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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Before You Lose Your Cool, Try This

When we are super stressed, we may feel out of control. There is a way to get back in the driver’s seat, says Julie Potiker, a certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher from the University of California. It’s called SNAP. Potiker details the method in her book SNAP! From Chaos to Calm, and outlines the basics here: 

Soothing Touch—When you feel stress, where does it show up in your body? Place your hand on your heart, face, arms, belly, or in your other hand to find your body’s soothing touch location. The release of oxytocin and endorphins will help calm your nervous system.

Name the Emotion—Name it to tame it, so that you can feel it to heal it. Naming the emotion engages your thinking brain to help you calm down when you are feeling overwhelmed. Then you can apply one of the many appropriate mindful methods to help you feel better.

Act—Ask the ultimate Mindful Self-Compassion question: “What do I need right now?” Then do what reasonably can be done with what you’ve got in the moment. For example:

• Try controlling your breathing, making your exhale longer than your inhale to lower blood pressure and slow heart rate.

• Try dropping your attention to the soles of your feet as you control your breathing to slow the whole show down.

• Stay focused on your body and your breathing. Breathe in compassion for yourself because it’s so difficult, and breathe out compassion for them because they are suffering (even if their behavior might be disturbing).

Praise —Thank your practice for helping you manage the stress. Thank yourself for showing up day after day, trying to do your best. Thank the universe, or your spirit of choice, for giving you the strength and courage to keep on keeping on.

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