A Core Reset for When You’re Feeling Stuck or Small
Dec 17, 2023
And now, here's a fantastic guest article from friend and OS Instructor Sarah Young.
“I have a secret: I make myself big. Before I go into the room, I find somewhere private, I stand up on my tiptoes, put my arms in the air, and make myself as big as possible to feel my own power.” -Rebecca (Ted Lasso, S02E05 Rainbow)
Yes, the above words were spoken by a fictional character, Rebecca (brilliantly portrayed by Hannah Waddingham), on a show based on a fictional coach, Ted Lasso (it’s an amazing show btw). Still, I’m here to tell you there’s solid wisdom in those scripted words.
On the show, Rebecca (the character with a wonderful story arc) uses this Get Big exercise before important meetings to calm her anxieties. She even adds a growl to more fiercely feel her own power. Here she is in action.
And Getting Big works! That’s why superheroes stand tall with their hands on their hips. It helps them tap into their power.
There’s even a book, Presence by Amy Cuddy, that delves into the links between a person’s posture and their ability to “bring their boldest self to their biggest challenges.” It’s a really good read.
How we feel is reflected in our posture and influences how we’re able to present ourselves to the world. When we feel safe —when we feel good — we’re able to show up more fully. When we don’t feel safe, it’s hard to feel good. It’s hard to show up for life and be wholly present.
When we’re under stress, the pressure can often feel overwhelming. This can cause our posture to shrink under the weight of worry and stress. We become smaller in stature and spirit because we feel vulnerable and small. We brace our bodies and minds as a means of protection.
Please know that these are all normal short-term responses to stress.
But if we stay in this kind of stress-invoked posture too long, it becomes our default posture. And when it becomes our default posture, we often feel frozen and stuck.
We lose connection to the core of who we are.
The excess tension in our body and mind can make it more challenging to move through feelings of anxiousness, worry, and self-doubt. It makes it more challenging for us to move through life itself.
Now, this is where Rebecca’s words of wisdom can help. Shifting your posture by Getting Big helps you reconnect to your powerful self by shifting you out of a closed-down, stressed posture. It opens you up. This creates space for a shift in your emotions. The Get Big exercise can work quite well to get you through an immediate need.
But all by itself, it won’t reset your feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety for the long term. It won’t reset your posture for the long term. To do that, you need to build a strong foundation at your very core by working your core.
You read that right. Strengthening your core — moving from your center— can reset your posture and how you engage with life's stressors. It can reset you.
"There's a clear link between how we move, think, and feel. The muscles that control posture, our core muscles, have an impact on an organ that is involved in stress." - Dr. Peter Strick
Science has known for some time that the brain and the adrenal glands work together to help the body achieve balance while it undergoes changes that occur with stress. But that’s not the whole picture.
Thanks to new research, it’s now known that our brains and adrenal glands also communicate with the muscles of our core to aid us in navigating the stressors of life. That’s right, your muscles can affect your mood.
Our core supports not only our posture but also our response to stress. Our ability to be resilient is dependent on our core.
And if our core wants to support us, perhaps we need to show it some love and support by building a truly strong core —a reflexive strong core.
What do I mean by reflexively strong core?
From an Original Strength (OS) perspective, “reflexive strength is simply the body's ability to anticipate and respond to movement before and as it happens. It is both predictive strength and reactive strength. It is stability and mobility in harmony with one another, allowing the body to move optimally without limitations.”
I believe reflexive strength is the kind of strength that genuinely nourishes our core — our center — every part of us. It’s a strength that doesn’t rely on thinking to premeditate bracing and excessive tension in order to move.
It’s a strength that invites us to let go of all that excess tension we’ve been holding on to. And when we accept that invitation, we can express ourselves and engage with life more fully — as life happens.
It’s a strength that sets you free to move fluidly with power and joy.
And it’s the kind of strength that allows us to harness Rebecca’s Get Big energy and to stand tall like a superhero.
OS focuses on building a stronger and more resilient you by reconnecting you to your reflexive strength.
OS helps you blast your abs and core like you haven’t done in years, probably since childhood.
As a child, you began building a reflexively strong core from the moment you breathed your first breath. Breathing is strength’s foundation.
Then you blasted your core by learning how to control your big baby head. Then you started rolling around, which took your abs to a whole new level. Then you got up on your hands and knees— rocking and crawling — and your core learned how to hold you together as you moved.
And finally, you got up on two feet and ran around. You skipped. You played. You smiled. You laughed. This allowed you and your reflexive strength to become besties.
OS builds on those same movements you did as a child to help you reconnect with your long-lost friend — reflexive strength.
Once you’re reunited, you’ll never want to let go again because it feels so good.
And at times when you feel small or stuck — you can press reset with OS to ground yourself in your reflexive strength — your inner strength — to help you move through those feelings.
It’s easier to manage feelings when you feel safe. And when you know your bestie — your reflexive strength — has got your back, you feel safe.
And yes, you can also channel your inner Rebecca by Getting Big whenever you need extra courage.
Isn’t it time you reawakened your original strength?
*The information in this blog is not meant to be taken as treatment for any mental health concerns. Please seek out a mental health professional if you are struggling and need assistance.
Sarah Young, MS lives and works in Michigan. Her goal is to serve others in breathing better + moving better + feeling better — to help people feel more at home in their bodies and reclaim more of their untapped reserves of strength + resilience + health. She works with clients both in person and remotely. Her email is email@example.com if you’d like to contact her with any questions you may have.