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Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

When to Stop and When to Go

One of the most asked questions I get when it comes to pain and stress is: how do I know when to act and when not to?

How do I know when to ‘face the fear and do it anyway’ or to step back and relax my fight-or-flight response?

How do I know if it is fear getting in the way, or intuition telling me not to go there?

All such great, great questions. This is a balancing act for sure. Let me give you a key with an example of this in practice from my last week. (Doesn’t life always give the perfect examples?)

Having just settled in a new city, my first task is always to search out yoga studios that I like (with the other essentials like schools, groceries etc… yoga is an essential need for me). 

I had just finished teaching a class about nervous system health for chronic pain, and was looking for some nervous system health for myself.

I popped into a new studio for a free trial class and quickly got myself settled in on my mat. 

But something felt different.

The studio was hot.

The music was loud.

The other students weren’t settled into stretching, breathing, lying down or slowing down. 

They were… warming up.

With weights and bands and balls.

There was a distinct energy in the air of activity, restlessness… my nervous system picked up on it right away.

When the tiny instructor came in I knew I was in trouble.  She turned the music up so loud I could hardly hear her yelling instructions.

She was tiny, but she was loud.

She brought me some weights as I was the only one without, and began teaching a class that was, by far, the hardest fitness class I have ever done, and I have done a LOT.

.. and it was the only class EVER that I forgot my water bottle. 

A sure-fire recipe for fight-or-flight. 

When I realized what was happening and I looked at the fit, young bodies around me (well, not all), it was sink or swim (aka fight-or-flight). 

My ego would not let me sink as I had taken the last open spot.. I would have ‘flighted’ but I was ‘trapped’ in the front row and would surely have knocked someone over on my way out, it was so packed in there.

I instantly recalled what I had just been teaching to my chronic pain patients and used it to the max. 

Nervous system regulation for safety, healing and resilience. 

Make sure you can breathe.

If you can’t breathe, slow down.

Ask yourself if you are safe. 

YOU get to choose what you do.

Notice your thoughts… “this is crazy”, “I can’t do this”, “holy @#$%, she wants us to do WHAT?”, “How come I’m the only one…”.

Breathe, feel your feet, change to “I am safe.”

Breathe, move, and regulate.

Breathe, move and regulate. 


Feel dizzy? Slow down.

Feel unsafe? Stop and feel your feet. Notice you are ok.

Feel like my breakfast smoothie is about to reappear all over my mat and my neighbour? Breathe, don’t panic, you’re ok. 

To be honest my neighbour didn’t look any happier.. but rule #10:  ‘don’t worry about anyone else’s experience. Stay in your own lane, in your own nervous system.’

The only place to ever be is in your own nervous system, your own body.

I can tell you, I was, by all accounts, quite impressed with myself.  

When it finally came to an end and I walked out I noticed the class was called “Fast and Furious” and indeed it was.

But it was also perfect. 

A perfect practice for staying calm in the chaos.

A perfect practice to stay grounded in the moment (I committed and forbade myself to look at the clock) and go steady to go further and…. do what I didn’t expect I could do. 

Moment by moment.

Breath by breath.

I might even say I enjoyed the challenge in the end.

Nervous system regulation is key to growth, healing, building strength and resilience, but most of all, it’s something we can all do..

anytime and anywhere. 

It will not lead you astray.

It will only lead you to a place of peace and alignment within yourself and with life, no matter what the circumstances around you are. 

It is very personal.

Like the most intimate relationship you will ever have.. with yourself. 

Strangely enough, when you are aligned within yourself, life around you tends to go smoother, like it opens up to a wider, more adaptable, flexible viewpoint. Only here can we come ‘online’, prevent further stress, anxiety, pain and injury and find true peace and healing.

And, the key to knowing when to stop and when to go is all of the above: Can you breathe? Are you in fact, safe.. despite what your thoughts and body tell you? Can you be in the moment and move forward? 

THAT is the starting point, friends. In your body.

Not, what someone told you to do, what you think you should do or what your ego is telling you to do. 

So, I did all that, willingly and carefully….

and boy, I felt it the next day!

Go slower to go farther this week everyone, 


PS:  Are you really ready for nervous system change? 

Are you exhausted, burned out from trying too hard for too long?

Are your over-giving, over-striving tendencies overdone?

Take my free quiz to find out if you are an emotional empath: Click here. 

Then hit reply and send me a message to get on a free call to see if my programs are a good fit for you to restore yourself, your true self, your health, again.

2 thoughts on “When to Stop and When to Go”

  1. Holy cow! I’m like: how do you know all this about me?
    Oh, I know you aren’t watching me. But wow!
    It has been a while since I took a ‘breathing’ class with you. It was either a 6-week or 10-week class. I don’t remember. But I always wanted to do the class again.


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