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TSM Hand and Fist Practice

In this short, guided practice, you’ll explore a different way of relating to signs of nervous system dysregulation, with friendliness and care.
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MUSIC PLAYING One way to start relating to nervous system dysregulation is a short, embodied practice, which I invite you to try with me now. So, beginning by closing your eyes or lowering your gaze for a moment, and just sensing into the body sitting– contact of the feet with the floor, sense of your seat on the chair. Arriving into the body, and then opening the eyes if they’ve been closed. And I’m going to invite you now to take one hand and hold it closed in a fist like this. And I’d like you to imagine that your very safety depends on this hand staying closed.
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And now with your other hand, I’d like you to experiment with trying to open this fist, the fist that’s staying closed in order to protect your safety.
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And just notice what that’s like.
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Notice what happens in the fist, in the body, in the breath.
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And now letting that go, maybe sensing back into the body once again as you sit here. And then closing this hand once more, this hand that’s staying closed in order to look after your safety, and this time taking this hand, and imagining that this hand is full of warmth and care and acceptance. And then placing this hand around your closed fist and holding it gently.
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Holding it gently, giving it care, giving it support.
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Just noticing what that’s like.
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And then you might even, with this hand that’s full of warmth and care and acceptance, just help this other hand to stay closed, really supporting it to stay closed. It’s here to help.
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And just noticing what that is like.
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And then, very gently, when you feel ready, releasing it, and just tuning back in for a moment into body and breath, sitting in your seat. When we fight the nervous system, it fights back harder. Trying desperately to unclench your hand often only results in the hand clenching more firmly. This struggle will often feel in itself quite agitating. What if, instead, we were to begin to recognise and honour the wisdom of the nervous system, the way in which it is doing its very best to protect us and keep us safe?
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When we offer it a sense of care and holding, this deep, ancient part of mind and body can start to realise that it’s not alone and that it doesn’t have to do all the work by itself to keep us safe. The mindfulness practices I’ll be offering are designed to help you notice what’s happening in your mind and body in any given moment, with some care and friendliness, and recognise when you’re being pushed outside your window of tolerance. What you find may surprise you. You may discover that in some ways, you’re doing really quite well, and that in others, you need more support.
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Above all, when we’re able to spot our experience unfolding in real time, we’re much better able to respond in ways that interrupt spirals of hyper- or hypoarousal. These practices are not a substitute for trauma treatment, but they will build up your resources. See them as an experiment and a source of useful information about yourself, your own nervous system regulation, and how the latter shifts and changes over time. This will be invaluable as a guide for your self care and for the ways in which you might seek out further support. See how you get on.

When we are stressed and dysregulated, we often struggle and push back against our own experience. This can often have the effect of making it more unpleasant.

In this short, guided practice, you’ll explore a different way of relating to signs of nervous system dysregulation, with friendliness and care.

Notice what difference this makes, and how you might bring in this new way of relating to your experience in the coming weeks.

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