Professional card players watch for "tells" that indicate an opponent's hand. These tells might be as simple as a tiny eyebrow twitch or widening of a nostril. Our bodies are constantly giving us "tells" about how we are feeling and thinking. Clenched teeth or hunched shoulders are common responses to stress. Mood disturbances can result in tight muscles, wrinkled brows or slumped posture. Chronic attitudes and postures can manifest holding patterns that we don't notice until our attention is drawn by the physical pain they eventually create.
Many wise persons have asserted that resistance is the cause of suffering. Ironically we often try to protect ourselves from hurt by tightening into resistance of whatever it is we fear. Before we were taught otherwise, most of us initially approached the world with curiosity and wonder. How do we bring ourselves back to a more fluid and relaxed state that allows us better harmony with the world and ourselves?
While the practice of disciplines such as yoga, meditation, exercise, Qigong, journaling, recovery programs, music and dance are wonderful tools to help keep us balanced in body, mind and spirit, they can take time to manifest the desired effects. For a more immediate shift, see if you can become aware of your resistance patterns and make different choices right in the moment they occur. If you are holding your breath, make a deep exhale. If your hands are clenched, open them. If you catch yourself thinking a limiting thought, choose a different one. Change doesn't have to happen slowly; it can happen as fast as you change your thought and action. And while it does take repetition to create a new habit (ie, to store the new behavior in unconscious response mode), paying attention and making conscious choices in the moment allows real change that you can build upon.
New thoughts and behaviors might include:
I receive support from the ground, allowing the flow of energy through me
I ungrip my shoulder muscles
The movement of my breath passes through unrestricted
I relax my jaw
I am open to movement potential (you can either hold or you can move, but you can't to do both at the same time)
When I find myself donning armor of resistance out of anger or fear, I notice and let it go
I allow rather than try to force
I approach situations with curiosity rather than anticipation of a negative outcome
I can choose to be my true self in any situation
When you catch yourself in an act of resistance, don't scold, just choose another way of being in that moment. Often if you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing will happen by itself. If you stop squeezing your shoulders, they will relax. If you stop holding your breath, air will move in and out. Becoming aware of unconscious patterns of resistance and letting them go allows more for comfort, and can bring more ease to the many roles you take on in your life.