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Intentional Living
Newsletter #17, August 2016
Staying Centered While in the Midst of Stress
Brady Mikusko, Life Coach




If you are someone who interested in energy, I will send you instructions for adding an energy component to the Centering Practice.

Simply email me and put Energy in the subject line.

I recently took a 4-month course entitled  Embodied Coaching. The  very first assignment was to learn to Center, which we were to do every day, 10 times per day, throughout the course. It is a wonderful practice and I am sharing it with you in this newsletter, as my goal in each newsletter is to bring tools and techniques to my readers. 

Most of us know what it is like to be uncentered, right?

What is it like to be Centered? 

It is a neutral inner state: alert, relaxed, open, aware, ready, even curious.  It is an inner stable state. 

To be at center is a powerful state to bring with you to work, to home, to relationship, to living. 

If this interests you, please read on.


Some Core Ideas Behind Centering

1.  It is impossible to be centered if one is living "in the mind" with all of its stories, judgments, fears, and worries, projections, and its focus on the past and the future.

2.  Under stress, we tighten. Our muscles contract, our blood vessels constrict, our breath becomes shallow, etc. as we prepare for danger.

3.  To be truly centered, one must

4.  Many people believe we have a body. I offer the idea that
 we are a body

5.  Our body is not a static "thing". It is not a piece of luggage that we carry around until we die. Nor is not a machine.  What is it then? 
      It is a living , breathing, aware, resourceful, resilient, and creative organism.   And when  one is in touch with all of THAT , what happens?    All kinds of information and ideas can come to you and through you and for you. 

How To Center

Adapted from the work of Richard Strozzi Heckler, Victoria Castle, Wendy Palmer, Heart Math,  and my own work. There are many ways and variations on centering.  This is only  one.  
1.  Stand. Exhale.   In exhaling, you are letting go of the habitual habit of holding. You might even silently affirm "letting go". 

2.  Inhale, and as the breath moves down toward your belly, begin to feel the weight of your body pressing down into your feet. Let your attention follow this downward pull. This is gravity. Feel gravity pulling you down towards Earth. Feel your feet. Adjust your feet so that you are balanced. If you are visual you might imagine that you are tree rooted to Earth.

3. As you feel the downward pull of  gravity, straighten yourself and  e xtend yourself up, drawing yourself up into the full length of your torso, so that your head  and neck are directly aligned with your spine.(This is less about the parental command to "stand up straight" and more about the recognition and feeling of  "up".)

4. Relax your jaw. Relax your shoulders, letting them drop as if the soft parts of your body were a silk shirt or blouse hanging on the coat hanger of your skeleton.
This helps to release the holding and clenching so many of us are doing throughout our day. It relaxes the fight or flight mechanism.

5. Inhale through the nose, into the belly. Follow the breath with your attention.  Exhale through the mouth.  You might notice that your nervous system is settling down.

6. Sense the space behind you......Sense the space in front of you.....Sense the space to your sides.....Most of us live in our front space -- our eyes scanning for what is in front of us, and naturally placing our attention there.These spaces -- up, down, front, back, left side, right side -- are a part of your unique field of energy. 

7.  Take a precious moment and check in with you/your body. Say "hello" to it. Feel the sensations that are there. Each moment you check in those sensations are different. Why? Because each moment is different. The sensations of the body provide alot of information. And in time and with intention, this check-in will  become a powerful connection to what is alive in you. 

8.  Victoria Castle, suggests that you now  put your focus on what you care about . It could be a child, a friend, a beautiful memory. This last step is moving your body/mind to the heart, a second brain in your organism. In Heart Math they refer to this step as moving into  COHERENCE. 

 9. Richa rd Strozzi-Heckler, a very well-known and respected embodiment coach, author, and Aikido Master, recommends a different step. He encourages you to really FEEL  the history, knowledge, skills and experience that LIVE IN YOU.  This doesn't mean making a mental list of your accomplishments. Rather, it is more of an acknowledgment and validation of all that is there within you and that makes you the person you are right now.

     Whichever step you choose  -- Castle's or Strozzi-Heckler's or both  --  silently affirm that you have everything you need for the next moment in life, aware and alert as it comes. 

      "When we are alienated from the wisdom of the body,
our lives become theoretical and abstract,

 and we are distanced from the direct, felt sense of living." --Strozzi-Hecker..

So how, when, where, what?
1. Practice when the stakes are low. 

2. As stated above, learn standing up. Then practice in different circumstances: at the bank, on the way to work, in the grocery store, at the library, while talking with a friend, walking in the park, brushing your teeth...

2. If practiced regularly, centering might take 10 seconds. Longer if you wish and can. Many enjoy being in this state, as it is a kind of "coming home" to yourself.

3. If practiced 12 times per day, it could take 2 minutes.  If practiced 2 times per hour, assuming a 12 hour day, it could take 4 minutes. You get my point? Very little expenditure of time, with some serious rewards. 

4.  Truth be told, it doesn't actually take extra time. If done, it becomes a way of gathering our attention and living our life for whatever we are about to do or whatever is next.

5.  Life unfolds moment by moment. Centering brings us into the realm of sensation, which interestingly does not exist in the past or the future. It only exists in the present moment! 

6.  So the next time you read something in the paper or on-line about the importance of being in the present moment.....go to the body. It will teach you.

What Next? 

If this interests you, I encourage you to commit to this practice for a period of time , even a life time, to reap the rewards, which are great. 

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If you found this email useful, let me know! And please let others know about the newsletter and my work.


Brady Mikusko, MA, MSW, NCC,  Personal Life and Wellness Coach

Interested in learning EFT, a powerful stress-reduction technique? Click here 


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