March 12, 2024

Somatic Shaking to Relieve Stress

Whether you are trying to conceive, already pregnant, or parenting one or more kids, you may find that you are holding onto stress from your everyday life. You could also be holding onto trauma within your body that is causing you to behave or react in ways that are detrimental to your health. 

By using somatic shaking, we can work with our nervous system directly to help cast out our stressors and feel more at peace. First, let's discuss how emotions and trauma become trapped, where they can present, and how we can release them from our bodies.

How Emotions Become Trapped

When we experience negative emotions, we can either sit with them and process what we’re feeling, or we can suppress them and let them linger. Letting these emotions linger can cause tension within our bodies and we can get caught in a negative self-loop. During stressful times, our bodies can go into fight, flight, or freeze mode, a natural response that is designed to keep us safe, but can cause harm to our mental and physical health if we do not complete the cycle by processing our emotions.  

Where Our Emotions Manifest

When we don’t deal with our negative emotions properly, they can manifest physically. Where these emotions present themselves is different for everyone, but the most common places are the hips, the neck, the tummy, and the chest. You may notice you’re slouching more, you could begin to develop hypertension, or you may feel “heavy,” like the weight of your feelings are resting on your shoulders and bringing you down.

How We Can Release Emotions

Now that we know how our emotions can get trapped and how they can present physically, let’s discuss how we can release them. 

Somatic Shaking

Somatic shaking is great for people who may not know where to even start. This technique works directly with the nervous system to help “shake off,” the negative emotions and trauma stored in your body. To begin, ensure that you have a clear space to move your body then plant both feet firmly on the ground, and begin shaking your arms, bouncing your knees, bobbing your head gently, and swaying using your torso. Visualize your negative energy loosening up and being released. Continue your somatic shaking for as long as you need, but five or more minutes is ideal.

When our fight, flight, or freeze modes become activated, we must first complete the cycle before we can begin to process what we went through. When our hunter/gatherer ancestors became triggered into fight, flight, or freeze, they would complete the cycle by fighting, getting to safety, or lying in wait until the threat was dissolved. In modern times, it’s common for our natural response to be triggered by things like a passive-aggressive comment made by a coworker or having a heated discussion with your partner. However, we are not completing the cycle and stopping the release of high levels of cortisol brought on by the fight, flight, or freeze response. By using somatic shaking, we can return our bodies back to homeostasis and begin the mental work of processing our feelings. Do this every morning to start your day right, and as needed when you feel you need to loosen up. 

Other Ways to Release Tension

Laughing, crying, screaming, and dancing are all great ways to help let go of any repressed emotions. Try to bring more mindfulness into your daily tasks and acknowledge and name whatever feelings you have. Speak with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about how you’re feeling and try to dissect where the strong emotions are coming from and why they might make you feel the way they do. Many people find that sharing their thoughts and feelings helps them feel unburdened by them and they feel lighter. 

If you would like more information on releasing stress during pregnancy, contact our midwives today!

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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