When we feel overwhelmed or are having a moment of suffering it’s easy to turn to a glass of wine, some chocolate, zone out on netflix, or call up a friend or partner. But what if we could learn to soothe ourselves without the reliance on something external? We can gain some control over our emotional experiences and learn to ride the natural wave, the ebb and flow, of our emotions.
Here’s a simple technique to try that requires only YOU and your BODY.
Place one hand (or even both hands) on your chest. As you place your hand on your chest notice your breath, the rise and fall of your chest, the warmth of your body, and stay like that until you notice a shift in your emotional state. This could be immediate or take a few minutes. Remember to breathe.
That’s it, it’s that simple.
Why does this work?
Our skin is an incredibly sensitive organ, placing your hands on your chest has a similar physiological response to someone giving us a hug. It releases oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) and reduces cortisol (the stress-hormone). Hands-on healing has been used therapeutically since the earliest of times. Whether they realized it or not, our ancestors were tapping into their mammalian care-giving system using touch.
So take a minute after reading this and place your hand on your chest, see what you notice.