Mastering your mindset is critical to enjoying life. How you choose to think and what you choose to think will make the difference between a Stress filled Life and a Serene and Joyful Life. When the world around you is calm, it is much easier to find humor, feel love and become the person you want to be.
When you can’t control the world around you and it is full of chaos, where do you find the calm??? You create calm for yourself and for others around you. Calm can be created in several ways.
#1: Use your imagination. Our imagination is one of our 6 mental faculties. It is a very powerful tool. When used wisely, it is a gift. When used poorly, it can be a curse.
What does the below picture bring to mind? Did you think COVID 19?
How about this next picture? What does it bring to mind? Did you also think COVID 19?
When I show these pictures & ask the same questions in workshops, the most common answer for the 1st picture is COVID 19. The most common answers for the second picture are river & stream.
Thus far no one has answered a research lab or vaccine for the 1st picture or COVID 19 for the 2nd picture.
I would like to suggest that if you used your imagination wisely, all of those could very well be descriptors of the pictures. There are research labs all over the world working on a vaccine for COVID 19 and COVID 19 is absolutely cleaning our streams, clearing the pollution from our skies, and causing the earth to heal itself from all sorts of pollutants.
Most of us don’t think that way. We don’t jump to the positive. You can train your brain to think more positively and in doing so you can absolutely use your imagination more productively to create calmer responses to situations.
#2: Notice What You are Noticing. Do you know that you have an internal notice? I actually have a friend that we call ‘The Noticer’. She notices everything in her surroundings. The things that she notices are absolutely uncanny to me because I don’t ever see half of them. That is not the skill we are talking about here. Here we are talking about getting really good at noticing how we are feeling and what we are thinking rather than our outside surroundings.
We have control over our thoughts. When we notice we don’t have energy, or we are beginning to feel stressed or overwhelmed, we can change that. You see it is not the outside world that produces the stress in us. It is our internal response to the outside world that produces the stress and feeling of being overwhelmed. By being aware and noticing when those feelings start to come, we can shift those feelings by changing our response or changing what we are thinking.
Once you notice those feelings, then notice what you were thinking and use your imagination to come up with a more positive response. Change your thinking, and replace the negative thoughts with more powerful positive ones.
#3: Use rectangular breathing to calm your nervous system. Our body and brain are designed exquisitely. Breathing is a certain way that can change our nervous system from its fight, flight, or freeze state (sympathetic state) to rest, digest, and create (parasympathetic state)
You see our nervous system was designed to keep the caveman safe. It only has two states and it is in one of those states at all times. When we are stressed and overwhelmed, it has kicked into a sympathetic state. When we relax it is in a parasympathetic state. We want to be in a parasympathetic state when we are solving issues because that is when we will be most creative and open to solutions. Rectangular breathing is easy and can be done anywhere and it absolutely can change your physiology and shift you from being stressed and overwhelmed to a relaxed state. The parasympathetic state is responsible for controlling the balance and maintenance of the body’s systems. It restores the body to a state of calm and counterbalance and allows it to relax and repair.
- Slowly breathe in through your mouth for the count of 4 – 6 seconds
- Hold your breath for 2 – 3 seconds
- Slowly breathe out through pursed lips (as though you were blowing through a straw)
- Repeat this 3 or 4 times until you feel your body relaxing.
Once you feel your body relaxing, you then want to replace those thoughts you noticed earlier that were overwhelming or stressing you with more empowering thoughts that will change your energy level regarding the situation. We can create better solutions and more effective responses once our nervous system has shifted and we are relaxed.