A friend of mine had always had nice teeth. As a teenager, every time she’d visit the dentist, they’d peer inside her mouth and exclaim over here fine, straight, white teeth. Until recently, when all that changed.
The last time that friend of mine went to the dentist, it took about two seconds of glancing inside her mouth for the dentist to say: Oh, you’re a clencher. The stress my friend had been feeling had manifested itself physically; she was in the middle of a move and job change, and it had her wound so tightly, she’d expressed the stress by clenching her teeth. Before that point, it had never occurred to her that stress could cause cavities in her teeth and her (otherwise perfectly healthy) gums to wear away.
That’s the thing about emotions: Though they seem abstract and intangible, they all make their marks upon us. In one study, scientists found that a group of people suffering from chronic headaches were greatly influenced by stress. And it’s this idea—emotions experienced physically—that I’ve based my Emotional Reset Method on after studying the concept with my mentor, Dr. Coletta Long.
It’s a five-step, five-minute process, but it’s the key I’ve used time and time again to rid my mind—and my body—of stress and anxiety.
The thing is, most of my life I felt a lot of stress. A need to be “the good girl”, do everything perfectly, and create massive success in my life so that I could make a difference in the world. I felt this way from as little as 9 years old. Little did I know, my thought process was completely off and causing so much stress in my life that it took a series of events to wake me up. First a pain in my right shoulder that felt like the weight of the world sitting on it, then a car accident that added neck and back pain to the list, and then an attempted break in. The events led to an indescribable amount of fear and anxiety. Sleepless nights and an ongoing fear of survival forced me to find a sense of security within myself. There was no longer anything or anyone to find security in. With a feeling of desperation, I reached out to Dr. Long to guide me how to take back charge of my life.
While it was a series of traumatic events that led me to discover how our emotions affect our bodies, the Emotional Reset Method works on anything from trauma to fatigue.
1. The first step is to stop, sit still, and to breath deeply into your belly. Before you can discover where you’re carrying your emotions, you need to ground yourself in your body. Deep breathing allows you to do so.
2. Next, ask yourself: What am I feeling? Don’t be self-critical at this point; just let yourself feel, and be honest about it. Maybe you’re feeling anxious. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s just pure, unadulterated exhaustion. Let yourself feel it, and name it aloud.
3. The third step is to identify where you’re feeling it. If at this point you’re like huh? then consider this: Have you ever felt your chest tighten with worry? Or felt like an elephant is sitting on you, crushing the air from your lungs? That’s emotion making its presence known physically. Find out where that place is in your body.
4. Next, you need to put a face to this feeling. For some, it’s easiest to describe it as a color. Then throw out adjectives or associations—once again, don’t edit yourself. Just say whatever comes to mind.
5. Once you’ve named your feeling, located it in your body, and unmasked it with description, you’re ready to release it. Take a deep breath, then picture yourself pushing it out of you. Do you feel it crawling it back up your throat and out of your body like a dark cloud? Do you feel it pushing out of your finger tips? Picture it leaving you, and imagine the emotional block inside you dissolving.
And that, my friends, is the emotional reset method. It’s simple, it’s easy to remember, and most importantly, it’s effective. I tried it recently with another friend of mine, whose pain was manifesting itself in her chest. I asked her to describe it, and she identified it as the color black. I told her to share what she associated with it, and she said, “Fear, work, anxiety, hurt, difficulty, lack of time.” I then guided her to push that black energy out and away. Five minutes after we’d started, she told me she felt peaceful and serene. The anxiety over her fear of fear of failure at work was calmed, and she was able to use the technique going forward, anytime she began to feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes just calling attention to the fact that emotions are affecting us physically can make a big difference. While the teeth clencher hasn’t fully given up her bad habit, knowing that it’s caused by stress has made her more aware of her body. When she starts to feel stressed, she pays more attention to her jaw. When she notices she’s clenching her teeth, she asks herself, What am I feeling? And why? Being aware is the first step in managing your emotions.
Sometimes just calling attention to the fact that emotions are affecting us physically can make a big difference. Being aware is the first step in managing your emotions. @RobinEmmerich (Click to Tweet!)
The Emotional Reset Method doesn’t have to take a long time to change how you’re feeling; it’s a reset, and it should be used as such.
The next time your boss is breathing down your neck and you can’t stop clenching your fists or the next time you’ve got a big project coming up and you’ve got a stomach ache that won’t go away, do me a favor. Find a quiet space—even a bathroom stall at your office will suffice—take a deep breath, and try the Emotional Reset Method. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Robin Emmerich has spent close to a decade coaching some of the most successful women in business. Even with their considerable success, the common denominator is that as much as they seemed to be cruising through life on the outside, they were melting on the inside. It’s why Robin just launched Beauty and the Mess—an athleisure brand creating a sisterhood who understands that life is messy and difficult and challenging, but together, can find the strength to prioritize passion over perfection and fearlessly seek beauty in their everyday lives. She currently offers the CIJourney online course, based on the famed Stanford Masters Degree Course, ‘Creativity in Business,’ individual coaching and worldwide retreats. Connect with Robin at robinemmerich.com on Instagram, or beautyandthemess.com.