideally where you can lie down but if not, a seat with a good back support. Sit up straight and put your hands to your side. Become aware of your breath and how your body moves gently with the breath.
Place your hands, palms flat onto your upper chest (just below your collar bones) so that your hands are palm over palm. Bring your attention to your hands and focus on the sensations in this area. Notice how the area rises and falls with the breath. Ask yourself – how does this make me feel? Can I observe the movement in this area? How easy is it to stay focussed on this area?
Now place your hands over the soft spot in the midline of your thorax where your ribs come together. For ladies it’s just below the breasts. Again have your hands palm over palm. Observe - how does this make me feel? Can I observe the movement in this area? How easy is it to stay focussed on this area?
Then after you’ve done 5-6 breaths in the second area put your hands on your belly button and repeat the same process.
Now you’ve connected to 3 different areas on the front of your body. One of them will have been easy and one may have been harder. Most people can feel a difference and put the 3 positions into order of easy, ok and hard. It’s your body – choose the area that you felt gave you greatest ease.
Now how would it be to focus on that area for a while (with your hands there). Do you think you would start to feel better, more relaxed, more at ease?
Now pick the area that was most difficult and place your focus there. How would it be if you kept you focus on the area that was the biggest challenge and then tried to get your whole body to relax and go to a state of ease.
“Failure is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome”
What I recommend you do, is spend maybe 10 breathing cycles on the area that worked the best and observe what else changes in your body. Then check the area that was difficult. For many, by focussing on what works and what’s easy, the difficult area will change a bit with absolutely no effort.
This isn’t a quick fix. But spend 5 minutes a day doing this over a month and you will see a different.
“Did you attend the Stiff Upper Lip Class at school or the How to listen to my Body Class? ”
Personally, I think I missed the lessons at school on how to pay attention to what my body needs. I guess I was in the “stiff upper lip class” with all the other British. I’ve found over the years of teaching this technique that some people take to it really easily and get it. Others find it really difficult to notice the difference between the 3 areas. If you’re in that group – have patience. Even doing this exercise and just paying attention to the 3 areas will have a positive effect on your health. You just may take a while to notice. Our sub-conscious brain is
It’s never too late to listen to what your body needs. Start now.
Rachael Talbot is a Chiropractor and Wellness Educator. She is one of a limited number of facilitators of Somato Respiratory Integration in the UK.
Copyright Rachael Talbot, 2014