Life, for many of us, has become an obstacle race of challenges we need to survive through rather than a garden of possibilities we thrive in. A lot of it may depend on the circumstances we find ourselves in, but our ability to find order among the chaos is what will define the quality of our life experience and allow us to get back in the driving seat rather than just being hauled around in an overcrowded passenger train. Now that we’ve covered the “why” let’s get down to the burning question “But HOW?!”. Sample from the following buffet of ideas and choose whatever tickles your palate best:
1. Your magic hour: We all have a certain time in the day [or night] when we feel most alert, active, energised and focused – naturally and effortlessly. This is the magic time when the body is at its peak and cheering us on to go for it! Identify your magic hour and plan to address the most challenging tasks of your day during that time, harnessing and optimizing your body and mind’s natural upswing.
2. Pockets of mindfulness: Master Shifu once said to PO – “Remember, Dragon Warrior: Anything is possible when you have inner peace.” Finding this coveted inner peace does not compulsorily need an hour of meditation every morning and evening. Take regular time-outs in your day to devote 10-15 minutes in activities like – focused deep breathing, progressive relaxation, listening to a guided mediation or relaxing sound, creating a ‘safe space’ visual as a refuge and so on. You can begin with simply engaging with your physical senses rather than your thoughts – notice and focus on what you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel – getting out of your mind and connecting with your body can help you feel more centred and provide a breather from the constant mental jabber.
3. Listening to your body: Learn to recognize and mediate your triggers. Our emotions mostly build up gradually rather than appearing at full intensity in a flash. Emotions are experienced in the body, so as we learn to listen to our bodies and recognise when and which emotions are arising – it provides a window to pause and manage your feelings before they take over and wreak havoc with our judgment, rationality and behavior.
4. Rule #6: ‘Don’t take yourself sooo seriously’ – Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility. This one doesn’t need a complicated explanation, you know it’s true and you know this is the way to lightness and ease.
5. Find your mantra!: This is that affirmation, quote or word which really hits home for you and helps you shift your mental and emotional state to a healthier one. Unfortunately the majority of our self-talk is negative and toxic, which serves to only make bad situations worse by amplifying the worst case scenarios and self-criticisms. As this tape gets repeated, it starts becoming a reality for your mind. Every time you catch yourself replaying the same track, switch to your positive affirmation instead. Some which work really well for me are – “This too shall pass”, “I’m safe now, it’s okay”, “The best is yet to come”, “I am always taken care of”, “All is well”. Discover yours and keep it as your wallpaper to provide easy reminders.
6. Gratitude: This is a game-changer. Law of Attraction shows that what you focus on grows. So, finding moments of bliss in the midst of seemingly its-not-so-rosy-let’s-get-real lives can be made possible by training yourself to look for what’s good rather than what wrong. Keep a blessings journal, start dinner conversations with what was good today?, challenge yourself to find the gift in every problem and soon enough you’ll find life giving you so much more to grateful for.
Written by: Mahima Gupta Didwania Clinical Psychologist SACAC Counselling