Find Balance After Being Triggered – 6 tools to use

This is a re-blog of a post that I found helpful to come back to. As we continue through these difficult times, more and more stress and distress will impact us all. Over the next few weeks, I will share practical posts to help us navigate the lows of life. May we all find our middle ground.


It is part of our human nature to become annoyed and angry when we feel threatened or things don’t go our way. Irritation and frustration seem to go hand in hand with the demands of life today.

We humans also have a “fight or flight” response when we feel threatened. It helped our ancestors survive when facing sabre toothed tigers. Nowadays, we can have the same response when someone cuts us off on the road, a colleague takes credit for a piece of our work, or we feel we are being treated unfairly…

Whether the threat is real, or in our imagination, the mind and body reacts in exactly the same way.  Our brains and bodies are flooded in a chemical bath. There is a rush of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream, blood is sent to the extremities and the heart, digestion is put on hold, muscles tense. We are ready to pounce or run!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness” ~ Viktor Frankl

“You can’t stop the waves but your can learn to surf” ~ Jon Kabat Zinn.

ooOoo

Here are 6 tools you can use to calm the body and mind’s response to center yourself:

1. Breathe. At the first moment you realize you are experiencing annoyance or anger, bring awareness to your breath. Take several full breaths focusing on the exhale to release that tension and energy. Then slow it down. Making the inhale and exhale long and even.

This will help invoke the body’s relaxation response and give you time to access your higher brain for making a decision on how to proceed.

deep breathing

2. Calm Body and Mind. Try these calming techniques for body and mind.

  • Bring a hand to my belly, to encourage fuller breathing and to feel more grounded. I also like to put a hand on my heart to initiate a mammalian soothing response. Try it and see. Feel the warmth from your palm and allow it to calm and soothe your heart.
  • Bring a finger tip to your lips can also have an immediate calming affect on the body
  • To create a new neural pathway in the brain . You may also like to add a word to say or phrase on the exhale. For example “release” or “let it go” or “have patience” or “be calm”.
  • If you are more visual, then bring to mind the image of someone you love or a place that calms you. Have it on your smart phone, ready to be accessed in a moment.

Take a moment and reflect on what would work for you…

3. Release the Tension Our body also needs to release the energy build up that is part of the fight or flight response. Animals naturally shake off this tension after conflict, but we humans have lost that natural ability to release it. Moving your body is important. Get out of your head and into your body to deal with the physical response.

stretch

Here are some examples:

  • Find a private place to practice sun breaths (full movement of the arms with the breath)
  • Stretch the body! Stamp your feet into the ground then reach for the sky. Imagine the energy being released downwards and then upwards.
  • Run up and down stairs
  • Get outside for a walk or a run.
  • Practice “meshing”. Visualize yourself as porous as a mesh screen. As you encounter strong feelings welling up (for example, anger, fear, resentment), let the feelings pass through your body. Observes the intense feelings moving through.
  • Pretend you are in a sitcom, and appreciate the humor in every absurd situation. The challenging times are often similar to scenes in a bad comedy, especially if they are of our own making. Laugh about it. Laughter releases physical tension too!

Take a moment and consider what would release tension for you…

man reflecting

4. Reflect. With blood now accessing your higher brain you can reflect on what has just happened.
Where is the emotion coming from? Is there a history behind it?
Explain it to yourself. “I’m annoyed right now because ….” This reflection may be enough to detach yourself from the emotional reaction. Don’t be quick to judge, based on your own reaction. You don’t know what the other person might be struggling with, or what is going on in their life. If you are cut off in the car, it may be that that person really does have an family emergency.

5. Switch Perspectives. Be an observer of the situation. Imagine you are an observer and play back what just happened. Let go of judgment or getting caught up in your side of the story.

Be the narrator of the scene that just occurred. Notice when emotions come up and try to step back into the observer role again. Keeping a detached distance will allow you to find your center and balance. 

