Red and Green Flags: Identifying Danger and Safety

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

It’s so important to be vigilant of your surroundings and to pay attention to how you and your body respond (or react) to certain spaces, people, or actions. You may not realize it, but your body usually sends signals to let you know how it is perceiving the environment or interactions with others. For example, if you are in a stressful situation you may experience a “gut” feeling, anxiety, or increased heart rate. If you are in a nurturing environment, you may experience a sense of calm, relaxation, or decreased heart rate.

Here are some examples of red flags (signs of danger) and green flags (signs of safety) around you.

A Few Red Flags

  • avoidance behaviors
  • not using healthy coping skills
  • constant irritability
  • not setting or maintaining boundaries with others
  • feeling overwhelmed when around certain people or in certain places
  • lying to others
  • isolation

A Few Green Flags

  • practicing healthy coping skills
  • practicing self-care
  • taking care of your physical and emotional health
  • connecting with loved ones
  • healthy socialization
  • having a positive outlook
  • healthy emotion regulation

Were any of these flags new for you?

Which of these flags are you most aware of?

~ Karisse C

Breathwork As A Grounding Practice

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I started practicing yoga and meditation I turned to my breath as a guide for connecting with my body. Sometimes it’s not always easy to focus on my breathing and to be honest, sometimes it’s really uncomfortable and it causes some anxiety. In those moments, I recognize what I am experiencing and I just allow myself to do what feels best for me in that moment. I mention this because there is a misconception that breathwork is comfortable for everyone and that’s not necessarily true every time.

When I feel overwhelmed or just want to feel centered, I enjoy turning toward a breathwork practice. When I connect with my breath, it allows me to slow down my mind and body and to turn inward so I can listen to whatever comes up.

Last year, I wanted to deepen my understanding of breathwork so I started reading more about it. I discovered the work of Ashley Neese and bought her book, How to Breathe and it is an incredible resource! I enjoy the way she structured the book into 25 simple practices. Some topics include: pain relief, anger, boundaries, connection, sadness, self-healing, unwind, joy, gratitude, and letting-go just to name a few! I want to share one of her practices on Letting Go:

The Practice (p. 100)

Stand up tall with your feet hip distance apart

Put a slight bend in your knees and let your arms rest at your sides

Set your practice intention

Take a few cycles of breath through the nose to settle in

Inhale deeply while raising your arms up toward the sky

Hinge at your hips and release your arms down to the ground, bending your knees as you exhale a giant sigh through your open mouth

Repeat this ten times, being sure to inhale and sigh as deeply as possible

Rest for a few moments and notice how you fee

Close your practice

Journal

Another breathwork resource is Alex Elle. I’m a fan of all things Alex Elle related (books, journals, writing practices) and now she shares breathwork practices – yay! Check out her first guided breathwork practice: Being in Progress

Do you practice any breathwork? If so, how do you feel before and after? Do you find breathwork to be a helpful grounding practice?

~ Karisse C

Try This Morning Walk Practice

“feet on the ground, eyes to the sky” | Libby DeLana

I recently came across Libby DeLana on Instagram and I was so drawn into her words, pictures and story, so I bought her book, Do Walk: Navigate Earth Mind and Body. Step by Step.

I usually take a walk every morning with my dog, however after reading Libby’s book my morning walks have been more meaningful. While I usually listen to a podcast or practice mindfulness on my walks, I now find myself paying even closer attention to my surroundings. I’ve also started thinking of two words to reflect on during my walk. For example, I may decide to focus on rest and nurture, so during my walk, I would think about what these words mean to me and how I can fully embrace those words just for that day. Sometimes, the words come to me on my walk and those are really precious moments.

Next time you are out on your morning (or evening) walk, try this practice:

  • Set an intention to walk with natural curiosity and pay close attention to your surroundings.
  • Notice how you feel in your body as you walk
  • Approach the walk with a beginner’s mind. Remind yourself that this is the first time you are encountering this walk – you have never done this walk, on this day, and this time before
  • Notice what naturally arises for you as you walk: thoughts, emotions, memories, sensations

Here are some quotes from Libby’s book that I will hold on to:

Even if many of the variables are the same, each walk is wildly and beautifully different. Every walk brings a new story, a new lesson, a new view and an opportunity to understand the world in a unique way.”

A good reminder: feet on the ground, eyes to the sky.”

On your walk, remember to relax and tap into all of your senses.”

It is only when we are well rested, clear headed and open to what is coming next that our life becomes a true reflection of what we want it to be. Walking is the perfect way to get there, by exploring the world and allowing space for dreaming bigger.”

Tell me about your morning walks – I’d love to hear about what it’s like when you step out for a walk. Send me a note by email or on Instagram!

~ Karisse C

Trusting Yourself: A Guided Practice

Enjoy this short guided practice on trusting yourself. Notice what comes up for you as you engage in this practice and reflect on these journal prompts after:

  • what happens when you trust yourself?
  • when do you trust yourself the most?
  • what do you need to trust yourself more?

~ Karisse C

Four Ways to Meet Your Needs

Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto on Pexels.com

I read Dr Rick Hanson’s book, Resilient, a few months ago and I occasionally browse it for personal motivation. Recently I found myself drawing more from his book especially during stressful times. According to Dr. Hanson, we have three basic needs (safety, satisfaction, connection) and we meet these needs in 4 ways (which I’ll call the 4 Rs):

  • recognizing what’s true (using mindfulness, compassion, and learning)
  • resourcing ourselves (through grit, gratitude, and confidence)
  • regulating our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (with calm, motivation, intimacy)
  • relating skillfully in interactions with others and our community (through courage, aspiration, generosity)

Here are some reflection prompts for each of the 4 Rs to help you engage in deeper processing around each way you can meet your safety, satisfaction, and connection needs.

Recognizing what’s true:

  • how can you use a mindfulness practice to be more aware of your surroundings and needs?
  • how can you practice self-compassion during times of suffering or difficulty?
  • what new information can you learn to enrich your life and experiences?

Resourcing ourselves

  • how can you improve your sense of agency to refuel grit and improve life satisfaction?
  • how can you use gratitude as a way to improve the connection you have with yourself and others?
  • how can confidence help you to feel secure and safe in your sense of being?

Regulating our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

  • what are some accessible and realistic calming practices you can implement throughout your day to increase emotional safety?
  • make a list of your sources of motivation and how motivation is related to life satisfaction
  • what is the connection between intimacy and connection in your life?

Relating skillfully in interactions with others and our community

  • how can you use courage to build healthy and meaningful connections with others?
  • what aspirations do you have around life satisfaction?
  • how can you practice safety when being generous?

Keep a journal to document how you are meeting your needs and how the quality of your needs may change over time.

~ Karisse C