OH NO, my Inner Squirrel is running the show again! My mind is racing and my body feels like running in a million different directions.
Fortunately for me I’ve been taught a few more super-easy, mind-stilling body exercises that can bring me back to a calm and focused state and here they are:
HOOK-UPS*– You can either follow these instructions or you go straight to the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dap-9fNt7uU
-You can do these standing, sitting or lying down but will gain the most if you are able to stand (not everyone can – they’ll keel over).
-Cross one ankle over the other
-Cross, clasp and invert your hands by stretching your arms out in front of you, with the back of your hands together and the thumbs pointing down.
-Lift one hand over the other, palms facing and interlock the fingers.
-Roll the locked hands straight down and in towards the body so that they eventually rest on the chest with the elbows down
-Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of the mouth behind your front teeth
-As long as it’s ok with you, close your eyes and balance for 2 – 5 min.
(You may notice yourself sighing. This is a sign that the squirrel is giving up and calmness is on its way!)
POSITIVE POINTS* – This is my all-time favourite as it reminds me of when my mom used to soothe me by putting the palm of her hand on my forehead.
-Just simply put the palm of your hand on your forehead and leave it there, with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
(Again, the squirrel may give a sigh or two with this one)
*These are “Brain Gym” exercises
HORSE LIPS – With your lips nice and loose blow air through them just like a horse would. That’s all there is to it.
(Squirrels who do this together have been known to laugh together.)
Want to know some of the science behind this?
You may have thought you had one brain, but inside you have two more. The first brain (called by different names including Instinctive, Reptilian and Old Brain) we share with birds and reptiles. It is responsible for survival and the many mechanisms that keep us alive. The second brain (also called Mid, Emotional, Limbic and Mammalian Brain) we share with older mammals like dogs, cats, mice and horses. This processes memory and emotion. The third brain (called Thinking, Neocortex and New Brain) is something we share only with primates (monkeys, gorillas etc.) It gives us the ability to plan and helps us have complex social interactions. When we are stressed it’s the first brain that is running the show and we are in survival mode! The following exercises to the rescue:
Hook-Ups – They decrease adrenaline production by bringing attention away from the survival centers of the 1st brain. The crossover action balances and activates the sensory and motor parts of each hemisphere of the 3rd brain and placing your tongue on the roof or your mouth brings attention to the 2nd brain which is just above the roof of your mouth. Everything together connects the emotions in the 2nd brain to the reason in the 3rd brain and the squirrel can calm down.
Positive Points – They help us access the 3rd Brain to balance stress around specific memories stored in the 2nd brain around situations, people, places and skills.
Horse Lips – They help loosen the tension around the lips which in turn relaxes the 1st brain.