Some days it feels as if we are slaves to the onslaught of negative feelings and thoughts. They can be so strong that it's as if we are caught up in a ceaseless tornado of internal noise. Our bodies may feel heavy and hard to move, or tight and constricted, or jumpy and restless. It can last for hours or days. It can feel unbearable.
And yet, we can bear it. Each of us is strong enough to weather this storm. And we can gain skills to feel the underlying peace and ease that exists, even within the storm. Like finally coming in to a warm and cozy house after running through intense wind and rain outside, we can find the place of comfort within ourselves. Here are five steps to help find that shelter:
Stop. That's it. Stop. Take a pause. Whatever you are doing (unless it's something like driving, and then the first step would be to pull over) just stop for a second. Take a break.
Breathe. Take a slow breath in and feel your body connected to the world. Count to four as you breathe in, then count to four as you breathe out. Use the inhale to bring in fresh air in order to unstick any thoughts or feelings that are stuck inside, then let the exhale take them out and away from you.
Feel. Notice any feelings that arise. Like a wave on the beach, allow the feeling to come, then allow it to go. Like the waves of the ocean, the waves of emotion come and go. Even the enormous, strong, scary waves crash and then are gone. Feel yourself standing strongly, unaffected by the waves. Even the strongest waves that may knock you off your feet will pass. You will stand up strongly again. The waves come and go, but you stay, strongly, separate from the waves.
Choose. From this space of strong centeredness choose something that will give you pleasure. It can be as simple as a new thought you pick up and hold in your mind. It can be a song that creates happiness when you listen to it. Choose to call a friend, read something uplifting, go for a run, sit in a peaceful spot, or do anything else that brings you joy. The most powerful antidote to negative emotions and thoughts are positive ones. Choose thoughts and behaviours that build more positive emotions.
Repeat. The negative emotions and thoughts will return. No matter how much we want them to leave forever, they will be back. And then we can choose to repeat the first four steps. And repeat them. And repeat them. We are strong enough to gain peace and joy even in their midst. And remember, success isn't measured by the amount of negative thoughts and emotions, but by our willingness and ability to work on finding ease and peace in their midst.
*We are all doing our best. With empathy, education and effort we can make our best better*
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