How do we react when we experience a stressful moment or feel overwhelmed by multi-tasking or too much information information in the fast-paced world we live in?
We have all been there and in some occasions have reacted by switching to auto-pilot mode or breaking down or hiding somewhere.
The good news is that there are simple ways to control our responses to this external pressure.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”- Viktor Frankl’s Teachings, summarized by Steven Covey
Here are a four tips on how you can choose your own response, whenever you feel a trigger, stress, anxiety or just the need to positively boost your personal (emotional, physical, mental and/or spiritual) well being.
You can use these tips any time, anywhere you are.
Tip 1: Journaling
Keeping our own journal cultivates self-awareness and helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and emotions.
You can start easily your own journal with these simple steps:
- Choose your favorite notebook and pen.
- Keep the notebook for yourself, only.
- Write down all your thoughts (there is no right or wrong).
- When you’re done writing, take a few minutes to read your notes. Write down how you feel now.
- Start with 2–3 minutes per day then increase the time as you wish.
Tip 2: Four Breaths Cycle
Taking long and deep breaths can help us relax and be more present. It provides clarity and calmness in our minds and bodies.
Here is how you can start doing this:
- Close your eyes: take one deep breath in and one deep breath out.
- Take a deep breath during 4 seconds. Count the seconds silently.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Take a deep breath out during 4 seconds.
- Hold it there for 4 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 four times.
- Resume your normal breathing.
How do you feel now?
Tip 3: Mindful Walking
Mindful Walking is a simple technique we can adopt everywhere, even in the most active urban areas. It consists in being aware of our movements and opening our senses to the environment we are in. Focus is on walking itself, not about our destination.
Here is how you can start.
- Ensure you have enough time for your walk. Choose a walking opportunity where you do not need to rush to your next appointment.
- Walk slowly and feel at each step the connection between your feet and the ground, the sensations in your muscles, observe your movements.
- Look up, don’t limit your vision to your immediate surroundings. Analyze what you observe.
- Listen, try to recognize individual sounds around you.
Start with 5 minutes of mindful walking everyday, you will soon feel the benefits.
Tip 4: Listening to Music
Listening to the music we love releases dopamine, a “feel good” hormone, in our brain. It is so easy these days with our smartphones.
Here is a very simple habit you can develop:
- Clear 10 minutes in your calendar when you can be alone, without any external interruption. Set your timer if you have one or simply count the number of songs which represent roughly 10 minutes.
- Sit back, close your eyes, listen to your favorite music.
- Take a minute after this to feel your emotions.
Journaling, 4 breaths cycle, mindful walking, listening to music: you can practice these 4 simple techniques you just read everyday, everywhere. Find the time which suits you best and start small.
Take control of your autopilot.
If you are also interested in personal development this article on what is your ikigai might interest you!
By Fleur Van Unen,
Change Facilitator, Agile Coach and Yoga Teacher