I’ve noticed I tense up when I’m talking to people.
I used to tense up when talking to people.
I’ve been learning how to relax while in the midst of face-to-face encounters.
This may not seem like much of a blog post, but simple methods make the best practices when it comes to relaxing.
And relaxing is a big part of #LivingLovedFirst …
Keviana Elliot’s Shortlist for Relaxing While Talking
1) Shrink Your Alertness
When I step up to a conversation with an individual, I narrow my conscious field from watching the door, other people, small children, traffic, sudden noises, phones, screens, etc., down to just the person’s face in front of me. This reduces the energy output of “listening” to a minimal amount. It’s great.
2) Release Neck, Shoulder, Chest, and Back Stiffness
As an introvert, I tend to tighten up behind and below my ears whenever I head into a one-on-one chat. And that, in turn, tightens my Trapezius muscles, that tighten the muscles around my shoulder blades. Call a masseuse! If I make a conscious effort to tell those muscles to relax the moment I feel them tightening up, I don’t expend all that energy.
Also, I believe that tightening up leads to my body prepping for a fight or flight situation. People shouldn’t do that to me! Or you.
3) Use the Environment to Ground You to Peace
When I’m standing outdoors, if there is a breeze blowing leaves, I will take note of that when I get antsy during a discussion. Bird song works, too. Remembering God’s “bigness” through nature sounds reminds me there is nothing to fear or worry about. Sunlight is also a reminder and how it warms my skin.
When I’m indoors having a face-to-face, usually I’m at church, a coffee shop, a live sporting event, or someone’s home. If there’s music, I use that as a reminder. If there is cool lighting, I glance at that periodically. Cool windows, check. Or… and please don’t make this creepy: the eyes of the person I’m talking to. Eyes are so intricate and beautiful, they remind me straight away to chillax.
4) Memorize Questions
Sometimes the search for the perfect next thing to say in a silence is the brain workout that takes me from great to tense. When I was younger, I started memorizing questions I could ask a person to make them feel comfortable in our conversation. What I discovered? These memories questions calmed me!
Here are three of the top questions I use:
- How has your life been going?
- Anything awesome happen last week?
- What do you think about that?
I don’t use these to “steer” the conversation, because I really do want to be kind to the other person. I just use these when I feel myself stress about the conversation’s future. If an awkward silence begins, and I know it’s my turn, I pull one of these out. Peace and tranquility restored.
5) Have an Escape in Your Back Pocket
Just knowing that my car is in the parking lot gives me the ability to push that set of stressors away. The bathroom is over there *points* for a more temporary escape. And if there’s food nearby? I can suddenly be craving a froo-froo coffee or cookie or french fry. Thanks for the chat, buh-bye.
There is nothing wrong with asking the Holy Spirit for help relaxing in a conversation. He cares about details, and He cares about His kids. The Bible says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people.”* He will help.
I am always looking to expand this list, so let me know if you have any methods that work.
*Tree of Life Version