My son recently said to me, “mom, I wish your business was not about all of the peace and love stuff.” – Spoken like a true 14-year-old! LOL
My response to him went something like this:
AJ, my business is all about peace and love, joy and happiness, because I had so much depression and anxiety earlier in my life. And, I had to learn to heal myself so that I could live with peace and joy. Now I share that with others.
He seemed to understand and accept that. But, he brings up a good point.
Life is not always peace, love and joy. AND SOMETIMES WE DON’T JUST GET TO “CHOOSE JOY” LIKE SO MANY INSTAGRAM POSTS TELL US WE CAN! Sometimes, sorrow, anger, frustration and any host of negative emotions can choose us! Our life circumstances can be rough. Our hormones can wreak havoc with us. Our health can pose challenges for our emotions.
In other words, snapping our fingers and choosing how we feel is not necessarily an option!
But, we do have a choice about the actions we take on a daily basis to help ourselves feel better. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about the recipe of mindfulness and mindset actions that work for me to get me through the days when life hits a rough patch.
When my friend Synomyn hosted a workshop on rituals in my Empowered Through Peace Facebook Group she talked about how people need a constellation of things in their lives to help them with mind-body-spirit balance. That is the essence of what I’m talking about as well. In my life, I have not found that there is any one thing that will “fix” my mood. I need to employ many different practices to help me stay at peace. When life gets tough, I often need to draw on even more practices.
Here are the mindfulness and mindset practices that I found serve me the best:
- Staying in a one day, one hour, one minute, or even one moment-at-a-time mentality: In 12-Step programs they talk about how a person can do anything for one day at a time. There have been times when I have had to focus on just getting through the next few moments. This is mindfulness at its most hardcore! But, it can help move a person to the other side of really scary emotions.
- Breathing Deeply: Whether we think it’s working or not, deep “belly breathing” not only helps us get through the moments, but it also works behind the scenes giving a sense of relaxation to our parasympathetic nervous system.
- Guided Meditation: It can seem very difficult to meditate when you are having anxiety and/ or depression on any level. Often, the “committee in the mind” won’t shut-up. That is when I bring in either my own mantra, or, if that doesn’t work, I listen to a recorded guided meditation conducted by someone else. If my mind will allow me to focus on my own mantra I will say a positive word or affirmation for myself on each inhalation and each exhalation. Feeding my brain with the oxygen of the breath and the positive affirmation brings a sense of relief that can last throughout the day.
- Yoga or Mindful Movement: Any type of movement where you are able to breath deeply and concentrate on your movements will bring about a relaxation effect. Sitting or lying down meditation is known to be more effective after practicing a mindful movements. If you don’t know how to do yoga, just stretch, walk, dance, move. But, concentrate on the movement.
- Stay Busy With Self-Nurture: I know, some of you are going to be saying, “but wait Jen… didn’t you write a series of blogs about breaking out of the business rut?” Yes, yes I did… But, what I’m talking about here is different. When we are in a state of heightened anxiety, it can be difficult to keep worry at bay. If we stay busy not only with our regular activities of daily life, but also with things with which we can nurture ourselves, we can keep our minds occupied and not allow them to worry into a catastrophe.
- Eat Healthy: When we are stressed our brains crave food that will give us energy. Those cravings can lead to repeatedly reaching for sugars and simple carbohydrates. Unfortunately, while those foods will give us temporary energy, they will not sustain that energy. Thus, we will end-up eating more and more. Too much sugar or simple carbs will ultimately drain us over time because of the roller coaster ride they put our blood sugar through. Instead, reach for proteins, complex carbohydrates and high vitamin and mineral foods (usually brightly colored fruits and vegetables). These foods will give you sustained energy over longer periods of time and will not spike and plummet your blood sugar.
- Seek Out Feel-Good Entertainment: Whether it’s reading a good book, watching a funny TV show or listening to an uplifting podcast ~ like Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday ~ distracting the mind with mood-lifters is another way to avoid over worrying. I often listen to an audio book in order to fall asleep at night.
- Seek Out Positive People: When life gets rocky it is especially important to seek out positive people to be around. Having a supportive community is known for being essential to emotionally healthy living. When I had a recent emotional downturn after basically failing a graduate school class, I drew my friend tribe around me and they helped me to figure out what to do next. Be careful of those people who will bring you down though. Try to keep them at arms-length if not further away! For more about the importance of positive people and how to find them check out my blogs Building Your Support Tribe and Where To Find Your Support Tribe.
- Nurture a Pet: A friend of mine recently adopted a puppy. Right after she did so, her life hit a rough patch. At one point she expressed that she wished she had waited to get the puppy until after her life settled down. I responded that I think it is actually a good thing that she has the puppy during the hard times. Research shows that animals are very good for reducing stress! That’s why they allow therapy dogs to come into nursing homes. Animals are funny, they can make us laugh. Petting and caring for a pet is very soothing for humans as well. And, having something to focus your attention on besides your troubles is a very healthy distraction. Of course, if your life is in transition and you may move to a place that you cannot have a pet, don’t adopt one only to have to rehome it later. In that case you can get your animal-time in by volunteering at a local shelter or visiting a friend who has a pet that is friendly and loves to be petted.
FIND YOUR RECIPE
Try out the practices that make-up my recipe for hard times. But, also seek out other ingredients for your recipe. The key to creating a delicious – in this case effective – recipe is to experiment and test things out!
Let me know what you find? Do the ingredients I use work for you? Have you tried others that work as well if not better for you? I would love to hear what they are!
And, as always your “likes” and “shares” are always welcomed with a TON of gratitude!
With Love & Light!