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Keep calm and shine your light: Use the prism to release unwanted emotions and blocks

By Tessa Sanderson, Founder of Yoga with Tessa


If you’re anything like me, you go through different emotions in relation to your business over a


They’ll be times when you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do and when there’s a launch

or a big project coming together there might be a feeling that you’ll tip into burnout. There are also

times when you sense you’re on a roll and you can handle everything that’s coming at you.

Just as we have cycles of creative projects, we have cycles of emotions. These might be influenced

by your menstrual cycle, the outer seasons (do you also get a creative high in summer?), whether

you’re moving and eating well, and putting self-care into your diary.

So what can you do when you’re being engulfed by a ‘negative’ emotion?

I know from experience that I tend to get overwhelmed as I move past ovulation. The oestrogen

high has gone and if I haven’t put self-care in place through the previous month I go from feeling like superwoman to falling off a metaphorical cliff. It’s so easy to totally merge with the emotion: “I am totally overwhelmed right now”.

But what if you use the concept of a prism to get a new perspective. Think of the dominant emotion that you’re merging with being the white light hitting the prism, and then the rainbow of colours that appear on the other side. There is lots going on that isn’t immediately apparent.

Try this…

Take a few breaths and feel your bum on the chair and your feet on the floor. Wiggle your toes and connect with your body. As you think about your business now, what’s the dominant

emotion? Say hello to that emotion and keep it company for a few breaths. Recognise that there’s a

part of you that feels that emotion.

Now see if there’s another part with a different feeling. Say hello to that and keep it company, without judgement. Keep going until you run out of other voices.

For example, I might have felt, “I am overwhelmed”. It’s good to see if you can locate how the emotion feels in the body. For me it’s often a fizzing in the solar plexus and a constriction around the chest. I reframe by saying, “Part of me feels overwhelmed” and I notice there’s another part that is excited about a new project, which brings a feeling of lifting through the crown of my head.

The part that’s overwhelmed feels frustrated with the excited part – “as if we don’t have enough to

do already!”. Then comes “Something in me feels resigned that a colleague won’t pull her weight”

and I see a tendency to plough on myself. That feels heavy through my torso.

The prism (slowing down and checking in) reveals that there is excitement, frustration and resignation there too.

I can choose to talk to my colleague and share the load, and to put clear

deadlines around current projects to finish before the new one begins to make it feel attainable.

When I check back in the feeling of overwhelm has shifted and I can see that it’s manageable. A spaciousness has arrived.

Checking in & being present

This process of checking in and being present to the connection between physical sensations and emotions is possible because of the sense of interoception. Sometimes it’s the emotion that catches our our attention (like the overwhelm) and other times the physical sensation (butterflies in the tummy before a speaking engagement or Facebook live!).

We don’t always need to understand why something is coming up; simply by pausing and saying hello to that sensation or emotion, it can start to shift.

I use Focusing as a way to teach women how to connect with this sense of interoception and allow the body to release the tension, trauma or disconnection with their menstrual cycles, birth trauma or creative blocks.

If a stress cycle has not been able to go full circle, or the nervous system has learnt to react in a maladaptive way after trauma, we can feel at the mercy of our emotions and our hormones. But you can make a big difference by yourself using the process above: slow right down and use this phrase “Part of me feels…”.

This powerful reframe can put you back in control and regularly tuning into physical sensations can

help you anticipate an emotional storm that’s brewing before it actually happens. I recommend you

do this when you first sit down to work: you’ll be more productive.

Tessa is talking at the WWD: Be Bold - The Conference on ‘Benefiting from the Inner Seasons for sustainable productivity and creativity – Cyclical living just became your new BFF’. You can grab your ticket here.

Tessa is also organising the State of Birth online symposium for pregnancy, birth and postpartum professionals and can be contacted for individual sessions here


About Tessa Sanderson

Tessa has taught yoga for more than 16 years and continues to deepen her knowledge and practice. Variety is what has kept her practice fresh and she brings you different bite size practices and techniques to keep you interested and motivated. She has completed training in trauma-informed yoga and cycle awareness, and brings these elements into the Nurture and Thrive Hub.

Tessa is an ex-academic researcher, author of six books for women and children, body sovereignty advocate (eg through her role on the Reading Maternity Voices Partnership) and sought after speaker. She brings the richness of her experience into the Hub so that you can thrive in your work and family life to support their growth. Connect with her: Website | Instagram | Facebook


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