Loosen Your Grip, Man

I’ve been saying this a lot lately — mostly to clients who are acting all graspy and tight. My chiropractor was stressin’ about his new relationship and I said, “Loosen your grip, man.”

I say it to myself all the time so I figured I’d better write about it. To prepare, I asked a client what this particular prescription did for her and she sent back a short essay. Shazam! See what happens when you let go? Hope you enjoy her response-

Loosen your grip, man.

Relax

Breathe

Step away

Let it go

It is not a question, request or threat. It is a command – but a cool one.

This is one of the most powerful tools I use. It connects directly to my ability to calm down physically and emotionally. It provides a mental picture of loosening my grip – either on a steering wheel or something I am holding with my hand. Sometimes I imagine my hand dropping something. Having that visual gives my brain a distraction – and snaps me out of my stress or fear or whatever for a split second. And that is usually enough to provide some relief or to ground myself a bit so I can look at what is bothering me from a more relaxed and peaceful place.

I usually take a deep breath when I hear that phrase. My hands relax; my shoulders sink. The “man” at the end sets the tone of beach, surfer, enjoy the day, mellow, vacation type of thing. And I can hear Wendy saying it – and she is a surfer, beach girl living in the land of perpetual sunshine and that also makes me relax because my brain associates Wendy with calm, support, peace and validation.

I like the steering wheel scenario best because it gets my mind going (in a good way). I see my hands on the steering wheel and feel them relaxing – then I think about enjoying the scenery or the song on the radio. I can feel the breeze or savor the quiet of the muted outside world. I want to experience joy on the journey – not squeeze it out because I am gripping the wheel and focusing on stressful thoughts. After all, it’s just a thought, man.   

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