Try to see the other person’s point of view. Don’t be quick to judge, based on your reaction. You don’t know what they might be struggling with or what is going on in their life. If you are cut off in the car, it may be that that person really does have an family emergency.

6. Have a Mantra or Axiom. Choose a go-to phrase that means something to you that will help you maintain this observer mindset: Here are some examples:

  • Everyone wants to be happy.
  • This person is acting this way because he thinks it will make him happy.
  • People who are a pain are usually in pain.
  • Recite the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  • Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Trust in time. What seems bad now will not always be so.
  • Lighten up. Things happen. Don’t take it all so seriously. What really matters here?
 Ask yourself “Is this worth fighting for” or is there something more important here.
  • Which is more important – Being right or this relationship?
  • Move from reaction to action. What part have I played in bringing this about? What can I do to make this better?

Take time and reflect on what would work for you…

ooOoo

Having a set of tools to use in the heat of the moment is really helpful, but will only help at that moment. Research has shown that having a regular practice of meditation helps us to step back and access this observer mindset so that we find our balance more and more easily.
 With practice over time, we will not react so strongly as we accept all our emotions as our teachers and friends.

Namaste

Inspiration – Cultivating Joy

pexels-life-of-pix-2469
Free photo from Pexels.com

“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have. Most of the time we don’t do this.
Rather than appreciate where we are, we continually struggle to nurture our dissatisfaction. It’s like trying to get flowers to grow by pouring cement on the garden.”

~ Pema Chodron taken from “The Places That Scare You”

Do you find yourself thinking about the things that aren’t going the way you want and complaining about circumstances, other people … yourself?

Next time you catch yourself resisting or resenting, imagine that you are pouring cement on your garden. Take a deep breath and appreciate simply being here and being alive. 

Open your heart
And put away the cement mixer.
Feel the load lighten.
Let this nurturing space
Bring joy and loving kindness
To nourish every part of you.

Spring will come again

Let the world keep turning.

IMG_0310
Namaste

The Insanity of the Human Condition

crowd

Wisdom from Adyashanti worth repeating. Written before 2016.

“In no way can I deny the insanity of the human condition. And yet, because there’s so much insanity, so much unconsciousness, it’s possible that there’s also the other side of it.

Life is always balancing itself out.

So, while all of this is happening, there’s also this undercurrent of people all over the place who have a deep and profound interest in the ultimate nature of reality in themselves—and they are realizing it!

Not only is that now happening among a wider variety and number of human beings, it’s also happening more and more outside of hierarchical institutions.

I think there’s something within all of this, something very authentic, that’s breaking down the barriers between every person and our ideas of what a spiritual person is. It’s sort of a silent, quiet revolution that’s happening.

But even though there’s a lot of awakening, I don’t know if that means we’re at the dawn of some beautiful renaissance age or that the human species will totally selfdestruct. I can see it going either way.

I do think that in our deepest heart we don’t actually want to contribute to the insanity around us. Our nature is, if anything, to be a contributor to sanity and wholeness, to bringing that into manifestation.”

~ Adyashanti

May we stop contributing to the insanity around us and come from our deepest heart.

Bring on the silent loving revolution towards wholeness.

Namaste

Life in Balance

life in balance

 

Whenever you come across a difficult situation,
or encounter a difficult person,
or find yourself in a difficult yoga pose …..
Pause and bring awareness inwards.

Notice rigid thinking or tense feelings
Contraction in your body or around your heart.

Take a full breath in and a long full exhale of release.
Let softness flow through the whole of your being.

Nourishing and restoring
Life in balance

 

Reflection – Life is of a Mingled Yarn

I wrote this post some time ago, and now the time seems right to publish it. After all, this is a weekend where the cycle of death and everlasting life is celebrated around the world.

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”

~ Shakespeare – All’s Well That Ends Well, Act IV.Scene 3

When we separate the good and ill yarns, life starts to unravel

We suffer

Yet, when we accept it is part of the natural balance

We find solace and hope

oo0O0oo

As I was looking for an image to reflect today’s reflection, I came across this amazing James video animated by Ainslie Henderson. I found it so creative and deeply moving. Let the love filled tears overflow if you are ready today.

