TO BREAK THE ANXIETY CYCLE
If it seems like a calm mind is hard to come by when your to-do list is a mile high, take heart. Luckily, if your everyday stressors are sending you into a tailspin, you can learn strategies to overcome those anxieties that may be keeping you from falling asleep at night. The challenge is to make sure you’re ruling your emotions, rather than your emotions ruling you.
Here are four ways to naturally calm down to a state of emotional balance…
1. Change Your “I Am”
When the voice of fear or comparison sets in, notice how your thoughts may be sabotaging your efforts, and then quickly re-tune to a kinder, more gentle approach. Beginning to love the skin you’re in starts by learning how to teach that inner voice to sing a different tune. Being able to turn from “I am having a horrible day” to “I am creating happiness,” is one big step towards to getting out of a negative mindset.
(If you need a little help with changing your “I am,” don’t miss what Kathryn Budig said in our latest podcast.)
2. Count Your Senses
In Susan Albers’ book, 50 Ways To Sooth Yourself Without Food, she recommends focusing on your senses. Here’s how…
• State one scent you can smell.
• Name two sounds you can hear.
• Describe three sensations your body is feeling, such as temperature, the texture of your sweater, your feet against the ground.
• Identify four colors that you see.
• To yourself, begin by naming five things you see in front of you.
Repeat each step until you notice that your thoughts are less clouded by blocks.
3. Look Out The Window
Between finances, traveling, volunteering, baking, and mile-high to-do lists, it can be easy to fill up with discomfort. Even a quick 1-minute meditation can help release negative thoughts and help you focus on joy.
Next time you’re feeling paralyzed by unpleasant emotions, head to the nearest window, look outside, and breathe for 60 seconds. Let go of your thoughts, and slowly observe each of the sounds around you…the music playing, the dishwasher humming, your family in the next room. Once you tune into these specific sounds, you’ll find that your mind stops racing and you will begin to feel an internal silence and peace.
4. Take An Hour
I love the New York Times article featuring George Shultz’ way of fitting in time for quiet reflection. The article state, “When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called:
“‘My wife or the president,’ Shultz recalled.
“Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.”
“…Even before smartphones, this country’s professional culture had come to venerate freneticism. How often do you hear somebody humble-brag about how busy they are? The saddest version, and I’ve heard it more than once, is the story of people who send work emails on their wedding day or from the hospital room where their child is born — and are proud of it.”