You can use this tool to shift any difficult negative emotion – anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and even nuance emotions such as resentment and disappointment. Here I suggest you practice with shame to experience a felt sense of recovering your emotional equilibrium and your inner secure base of well-being.
1. Stand up in a place where you have space to move. Settle into a posture of feeling comfortable and at ease in your body.
2. Let your body move into a posture that embodies or expresses shame. You might stand with head bent forward, chest collapsed, in a shrinking stance. Let yourself feel just enough shame in this posture that you can work with it to rewire it, but not so much that you become overwhelmed. This may take some experimentation to find the Goldilocks spot of just enough to feel, deal, and heal.
3. Remain in this posture for thirty seconds or so, modifying it and returning again as you need to stay regulated.
4. Now, without thinking at all, let your body move into a posture that feels the opposite of the emotion you’re examining. You don’t even have to know what this posture is or what to call it. Just let your body find its way – perhaps standing up straighter and taller, perhaps lifting your head higher, perhaps raising your arms over your head. Stay in this posture for thirty seconds or so, slightly longer than the original shame position.
5. Let your body return to the original posture. Hold that posture for twenty seconds or so, noticing any shifts in your inner feelings.
6. Let your body return to the second, opposite posture. Hold that posture again for thirty seconds or so, longer than the original posture.
7. Let your body find a posture that is somewhere in between the original posture and the second posture. Hold this intermediate posture for thirty seconds.
8. Pause and reflect on your experience of the entire exercise, noticing any shifts in your inner feelings, labeling any of the three postures you have experienced if that’s helpful to you. You may be surprised at how your higher brain now labels those experiences.
This exercise helps you shift from any problematic emotional experience to a more grounded one, creating a more secure base for your resilience.— Linda Graham in Resilience