 

* Inspiration – Love and Wisdom

flow of life

“Sometimes I feel I am everything, I call that Love.
Sometimes I feel I am nothing, I call that Wisdom.
Between Love and Wisdom
my life continuously flows.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Such a beautiful way of looking at life in balance.

Let us all keep flowing between Love and Wisdom.

Namaste

* Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste

I woke up this morning with the first sentence of Desiderata clearly in my mind.

 

 

Today of all days here in the USA …

autumn leaves on ground

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

~ Max Ehrmann c.1920 Desiderata

Find Balance After Being Triggered – 6 tools to use

Its part of our human nature to become annoyed and angry when we feel threatened or things don’t go our way. Irritation and frustration seem to go hand in hand with the fast paced demands of life today.

We humans also have a “fight or flight” response when we feel threatened. It helped our ancestors survive when facing sabre toothed tigers. Nowadays, we can have the same response when someone cuts us off on the road, a colleague takes credit for a piece of our work, or we feel we are being treated unfairly…

Whether the threat is real, or in our imagination, the mind and body reacts in exactly the same way.  Our brains and bodies are flooded in a chemical bath. There is a rush of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream, blood is sent to the extremities and the heart, digestion is put on hold, muscles tense. We are ready to bounce or run!

fight or flight

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness” ~ Viktor Frankl

“You can’t stop the waves but your can learn to surf” ~ Jon Kabat Zinn.

ooOoo

Here are 6 tools you can use to calm the body and mind’s response to center yourself:

1. Breathe. At the first moment you realize you are experiencing annoyance or anger, bring awareness to your breath. Take several full breaths focusing on the exhale to release that tension and energy. Then slow it down. Making the inhale and exhale long and even.

This will help invoke the body’s relaxation response and give you time to access your higher brain for making a decision on how to proceed.

breath awareness

2. Calm Body and Mind. Try these calming techniques for body and mind.

  • Bring a hand to my belly, to encourage fuller breathing and to feel more grounded. I also like to put a hand on my heart to initiate a mammalian soothing response. Try it and see. Feel the warmth from your palm and allow it to calm and soothe your heart.
  • Bring a finger tip to your lips can also have an immediate calming affect on the body
  • To create a new neural pathway in the brain . You may also like to add a word to say or phrase on the exhale. For example “release” or “let it go” or “have patience” or “be calm”.
  • If you are more visual, then bring to mind the image of someone you love or a place that calms you. Have it on your smart phone, ready to be accessed in a moment.

Take a moment and reflect on what would work for you…

3. Release the Tension Our body also needs to release the energy build up that is part of the fight or flight response. Animals naturally shake off this tension after conflict, but we humans have lost that natural ability to release it. Moving your body is important. Get out of your head and into your body to deal with the physical response.

Here are some examples:stretch

  • Find a private place to practice sun breaths (full movement of the arms with the breath)
  • Stretch the body! Stamp your feet into the ground then reach for the sky. Imagine the energy being released downwards and then upwards.
  • Run up and down stairs
  • Get outside for a walk or a run.
  • Practice “meshing”. Visualize yourself as porous as a mesh screen. As you encounter strong feelings welling up (for example, anger, fear, resentment), let the feelings pass through your body. Observes the intense feelings moving through.
  • Pretend you are in a sitcom, and appreciate the humor in every absurd situation. The challenging times are often similar to scenes in a bad comedy, especially if they are of our own making. Laugh about it. Laughter releases physical tension too!

Take a moment and consider what would release tension for you…

man reflecting4. Reflect. With blood now accessing your higher brain you can reflect on what has just happened.
Where is the emotion coming from? Is there a history behind it?
Explain it to yourself. “I’m annoyed right now because ….” This reflection may be enough to detach yourself from the emotional reaction. Don’t be quick to judge, based on your own reaction. You don’t know what the other person might be struggling with, or what is going on in their life. If you are cut off in the car, it may be that that person really does have an family emergency.

