Overcome Overwhelm: Biohack (2 of 3) to Break the Cycle of Stress
Last week I wrote about belly breathing to break the cycle of stress. It’s really the most effective way. And yet, it can be SO hard to get into the habit! That’s because for most of us we’ve been improperly breathing up in our chests since childhood. Once upon a time you did breath down in the depths of your belly. Watch any baby breath if you don’t believe me!
This week I’m going to teach you how to sooth your nervous system using your ears.
Yep, ear massage.
You’ve probably heard the word “reflexology”. It’s the idea that massaging specific points on your hands and feet affects other places on your body. Your ears also have points that correspond to the entire rest of your body!
To help this become more real picture one of your ears. Now, picture an upside-down fetus. Finally, put the two images together so that the head of the fetus corresponds with your own earlobe. This will give you an idea of what points on your ear affects other places on your body.
For instance, your earlobe has points that correspond to your head. But don’t just take my word for it, test it out…
Place your thumbs on the back of your earlobes and your index and middle fingers on the fronts. Beginning closest to your head, gently squeeze your earlobes as you work you way out and up for a few seconds.
Now, find the little hollow area just above the earlobe. Go up onto that little ridge of cartilage just to the outside of the hollow and massage there to sooth your brain.
As you continue massaging up the ridge, your helping your neck and spine…so keep working your way up.
Next, place your index fingers into the hollow just above the earlobes, gently press in, and make tiny circles. This will help to open your chest, which means your heart and lungs will open more.
From there you can play in the area that corresponds to your digestive organs by moving up the hollow part and around the bend.
Moving up even farther, find the little triangular hollow at the top of the ear close to your head. Give that point a few squeezes and your mind will calm.
Travel back down to the earlobes. Grasp them gently and roll them back and forth between your thumb and index fingers. Continue to use a gentle pinch-and-roll movement as you gradually work your way up and around the outside of your ears. Once you get to where the ear folds over and meets the head find the little flap of cartilage and fold it in to cover the ear canal. Do this a couple times.
Move off the ear and give a little love to your face by doing a few gentle circles on your temples. Travel down over your cheekbones, onto your jaw and continue moving in little circles toward the bottom corners of your jaw.
Release stored tension.
Now, take all four fingers of each hand, plant them on your head (just above the ear), and without letting them glide anywhere, move them firmly in little circles. After a few rotations move your hands a little lower, just behind the ear and do the same thing. Move a little lower once more, behind and below your ears, and make those same circular rotations.
If you get tension headaches or migraines this is huge!
Next, interlace your fingers and put them on the back of your neck. Press your fingers into the back of your neck as firmly or as gently as feels good right now, and then gradually move down, giving each vertebra some attention.
At the tops of your shoulders, grab your trapezius muscles and give them a little lift-and-squeeze.
Feels so good, right?!
Let your arms relax down by your sides.
Take a deep breath in, bring your shoulders up towards your ears. Let out an audible exhale from your mouth and drop your shoulders. Now…notice.
How do you feel?
Often when we are stressed, heat rises to the head. This extra heat, extra energy, causes the neck and shoulders to tighten. Massage these areas anytime you need to release tension.
What’s really cool is that it’s a form of biofeedback. When your muscles relax, your nervous system gets the message that there is no emergency and that it’s OK to calm down!
Biohack #3 to Break the Cycle of Stress Coming Soon!
p.s. There’s no right or wrong way to massage your ears, face, neck, and shoulders! Just do what feels good.
Free Guided Meditations added to the Ombrella Facebook page every week!