Laura’s journey with Pendulation

This week we have another blog post from our Community Correspondent, Laura. Read on to hear her advice on how to cope with anxieties and worries in these uncertain times, and her thoughts on the word ‘pendulation.’
By the time you are reading this, it will be Christmas Eve, and we are fast approaching 2022. This, alongside the fact that we are still navigating Covid, it may seem like it’s all bells and whistles. The pressures can be overwhelming in all sorts of ways, from trauma due to the loss of loved ones and your heart aching for them, to feeling isolated and lonely, or feeling like you’re a burden (Even though, deep down you know you are not).
Maybe of your tasks may feel unthinkable because your anxiety is on overtime. I would recommend you take at my latest blog about ‘Equanimity’.
Another word I came across while navigating myself through my Journey, is ‘Pendulation’, a word and practice for learning to sit in uncomfortable feelings. It involves alternating your attention between feelings of safety and feelings of distress as they are experienced in your body. In the paragraph below, I will lead you through an exercise on ‘Pendulation’.
  1. So, let’s begin with a safe environment. When you are ready, choose a recent distressing event to think about – It can be a small event or something deeper that took you out your window of tolerance. Now mindfully see how your body is responding to your emotions and see where in your body you feel tension or discomfort. Now breathe with the sensations for a few breaths.
  2. Now choose a word for the distress and link the feeling to the sensation. Some examples could be the emotion of anger, linked to the sensation of feeling hot.  Just let your feelings flow, and if you start feeling uncomfortable, just let it be and go back and try again.
  3. As you breathe, check in with what areas of yourself feel relaxed, calm and at peace. Maybe your heart, feet, ears etc. If you are unable to detect a positive, try and find a neutral feeling and again, breathe with it for a few moments.
  4. Choose a descriptive word for your calm and neutral feelings. Maybe the words can be a colour or maybe an image. Internalise those words with those sensations in your body.
  5. If you feel comfortable doing so, alternate back and forth between the uncomfortable/distressing feelings and the comfortable/calm feelings. Notice any new sensations like your breathing getting deeper.
  6. Now you may want to finish with a sigh or an urge to shake parts of your body. This is your body releasing some of the trauma that was being held and trapped; Let it go!.
If this is new to you, as it was to me, don’t worry! It takes practise. Remember that you are reliving the things that cause you the most stress, so make sure that you dismiss any silly or negative thoughts you may have about yourself while doing this exercise. It is real to you and it is your path to staying within the window of tolerance.
Make ‘Pendulation’ your new super power and you will begin to be able to calmly swing from distress to calm and back again.
Thank you for reading and may all your growth be positive and enlightening. Remember you can post comments. It would be great if you have any tips to share.

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