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Have a Partner? Try This Calming Technique

The Embrace That Co-Regulates Your Nervous System

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(WavebreakmediaMicro - stock.adobe.com)
(WavebreakmediaMicro - stock.adobe.com)

The stress of modern life can be attenuated through a simple but unique kind of hug called The Soulmate Embrace. Wait, doesn’t everyone know how to hug? Why you need a “technique?” Because the kinds of hugs you’ve had in the past are likely more of a catch-and-release kind of hug. Short hugs are sweet, but long hugs are what calm our nervous system. And when you and your partner come together to hold and be held, a number of physiologic reactions occur.

  • Co-regulation is when two partners calm each other, in this case, through an experience of long, relaxing embrace.
  • Oxytocin is a calming hormone that is released with skin contact — generating feel-good chemicals in your body.
  • Breathing naturally slows down when partners embrace, further calming your body.

Relearning How to Hug

If you have a partner to hold, this hug outperforms that glass of wine by an order of magnitude. Holding and being held both calm our nervous system and connect our hearts and breath together. The “holder” assumes the role of protector. The partner being held simply focuses on melting into relaxation. When a couple embraces, it’s a form of co-regulation. This means you calm each other simultaneously. Holding is as beneficial as being held.

However, most people don’t understand how to embrace in a way that produces this calm connection. We are not taught how to hug, and the result is a short squeeze, rather than the type of holding that truly and deeply calms our nervous systems. When you follow the steps of this Soulmate Embrace technique, you’ll realize this is how you’ve dreamed of hugging. You can also teach this technique to your partner.

The Soulmate Embrace

The Soulmate Embrace reduces anxiety and increases connection. It is a gender fluid relaxation technique. Either partner can assume the protector and the protected role. That being said, I’ll describe the technique as if it’s a man and woman doing each of the steps:

1. Lie on the bed or sofa together, abdomen-to-abdomen and heart-to-heart.

2. Pull her close and wrap your arms around her.

3. Hold her close and don’t let go.

4. Tell her you want her to fully relax in your arms.

5. As she relaxes, hold her a little more tightly.

6. Say something like,“I’ve got you baby. Let it all go.”

7. Keep light pressure on. Gentle squeezing reboots the nervous system. Squeezes feel like the upset gets pushed out of the cells.

8. Encourage her to feel you holding her.

9. Syncopate your breath with hers and lead her to deeper breaths. Have her follow your breathing.

10. Whisper in her ear to breathe deeply. Words of encouragement improve her ability to relax.

11. As you lie there, feel how much you lovethis beautiful creature in your arms.

12. Imagine you are filling her body with your love and affection.

13. Hold her in this sweet embrace for as long as she wants you to. You can move your arms slowly in different holding positions. The holding should feel natural, not stiff.

14. If she needs to talk out anything that is preventing her from truly surrendering to complete relaxation, hold her until she’s complete.

15. When she feels softened, you may run your hands up and down her body — first in a nurturing way, then in a more sensual manner if appropriate. Stroke her hair. Smoothing her hair is very nurturing for you both.

16. Kiss her forehead. Pause. Her cheeks. Pause. Her eyelids. Pause. Do this languidly. No rush.

17. Tell her how precious she is to you and why. Be specific.

18. You’ll know when she’s done with the Soulmate Embrace because she will tell you or start kissing you.

Don’t Let Go

The Soulmate Embrace is meant to be a strong, solid, hug that goes on and on and on. Don’t let go. This is what makes the Soulmate Embrace such a magical experience.

Typically, when a man hugs his woman, he lets go the minute she relaxes. What’s really happening is she has shifted into “Okay, I can relax now” mode. She’s only just begun to relax. Give yourselves plenty of time to allow the co-regulation and oxytocin to take effect.

She may experience some teariness, which is a good sign that she’s letting go of emotion. This movement is a signal that calm is overtaking her.

Embrace in this way a few times a week. It gets easier with practice. Some people initially go into “flight” mode — their legs get restless and they have a hard time settling. These are the people who need this embrace the most! So keep trying, and over time you’ll be able to surrender into relaxation mode.

The more you practice the Soulmate Embrace, the more you will find you are called to snuggle like this together.

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