How do you react when you “wobble” in life?

When things aren’t going your way, when your boss doesn’t like the project you’re doing, when you get into a fight with your significant other, when your diet backfires and you gain 5 pounds: how do you respond? How does your body react?

I can tell you how I respond: I get panicked, I don’t breathe, and I don’t sleep—which worsens the problem tenfold. In a nutshell: my whole life goes into stress mode. And all the research out there, shows us that this kind of response triggers long-term health problems like cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more.

But asking yourself that question—and bringing awareness to your body’s knee-jerk reactions in times of stress—is the first step to change.

For years, I’ve realized that you can’t change the world and people around you (no matter how crazy and irrational they may be!): what you can change is how you respond to craziness around you. But I couldn’t alter my own response as I was stuck literally in the day-to-day grind: exercise, go to work, work all day, come home, put the kids to bed, go to bed, wake up and do it all again the next day and the next day and the next.

It’s only after leaving my job—and now taking up yoga—that I’m starting to become more aware of my body and how it reacts. And I’m learning—albeit very, very slowly—to control that reaction.

As my yoga teacher, Ellen, says—as I’m in a very wobbly tree pose, flailing my arms trying not to topple over (and not breathing, which is typical for me): “The point is not to NOT wobble; it’s to control your reaction to the wobbling.†Ground your feet, pull your shoulders back, lift your spine, and take deep breaths in and out. Putting your body in a position of strength gives you strength to face the world. Now I just have to remember that every single time I get stressed!