One thing we all have in common, no matter our education, our financial status, our marital status, the color of our skin, our heritage, or our age is that we all have a Body/Mind. This body/mind is capable of amazing and wonderous things. It is also capable of horrors on a large and small scale. You must constantly remember that everything that you experience is not the thing itself but a movie playing within you that at once gives it meaning and context. It is an incredibly complex organism. A good portion of the imput by the time you are aware of it has already been, culled for information useful and useless, it has made predictive judgements, and it makes shortcut for nearly everything. All the while telling you what you are seeing is real. Thank you Body/Mind I am so glad you made me jump instead of being bitten by that snake!
Some of these short cuts are not so very helpful in all situations. Where as I am watching your Mother say the Turkey isn’t salty enough, I hand her a salt shaker. When you hear the Turkey doesn’t have enough salt, It means you have ruined Thanksgiving forever, you never where good at cooking, and even the kid on the bike outside knows that you are a failure! So it is the automatic responses that in an instant can trigger a symphony of chemical reactions so complex to occur that it affects your heart rate , how you feel, your breathing, your stomach and your mental state among a host of other reactions. When these time’s occur, when the rage of emotions, and guilt and worry have you so stirred up that you can’t see straight. Let a little voice inside your head say hold on hold on just a second. Maybe this mind of mine could use a little help getting off the crazy train.
When you want to get out of a hole quit digging. – Will Rogers
Ok, so you have determined that you are on the crazy train. Hopefully you have caught it quicker than the last time you jumped aboard. These exercises will take a little time but the time is worth it, you are worth it and it will help you to think more clearly so that you can make the decisions that you need to make. We are bringing kindness to the table and kindness will be speaking to you! Where as thoughts create chemical reactions in your body nearly instantaneously, it takes time to change your thinking and for the wild and crazy hormone concoctions to dissipate enough so that you don’t feel so terrible.
- First things first, you need to breathe. I find a simple breathing rhythm helps to start to get your breathing more relaxed. 4-2-4 relax breath. you inhale for a count of 4, you pause gently for a count of 2 (half the time of the 4) then you exhale for a count of 4. then inhale naturally when it is time. This will feel annoying for the first few minutes but slowly , if you give it your best shot at paying attention to it, it will start to shift you thoughts from , the shame and anger of the past, and the fear of the future to thoughts of right now, right here. You are breathing and watching it happen with a relaxed and kind heart. Remember be kind to yourself your body/mind needs air even more quickly than water or food. Do this for 5-10 minutes. Stay as relaxed as you can and even if you have to remind yourself 1000 times to bring yourself back to the activity do it with kindness and patience.
- You can then start to engage Mechanics of Breath. Click on it for instructions. Be kind to yourself here as well.
- Remember the 1-10, see the post here.
- Take a mindful walk in a garden or in the woods. Something about nature resets us. Feet on the dirt rather than concrete, seeing all the living stuff swaying in the wind, listening to birds and seeing other animals going about their day, all of this brings us to a moment that is less concerned about the past or the future and helps us to pay attention to right now. As you walk you will notice your body starting to relax, your heart may be pumping from the walk but your mind will start to become clearer. It should be a vigorous walk if that is good for you. Be patient and kind with yourself and whenever you notice that you are thinking of something besides the walk. bring it back to some detail that you are seeing, or hearing or touching. Bring yourself back even if it is 1000 times and bring yourself back with kindness.
- Gratefulness. walk around and remind yourself all that you are grateful for. Everything from the large to the small. Make sure to remember to be thankful for your problems, your trials and tribulations, and your experience. This is very powerful! Being grateful for a problem even the one causing the intense reactions shifts the focus I won’t define it here, but if you can be honest and thankful for your problems as well as your gifts your bodies reaction begins to change. Sometimes you may have to fake it till you make it. Some of the things on my list that I was grateful for. My feet, my shoes, my lungs filling with air, the fact that I have skin, being able to walk in the woods, The problem that currently has me stirred up, the food I have eaten, the people in my life (even the one’s I didn’t like). Lets face it some folks are a good example of what not to do, I can feel grateful for that! My car , my family, the work that I have done. The list was a very long.
So there you have it. Remember I am not a doctor. If you are in need of help and these tools are too little to late, here is the Crisis Hot line info:
24/7/365 Crisis Hotline
Call: 1 (800) 273-8255
Text: “ANSWER” to 839863
If you can step away from your reactions and engage the steps above there is a good chance that your bodies reaction to the stress will start to dissipate and you then can use a larger potion of you Body/mind to engage the problem. Or to just relax and let the solution or good sense slide in from your intuition.
Remember most of the mental stress and pain that you feel or the friction, is caused by refusing to move from your position.
Hope this helps!