Brain overwhelm, and unsettled emotions are experienced by all of us. It comes with this fast-paced, stimulus-drenched, busy world in which we live.
And it’s being made worse by the fears around the Corona Virus pandemic we’re living through at the moment.
Here are four simple steps to help you to press pause and get a handle on the thoughts and emotions that are troubling or overwhelming you.
I want to empower you to realize you are ABLE to tame your mind and feel more emotionally balanced.
The clue is in ‘ABLE’:
L-Let it be
Let’s take each step in turn.
A – Accept: accept the feeling or thought
This idea might sound counter-intuitive. Accept feeling angry or fearful or anxious or scared or frustrated? But surely, I want these feelings to go away you might ask?
Therein lies a problem.
So often we create more tension within ourselves by trying to push away strong feelings, painful emotions or troublesome thoughts.
We add salt to the wound by telling ourselves we shouldn’t feel this way; we berate ourselves; we resist and struggle and add even more power to the emotional reactions.
In Buddhism, this is described as the Two Arrows. The first arrow that hits us is the pain of the thought or emotion. Then we hit ourselves with a second ― even more painful — arrow (and third, fourth and fifth) with our reaction to the struggle, resistance and the dramatic stories we create in our minds.
Or, we push the feelings away or bottle up the emotions because we don’t want to feel the grief or self-doubt or fear.
Ouch! That’s a lot more emotional pain we’re creating within ourselves.
You may be fretting over what might happen in the future during this Corona Virus outbreak. You might be disaster-planning ‘just in case’ scenarios about what would happen if you and/or your partner lost their job.
Maybe you are in the situation where you’ve lost your income source(s) and are petrified about the future.
Now is not the time for denial. We probably would all benefit from some forward planning…
BUT if we struggle against the situation, blame others or ourselves, wish it wasn’t happening and get stuck in the stress response, then we’re in reaction-mode.
Our thoughts and feelings arise from the fear centres of our hind-brains and the blood drains from our fore-brains which are the seat of our logic and empathy.
If you’re having to deal with really difficult situations, you’re going to need to be able to respond with useful action rather than react with fear.
B – Breathe
So simple but so powerful.
When you’re feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or overwhelmed, your breathing will probably have become shallow, tight and fast.
Focus on the out-breath. Release some of the tension.
Let the inhale enter of its own accord (it will!). Breathe out slowly through your mouth and breathe in through your nose.
You’re directly manipulating your nervous system here; when you exhale deeply and smoothly it sends a strong message back to your brain that you’re safe and that you’ve got the situation under control.
Likely this will begin to diffuse the strong emotional reaction, so you can …
L – Let it be: Can you just let the feelings be?
Can you sit with the anger, fear or grief?
Stop pushing them away.
Release the struggle.
When we let go of the struggle; when we stop resisting how we feel, or we stop trying to get the mind to shut up, then waves of release can begin to wash through us.
In giving up the struggle, we let go on so many different levels.
The fists unclench, the jaw softens, the eyes relax, and the tightness in the head releases.
A fresh perspective can arise of its own accord.
Practise surrendering to your busy mind. Give in to the fear and tension.
Let it be, and in doing so you’ll diffuse the power of the grip of stressful thoughts and feelings, and you’ll spontaneously feel more spacious and free.
And then you’re in a better head space to …
E – Enquire: What’s the message for me here?
This idea is important and runs counter to the culture of positive thinking, which has a dangerous tendency to encourage us to bypass strong ‘negative’ emotions in favour of ‘positive’ emotions.
It’s a recognition that our emotions are messengers. That anger, fear, doubt and shame are with us for a reason: to help us to learn.
It’s a sense of ‘opening the guest house’ of your inner being to whatever guests show up, welcoming them in for tea and conversation so you can learn what they have to share.
There are two parts to this enquiry; ask yourself:
1. Where can I feel this emotion in my body? Is the fear showing up as butterflies in the stomach; is the frustration a tight jaw and clenched fists? Learn where the emotions show up. Breathe into them.
2. Why am I feeling this way? Is it a sign I need to change something in my life or something about this situation? Or do I need to accept the situation because I can’t change it?
Or is it a sign to shift perspective — to learn to take responsibility for how I feel? To understand that while other people can trigger my feelings of low self-esteem or anger, the emotions are mine and mine alone to accept, enquire about and let go of? Or is it a habit — a button that’s been pressed ― and I’ve just spiralled off into a learned way of reacting?
In my personal experience, I have found that when I enquire into the messages behind the strong feelings and emotions, I will often discover patterns of behaviour, which have more to do with habitual reactions learned over the years, than what’s going on in this moment!
So, with these four steps, you can reduce your emotional reactivity and learn to find more peace within yourself.
In accepting, breathing, letting it be and enquiring about what’s really going on, you re-train your brain and balance the nervous system.
The mind becomes quieter. You’ll let go of the emotional stress. You can shift your perspective. You’ll become the witness of your inner landscape of thoughts and feelings and gradually become less at their mercy.
Mind Taming Peace Mantra:
I am ABLE to reduce stress and find peace within.
Hi, I’m Stella Tomlinson and I guide women awakening to the call to live a soul-led life.
I work with sensitive, intuitive and empathic women and guide you to reconnect to your wise and wild soul so you can trust yourself to move forward in life on the right path for you….
Through accessing the intuitive guidance available to you through the sacred temple of your body; the wise whispers of your heart and soul; and the divine feminine energies of the seasons and cycles of life as a grounded spiritual practice, you will reclaim your power to live life in a way which brings you joy.
I am a teacher, writer, creatrix and Priestess, guiding you home to yourself and the peace, wisdom and belonging you’ll find when you live from your soul.