I cross my arms. Do you? Growing up, I was told I shouldn’t fold my arms across my chest because others would interpret it as being defensive. I really tried NOT to fold my arms. It became something of a “body stutter.” I’d realize my arms were folded, unfold them, place them in my lap, hold them at my sides, fold them again, think others were judging me, and go through the process all over again. Little did I know I was having a dialogue with my body.
Are you a doodler? Do you cross your ankles? Clasp your hands? No matter where you find your limbs, rest assured you’re answering an energetic request from your body. The body asks for help and naturally assumes a position it knows to be most restorative. Let’s explore what messages our bodies have for us.
Doodlers, keep up the good work! Each time you doodle those swirly figure-eight patterns, you’re strengthening crossover patterns that help balance energy and clear thinking.
Ankle crossers and hand claspers, way to go! You’re crossing several of your energetic pathways and helping keep your energy “tucked in” so you can think more clearly. I do this consciously when I need to reinforce that feeling in a heart-to-heart with a family member or during a meeting with my boss, and no one is the wiser.
When I met Donna Eden, world-renowned energy healer, she and her methods changed my life for the better. During this journey, I came to realize that the body is always telling us something. It asks and answers its own needs.
I learned of two different body systems. One is responsible for the three F’s: fight, flight, and freeze. We call it Triple Warmer. The other, called Spleen, is a caretaker and metabolizer of our food, thoughts, and emotions.
Triple Warmer, in its mission to keep us safe, is what I call an “energy guzzler.” Always on the go and often over-energized, it looks to Spleen to get more energy. Spleen, always willing to lend a hand, gives what’s needed without regard to itself and is therefore often depleted. Moms, does this scenario sound familiar? We’d be wise to help balance out these two systems before either one of them (or us) burns out.
Maybe you’ve noticed when someone receives shocking news—their hand quickly covers their mouth, heart, or forehead. These are all answers to a request from the body.
Let’s focus on the forehead. Under stress, our bodies have the wisdom to shut down unnecessary systems and divert blood flow to critical systems. In this case, blood leaves our forebrain (where rational thought lives) and flows to our arms and legs so we can run, hide, or freeze, and hope not to be seen by the “big ferocious tiger.”
But sometimes that ferocious tiger is only a thought. “Oh no! I forgot to pick up fruit on my way home.” “Dang it! I just dropped my keys.” Or, my personal favorite, worrying about the what-ifs and the should-haves of yesterday.
Let’s face it, we’d get out of sticky situations a lot faster if we could keep our wits about us. Simply by holding our foreheads, we help answer the need to keep blood in our forebrains so we can think rationally.
Want to practice? Think of one thing that upsets you. Aim for a mild upset. Pick something you might rate a four or five on a 10-point scale where 10 is highly upsetting. Now, using your whole hand, hold one hand on your forehead and the other hand on the back of your head opposite the first hand. (If this position is too difficult, put your fingers of both hands on your forehead above your eyes and your thumbs at your temples).
Now think of the upset you chose earlier. After two minutes of holding, check back in. Did your mind wander? That’s a good thing! Did your number decrease? Great! Not yet at a zero? Try it a few more minutes and see if you can bring the number down another notch. If your number increased, check in with yourself. Did you pick just one upset or go for the bundle package? Sort that out and try again. If you’re anything like my clients, they’re surprised that such a simple exercise can relieve their stress so easily.
Did you think I forgot about my fellow crossed-arm folders? No way! Imagine my happiness the day I learned the Triple Warmer/Spleen Hug. By placing one hand on the opposite ribcage and the other hand on the outside of the opposite arm just above the elbow, we’re effectively calming Triple Warmer and strengthening Spleen, bringing them into balance. I now stand with my arms crossed knowing I’m helping my body, mind, and spirit.
Congratulations! You’ve just learned two of many exercises to successfully manage stress. Take a moment and notice. Notice your Self. What are you feeling? Where are your hands? Thank them, knowing they’re answering the call of your body.
Want to learn more? Diane McKeon is an Advanced Practitioner of Eden Energy Medicine. She offers energy sessions at Wave of Life Chiropractic, 4640 Shore Drive, #108, Virginia Beach. Want to learn with friends? Organize a group and she’ll teach a class in your location. Diane enjoys helping others find balance in body, mind, and spirit through Eden Energy Medicine. Visit www.dianeshands.com.