Armoring is at the root of what most of my clients come in for help with. They don’t understand why their shoulders are so tight and say things like “Why is my body so stupid?” I don’t say it in the moment to clients who are expressing legit frustration, but your body is a genius, and it is trying to prevent you from experiencing pain. This is especially genius because it works for physical pain (for example: if you damage your knee, your quads will tense up to protect the knee from getting too painful with normal jostling around) as well as emotional pain (example: when somebody is yelling at me I tense my jaw up).
Sometimes I see clients who need to armor all day when they’re at work, they know about it and hate it, and they find that it means that they never get to step out of their armor. When you know in advance that you’re stepping into an armor-appropriate situation, an exercise you can try to feel less stuck and out-of-control is Put On Your Own Armor. This can be just a quiet moment where you close your eyes and imagine putting it on, or you can put on some music (depending on your age, may I suggest the transformation sequence music from your favorite Voltron/Power Rangers/She-Ra/He-Man/Jem/Transformers cartoon?) and do a little dance. You don’t need to tense up your body while you do this, just imagine the armor. How thick is it? Is it a stretchy Super Suit or is it clanking and metal? How big does it make you? What colors is it? Does it have any embellishment? How big and protective do you need it to be?
The reason to take a moment to actively put it on is that you can then actively remove your armor! See how that works? When you are going leaving whatever space or people are your own personal Thunderdome, you can take a similar moment and imagine taking it off, cleaning it (if necessary) and putting it away. Where do you store it when you don’t need it?