5. Switch Perspectives. Be an observer of the situation. Imagine you are an observer and play back what just happened. Let go of judgment or getting caught up in your side of the story.

Be the narrator of the scene that just occurred. Notice when emotions come up and try to step back into the observer role again. Keeping a detached distance will allow you to find your center and balance. 

Try to see the other person’s point of view. Don’t be quick to judge, based on your reaction. You don’t know what they might be struggling with or what is going on in their life. If you are cut off in the car, it may be that that person really does have an family emergency.

water lilies in calm water

6. Have a Mantra or Axiom. Choose a go-to phrase that means something to you that will help you maintain this observer mindset:

Here are some examples:

  • Everyone wants to be happy.
  • This person is acting this way because he thinks it will make him happy.
  • People who are a pain are usually in pain.
  • Recite the Serenity Prayer. ““God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  • Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Trust in time. What seems bad now will not always be so.
  • Lighten up. Things happen. Don’t take it all so seriously. What really matters here?
 Ask yourself “Is this worth fighting for” or is there something more important here.
  • Which is more important – Being right or this relationship?
  • Move from reaction to action. What part have I played in bringing this about? What can I do to make this better?

Take time and reflect on what would work for you…

ooOoo

Having a set of tools to use in the heat of the moment is really helpful, but will only help at that moment. Research has shown that having a regular practice of meditation helps us to step back and access this observer mindset so that we find our balance more and more easily.
 With practice over time, we will not react so strongly as we accept all our emotions as our teachers and friends.

Namaste

* Life is a Series of Highs and Lows

sitting and feeling

“Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground”

~ Val Boyko

Life, with all its ups and downs can take us away from finding wholeness, well being and contentment every day.

We get caught up in the distractions and commotion around us, and lose connection to our inner being and the wholeness of spirit that resides there.

Finding our Middle Ground is about pausing and connecting with this harmonious inner spirit.  For many of us, this is sitting in meditation or practicing yoga or tai chi . For others, it might be walking in nature, patiently waiting to capture the perfect moment of light and beauty with a camera, or taking time on your train commute to close our eyes and bring our attention inwards.

When we slow down and pause in a quite place,  we learn how to simply be, beyond our thoughts and time itself.

This is so good for the mind, body and overall wellbeing of our small self. We recognize this to be a real stress reducer!

As we find more time for pausing and simply being in the moment, we begin to connect to our higher Self and the Spirit or Source within all of us. It becomes a life re-generator where we free ourselves from striving, anxiety, and trying to fix things and control the world around us.

The more we let go, the more we draw in love, kindness, joy and peace.

Doing it now and again is good for your wellbeing.

Having a regular practice will transform your life.

Namaste

* Inspiration – logic wisdom

 

logical mind

“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore

bandaged hand

 

Conscious awareness prevents the need for bandages and brings life into balance.

~ Val Boyko

Listen to your heart and intuition. Be safe out there.

* Tao Wisdom ☯ – fire and stillness

sunset in winter

Fiery sunset in Waterlogue

 

Movement is necessary to overcome the cold,

But when excessive movement threatens to set the world aflame,

Cool stillness will bring things back to order.*

 

Wise words for the ever changing weather outside and within us all.

 

* Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 632-634). . Kindle Edition.

* A Health and Safety Announcement

fast and furious car~

Fast and furious
Full throttle to the next curve
Wait – do your brakes work?

The faster you go
Check your stop-ability
Before its too late

Its an investment
To slow down and simply stop.

Find your Middle Ground.

~

This pause is the place of refreshment, nourishment and renewal for mind body and spirit. Without it, we go through the habitual rushed motions of our day. Not only do we exhaust ourselves but we lose our ability to focus, be creative and generate fresh ideas.

As you launch into your week, take time to find your middle ground and connect with your true self.

This was a health and safety announcement from your higher Self.