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how to work with your lower chakras to manage stress

As an energy therapist, I support people to heal from ailments past and present, conscious and unconscious, using chakras as guides, to overcome physical blocks. Each of our energy centres (chakras) correspond to a certain part of the body and phase of life. Different phases of life leave many of us wounded, but by acknowledging those wounds we can start to use them as attributes. Our chakras are a framework to think about our past and how much of it we are carrying with us, positive or negative.

Stress relates to the first three chakras since these are the ones where our shadows, or the darker sides of ourselves that we tend to repress. Here are a few chakra practices that I share with my clients to help them reframe stressful moments as opportunities to learn a little more about themselves and their tendencies.

The Base: Identify what kinds of stress makes you feel unsafe

The base chakra is body’s foundation and it develops in the first seven years of life. We might not remember too much from that time period, but its subconscious lessons follow many people into adulthood. The mostly unconscious tension we deal with in that time of our lives is attachment, which is necessary for survival and authenticity, which is expressing what's true for you. We want to feel safe and secure and part of a tribe. Some children quiet their desires in order to fit in and be safe so they give up a little part of themselves.

Moving into adulthood, that can lead to frustration, a lack of authenticity and a fair amount of stress about how you're being perceived in the world. For so many people, fears limit them from living that great, authentic life. It's a big one that drives stress because in adulthood we find ourselves in relationships or jobs we don't want to be in but are scared. It tends to be these unconscious fears that keep us in jobs or situations we don't want. That's the work of the Base Chakra.

Exercises for the base chakra:

Here are exercises for getting to the root of this chakra and overcoming childhood fears.

The next time you feel stressed, visualise yourself as a tree, with roots extending into the earth, anchoring you so you can stand stable, tall, and confident.

Journal on the question "Where do I sacrifice authenticity to feel safe?"

The Sacral: Rethink how you react to stress when you first feel it come on

The chakras build upon one another and the base speaks to our most basic and primitive needs like food and shelter, etc. The next chakra, the Sacral, is all about the need for emotional connection. It develops when we're 8 to 14 years old and just starting to recognise how we feel about others and how others make us feel about ourselves. When negative emotions about ourselves or others come up, it's human nature to want to silence them or run away. But the work of the sacral is sitting with feelings of shame, stress, or sadness. It's also about differentiating the emotions that belong to you from the ones that belong to others. When you can differentiate between your feelings and the feelings of others, that level of awareness will change your life. You won't need to change what other people are doing. It's a change that comes from within.

Exercises for the sacral chakra:

Mindfulness techniques like meditation can help you with this emotion-driven chakra.

For one day, keep a journal of every time you distracted yourself from a negative thought or feeling using food, social media, etc.

Try a "sit of determination," or a long meditation in which you don't move at all and instead just let itches or aches pass. Remember that stress also leaves the body eventually, just like these physical sensations do.

The Solar Plexus: Analyse the pressures from society that stress you out

The solar plexus is all about owning your personal power. Developed when we're 14 to 21 years old, this chakra relates to the stories that society tells us about the "right way" to be. It has some similar themes to the base chakra since it's another time in life when we shut down parts of ourselves to fit in. But in doing so, we're only really stressing ourselves out more.

Forging a healthier relationship with this chakra means accepting all sides of yourself, even those that you've deemed troublesome in the past. The theme of self-acceptance comes up. It's really a re-evaluation of who you are. Instead of thinking of these parts of ourselves as limitations, can we make them our gifts?

An exercise for the solar plexus chakra:

There's something beautiful in accepting your flaws, instead of working through them or pushing them away as we're often told. One way to do it is by spending a few minutes writing a "fix-it list" for yourself filled with qualities you don't like. Then, reframe each one as a positive. So, a perceived flaw like "I have trouble saying no to other people" becomes "I care about others so much and always try my best to make them happy." From that perspective, it's really nothing to stress about at all.

Abundance of self-love, acceptance and flow.


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