Her whole body seemed clenched, even over the phone.
Even though my client was calling at her regular time, she wasn’t using her “regular” voice.
“How are you?” I asked her, with both curiosity and concern. “You won’t believe it!” she started off. She sounded so distressed that I broke in to ask where she was, whether she was sitting or standing, and where in her body she was most feeling the stress.
My coaching clients are used to such interruptions. When they’re expressing a lot of intensity, I might suggest a brief physical sequence to return to a calmer body state and release some of the tension that’s winding them up.
We’re not trying to avoid emotions or pretend everything’s fine; we’re creating both the physical and mental space so we can sort through whatever’s going on, communicate and make decisions more thoughtfully.
We all need this practice. When we’re wrapped around our own axle, so to speak, our thinking can become garbled or frantic, and our tension, anxiety or frustration can make us less clear and less credible.