With our busy life, most of us are running on autopilot. One study out of Harvard estimates that we spend almost 50% of our time thinking about something other than what we are doing. Is your attention always in the past or future? Are you distracted? Are you less aware? Do you act based on habit patterns and assumptions? If any of these questions apply to you, you will be interested in what follows.
Here are my 6 favorite practical tools to reset your mind right now.
The first thing to do is to get off autopilot and becoming more aware, more present, getting back on the driver seat, taking back the control of our emotions and our life.
Whenever you are triggered, just take three breaths, it will reset your brain. Just three breaths to refresh, to be more present, to make a choice about what to do next.
Try this with me right now. Just stay where you are. You don’t need to get into your yoga pants and float over a meditation cushion to do it
Nature gave us a powerful gift: the breath. Use it. Deep breathing is known to activate the parasympathetic Nervous System and trigger a relaxation response.
I’m sure you heard a lot about neuroplasticity. It absolutely fascinates me. What we think, do, and pay attention to, changes the structure and function of our brains.
The brain is malleable, even in adults. That’s a fantastic news! We can INTENTIONALLY change the structure and function of our brains with practice.
As a Coach and therapist, I always explain to my clients suffering from depression that the root cause of depression is down to two things:
Start now and observe the way you are talking to yourself. Listen to the words you are using and change them into positive, inspiring ones.
Now think of how many meetings start: people hurry in, thinking about the meeting they just left or the meeting they have next, distracted by smartphones, carrying leftover emotions from things that happened earlier in the day. Maybe you recognize yourself?
A great way to reset your mind is to practice “Minute to Arrive”. If you are feeling overwhelmed before a meeting start, I invite you to say: “I could use a moment to arrive” and ask if others would like this as well. Most likely they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed too. Remain silent for the first two minutes of the meeting, allowing everyone to arrive physically and mentally.
As a Search Inside Yourself certified teacher I have worked with teams in industries like Fashion/ Retail and Luxury but also Technology and Finance who have done this “Minute to Arrive “practice and they have reported that it helps lead them to greater focus and flow. Know more about SIY.
Some of my clients are seeking help to improve their capacity to focus on what they want to achieve. But often what makes it hard for us to feel present is that we are stuck on something. All our attention is hooked by a strong emotion or thought, and we find ourselves preoccupied with it. So how can we develop more “Open awareness” and get off the hook?
Consider the metaphor of standing on a train platform. Your capacity to observe is like you standing on the platform. A “train” then comes by, like a thought or emotion – and the next thing we know, several seconds or minutes passed by because we got totally carried away by that “train of thought”. As a result, we may have lost awareness of our minds, bodies, and people and environment around us. Developing Open Awareness is like remembering to stay on the platform. Observing the train of thoughts and emotions come and go, but not getting hooked by them and carried away. Jon Kabat Zinn have a really nice way to explain this: My thoughts are not the same as me. Thoughts are temporary formations of the mind that come and go. When we recognize this, we tend to not get so hung up on our thoughts.
So just practice this. When you get stuck on a thought or emotion, sometimes the best thing we can do is notice, name it or identify what it is, let it be and not continue to ruminate on it, and just breathe. Thoughts and emotions tend to “self-liberate “in this process.
It all happened to us. We sometimes lost the plot. And this is a very liberating shift I’m going to share with you.
We usually think of our emotions as being us. We say “I am angry” or “I am sad” as if anger or sadness are us or become who we are. To the mind, our emotions become our very existence.
It is very liberating to understand that emotions are what you feel and not who you are. Emotions go from being existential to experiential.
This insight gives us some space from our emotions, allowing to be less caught up in emotions and more self-aware. If emotions are who I am, then there is very little I can do about it. However, if emotions are what I experience in my body, then feeling angry becomes a lot like feeling pain in my shoulders after an extreme workout: both are physiological experiences over which I have influence.
The last tool I want to share with you to reset your mind is most likely the one I used the most, both in my personal and professional life. Being a full-time stepmother has been the most difficult job I ever had. And working in the mental health area can be challenging if you are not well prepared. This tool is to do without moderation whenever you feel distressed. You can do it “in stealth” even in the middle of a conversation. It’s a phrase to repeat while breathing in and breathing out: “Breathing in, I do my best; breathing out. I let go of the rest”. Try it, say the words, and see what it’s like to feel the feeling behind the words. You can do it after a challenging interaction with someone, or when you feel overwhelmed.
If you want to have more practical tools, practice live with me, ask questions or simply connect with link minded people follow Blissup on FB and IG. (Alice Gossé Blissup)
Alice teaches how to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results.
Alice is a HR executive, coach, mentor, therapist, mindfulness practitioner and teacher, public speaker, animal lover, nature addict, wellbeing advocate, wife, stepmother… or for short just a Human Being.