You are in a state of tension, stress, fear, worry or anxiety – and what is going on? Your shoulders rise naturally to protect the vulnerable throat and neck.
In many cultural traditions, the throat represents the center of creativity, self-expression and communication. It is also the conduit between your body and your mind, representing the connection between your thoughts and feelings. When you create more freedom in your throat and neck, you open up your ability to express yourself more effectively and generate a greater sense of confidence and well-being.
The musculature of the throat is incredibly complex and, in my opinion, magnificent – with all of its fine, intertwined connections that allow us such flexibility of movement. We often take this freedom of movement for granted until we are spending too many hours in front of the computer or dealing with high levels of stress. Then we certainly notice this tension in our throat, neck and shoulders.
While there isn’t a machine at the gym to exercise your neck and throat (I think I appreciate that) you can use your voice to release the tension in your throat and, really, your whole body. .
Here are some techniques you can try today (no need to sing!) To immediately reduce your stress levels.
1. Sigh like my Italian grandmother.
My great-grandmother was a wonder of efficiency and energy of 4’5 “. In the afternoon, when she allowed herself to rest for a while in her chair (usually while crocheting something), she repeatedly let out a deep sigh, back then I wondered why, but now I know she was releasing the tension in her body.
Take a deep ventral breath through your nose and allow yourself to sigh. (Bonus points for allowing any sound to come out with the sigh.) The long exhalation combined with the vibration of the “ah” sound triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and your body’s relaxation response.
If you’re trying to feel more relaxed before working with a client, entering a meeting, or relaxing at the end of the day, this is one of my favorite exercises.
2. Try the rant in a nutshell.
If you’ve read my e-book, Problem solving in 10 minutes, you discovered the creative problem-solving technique that I developed based on our very human tendency to worry and complain. Often times, what doesn’t worry us is something we care deeply about. Otherwise, we wouldn’t get upset!
This technique allows you to take solution-oriented action quickly, using whatever is bothering you as an access point. The result is a feeling of relief, clarity and more peace as you have given voice to your concerns. and addressed them in a powerful way.
A shortened version of this technique for simply releasing the tension and clearing your mind is called the One Word Rant. The word used in this technique is “why”. Why? Because this is the question we ask ourselves at the heart of our stress and our nervousness.
“Why is this happening?”
“Why are they doing / saying this?” “
“Why can’t I feel better?
When we allow ourselves to express our frustration in a safe, fast, and healthy way, the brain and body respond with a cascade of good-feeling hormones and neurotransmitters, like epinephrine and testosterone (yes, even for women) and we feel clearer and more focused.
The technique is simple, but you’ll want to be in a private or quiet location as it involves some vocalization. I’ve been known to do this in the car.
Ideally, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or wider, and semi-squat like a sumo wrestler. Throw your hands in the air above your head, take a deep breath and shout out loud “Why!” and proud.
Yes. I’m serious. I facilitated this in a group of about fifty leaders and the results were incredible. The simplicity of the “why” allowed the group to bond without having to explain or share many personal feelings that may have made them feel vulnerable. At the same time, this shared experience of making a loud noise together in unison raised the energy throughout the room. The group felt collectively heard and recognized.
The chemical cascade of hormones and endorphins that One Word Rant releases is simply wonderful. Usually this technique is more energizing than Italian grandma’s sigh, so I tend to use it if I’m having a frustrating day or need to boost my energy before speaking or a meeting. .
It’s also a fabulous tool to show your kids to help them learn to change their stress and their state of mind quickly, without much “talking” about it that can be hard for them to articulate or stressful to share. with a parent.
We lead busy lives and we need solutions quickly. Try one or both of these techniques this week to reduce your stress and keep growing.