Stress in the Body: Somatic Release Techniques

Apr 09, 2024

Studies have shown that stress-triggered emotions can become lodged in our bodies, leading to physical discomfort and even illness and disease. In this article, we’ll explore some somatic techniques for self-healing and how they can help us address these stored emotions and enhance our ability to process and diminish the effects stress can have on our bodies.

One powerful way to begin unpacking these stored emotions is through a guided process that helps you tune into where and how you store stress in your body. Start by identifying a common scenario that typically triggers a stress response in you. Start with a relatively simple and lightweight stress trigger, like traffic or running late for meetings, etc. before building up to heavier scenarios.

With eyes closed, vividly imagine this scenario unfolding in your mind. Allow yourself to fully experience the associated negative emotions, and simultaneously, pay attention to the physical sensations that arise in your body. These sensations might manifest as tension, tightness, or discomfort in specific areas. By observing these sensations with curiosity and without judgment, you can begin to unravel the emotional knots that have become lodged within you.

Then, imagine dissolving or at least softening the intensity of those physical responses to the emotions by imagining a warm light or a comforting hand soothing the area. Imagine infusing the area and then your whole body with a loving, caring, healing energy that brings with it a sense of peace and calm.

Other ways to lessen the effect stress can have on the body include any activity that helps us acutely tune into the physical sensations we are experiencing. This activates what Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness Training (PQ) ® refers to as the Sage part of the brain. Below are some modalities where you can apply this physical sensation focus technique to enhance your ability to manage and relieve the physical effects of stress.

1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping): This technique combines tapping on specific points of the body that align with acupuncture points with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to alleviate anxiety and stress. By acknowledging the negative emotion and repeating affirmations while tapping on key points of the body, you can release emotional blockages and restore balance.

2. Breathwork (Pranayama): Deep breathing exercises can help regulate the nervous system, promoting relaxation and emotional well-being. Techniques such as belly breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and box breathing can be powerful tools for calming the mind and body.

3. Massage/Roller: Self-massage or using a foam roller can help release physical tension and promote relaxation. By applying gentle pressure to tense muscles, you can alleviate discomfort and promote a sense of ease in the body.

4. Mindful Movement: Engaging in activities such as walking, running, swimming, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can help reconnect you with your body and cultivate a sense of presence. These practices encourage mindful awareness of bodily sensations, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.

5. Water Activities: Any time you are engaging with water (swimming, showering, or soaking in a bath/jacuzzi, or even a cold plunge or washing your hands) provides an opportunity to practice PQ. Focus on the sensation as the water hits your skin or as you move through it.

6. Sound Bath or Humming: Tuning into soothing sounds or vibrations can help calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. Whether through listening to calming music, practicing chanting, or simply humming softly, sound therapy can be a valuable tool for self-soothing.

Practice Tips:
• Be fully present and attentive to physical sensations during somatic techniques.
• Use positive affirmations or labeling to stay grounded and present.
• Experiment with different techniques to discover what works best for you.

Exploring somatic techniques for self-healing can be a transformative journey toward releasing stored emotions and promoting emotional well-being. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate greater resilience and psychological flexibility, empowering yourself to navigate life's challenges with grace and ease.