Each person has a unique set of reactions to emotional upsets, and getting to know your own tendencies can be a crucial first step in learning how to unlock the stories holding you back, and rewriting your mind.
Think about a recent upset in your life - how did you feel, physically? Was your stomach upset? Did your head hurt? Maybe your face got warm, or your jaw got tight. These are all indications that something's not quite right in your world. Paying attention to these signs can lead you to look deeper and increase your self-awareness.
Individually, these discomforts may be small, but when taken together, they can easily throw you off balance and impede your decision making process - even if you don't quite know why, you just don't feel right. Maybe you're edgy or tense, feel stressed, maybe you are short-tempered, maybe you feel unusually tired or unfocused. The list below will help you identify some of your unique patterns, so that you can be more ready to identify them when they appear. It's not a complete list - add your own reactions as you notice them!
__Flushed face, neck, chest
__Rapid pulse/heat beat
__Chest tight - trouble breathing regularly
__Shallow breaths - panting
__Deep gasping breaths
__Stomach upset, queasy
__Shaking or trembling hands
__Erratic, jerky movements
__Rapid tapping - feet, fingers, nails
__Wringing your hands
HOW TO USE THIS LIST
Think of this as an information-gathering process. So, for example, if you notice that when you experience an upset, your breathing tends to become labored and irregular, then you can deduce that learning some breathing techniques could help you right away.
If you feel comfortable, check with your close friends and family - they can often help you observe your own behavior: my mother would push my shoulders down with her fingers when she noticed them up around my ears. To this day, I still tap my own shoulders when I feel myself getting tense.
If you discover that you tense your jaw and clench your teeth when upset, then making a conscious effort to relax your your jawline can impact your facial expressions and ultimately your mood.
Many of our movements (tapping, playing with hair or jewelry, cracking our knuckles, scratching or picking) are so automatic for us that it takes an extraordinary effort (at first) to catch ourselves. But the effort can be worth it, if we follow up by digging to uncover the emotions that may be triggering the reactions and behaviors.