I hope this email finds you well and dealing brilliantly with our new state of normal. But hey, don't stress at all if you're thinking "Not really."
The conditions you are experiencing are so outside of our usual state of existence, that even the most centered, optimistic, and strong-willed among us are being challenged. Fear, uncertainty and isolation are a few of the most difficult emotions to overcome. Living with these emotions for an extended period of time can be trying.
Please stop and reread the above paragraph as many times as necessary, until the words actually sink in, and you are really okay with yourself no matter how you are currently feeling. Look upon your experience during this time, whatever it has been, with kindness and compassion toward yourself. Some moments are likely difficult, and we are all doing the best we can.
In the last email I discussed actions you can take to feel better while working from home. The suggestions I made were very practical, and I hope you found them helpful. Recently, however, I was thinking that during a far-from-ordinary time like this, what you may really need is some out-of-the-box tools for coping. You're certainly experiencing a new way of living, so perhaps a new way of dealing with the feelings derived from this will be helpful. Being open to learning new things is the first step toward shifting into a growth mindset, and in this case, discovering more ways to manage the more upsetting feelings you have. So good job! I am giving you a pat on the back in advance for considering some new options.
For all the four alternatives I will offer, you must always start from the same place.
That is, to completely accept what you are currently feeling. By "completely accepting" I mean noticing your feelings:
Below are a four tools to help cope with your current feelings that may be less conventional than what you've previously considered. While they have all been widely used, there is no guarantee they will be effective for you. As always, please do not use them to replace any specific course of treatment prescribed by a doctor or health practitioner without their consent.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or "Tapping it"
Tapping is a technique that combines Eastern and Western philosophy in order to help decrease the specific pain you are experiencing in your body. Practioners have used this method to help people combat both physical pain(such as headache or joint pain) and emotional upset (such as stress, anxiety, even PTSD). When tapping, you first identify your pain and rate it's severity. Then you tap. When the tapping sequence is complete, you re-evaluate your pain, which often feels less severe. The more times you repeat the whole process, the more you dial down your physical or emotional pain.
The general foundation of EFT is the belief that pain in the body is a result of upset energy flow. By tapping with one's fingertips on certain energy points (called meridiens) in the body, the energy flow is restored. While you are tapping on these meridiens, you are also reciting a series of statements that correspond to the problem or pain you have identified. These statements follow a specific pattern:
For a video demonstration of EFT and the tapping points, click here.
It is important to note that several of the tapping points most often used for EFT are on the face. While non-face touching protocols are in place for Covid-19, the face points typically used have been replaced by other meridien points on different areas of the body. To see a specific Covid-19 tapping demo, click here.
Mindset Shifting With Visualizations
As I have mentioned, living with uncertainty is an especially difficult part of this circumstance. For your primitive brain (the part that wants to keep you safe and help you escape from danger), knowing exactly what to expect helps you prepare for the potential difficulties that lie ahead. When your brain can't figure out what's coming next, however, it stays in a state of continued vigilence, filling you with a steady flow of stress and anxiety. To cope, your brain wants you to gather more and more information, so that it will have enough to finally formulate a safe plan for you. This is why you are perhaps glued to the news right now. Your brain is trying to gather enough information to finally figure out what to do next.
And uncertainty always has it's eye on the future. In this time of fear and anxiety, most of your future predictions are negative, so you remain in a stressed and worried state. That's where visualizations come in. With this technique, you vividly picture a positive outcome, and in doing so, calm your physical body and your mind into a more relaxed and happy state. Here's how to use this technique:
This mental shift (referred to by many names, among them: positive visualization, mental rehearsal, and reparative thought) actually slows your body down because it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, signaling the body to feel more calm and relaxed. With a calmer body and mind, you can focus on the present moment and take your next action from a place of increased inner calm rather than from a place of panic.
In a compassion meditation, we are sending good wishes to ourselves, to others, and to the world at large through the use of simple positive statements. During this time of social distancing and isolation, it reminds us that we are in fact, part of a bigger world, and that our collective well-being positively effects all of us. It can also help us shift our attention away from ourselves (where it so often is) by wishing love and kindness toward others. Here's how it goes:
May I be strong,
May I be happy,
May I live with ease.
May YOU be strong.
May WE be strong.
This is a short meditation that allows you to have compassion for yourself and others around you, and to tangibly acknowledge that we are all in this together. In this pandemic, healing thoughts are certainly needed everywhere, and setting the intention to create positivity for all of mankind creates a sense of love, kindness and generosity without boundaries.
Yoga is practice that brings together mind and body in a beautiful way. When you connect your breath to movement, your mind and your body are in sync. Movement keeps the energy flowing through the body, helping to oxygenate your cells and to release calming hormones and endorphins. And yoga requires concentration to do the poses, which keeps your mind focused on the present moment instead of thinking about the past (which can't be changed) or the future (which can't be predicted).
Laughing yoga is based on the principle that the body cannot distinguish between fake and real laughter, and so reaps the same benefits no matter what state of mind actually initiated the laughter. During laughing yoga, laughter is cued and continues throughout the class. Here's how it benefits your body:
Please take care of yourself, and know that I am here to help you during this time. I am offering free Shelter-In-Place phone calls to discuss helpful coping alternatives as they relate to your specific situation.
To schedule a time, just click here.
As always, if you want to learn more about creating the life you desire by developing healthy habits and mindset, and how you can feel great in your body (without losing your mind), hit reply and send me an email, or call me at (201) 803-3257.
I'm also offering a free Discovery Session to discuss your health and life goals and how I can help you. Click here to schedule your free half-hour phone session with no obligation.
In Good Health,