Take back control of your life with these simple, practical and effective tools
Due to modern technology, we are now constantly inundated with e-mails, text messages and social media notifications. Information and sensory overload, leaves us feeling stressed, anxious and out of control.
In addition, frequent and ongoing interruptions effect the productivity and quality of our work, which may result in the need to rush tasks to meet deadlines and expectations. This further increases the risk of errors and compounds stress levels, which can lead to emotional overwhelm.
If you can relate, below are a seven simple yet highly effective practices (along with examples of how they’ve helped me) that you can use throughout your day to positively influence how you’re feeling, help to manage stress and create a sense of control in your life:
1. Unplug overnight
When winding down for the evening, in preparation for sleep, switch your phone to aeroplane mode.
I intentionally do this so that I’m not receiving social media notifications, text messages or e-mails which cause my mind to race (either with excitement or concern and dread), preventing me from getting a deep full night’s sleep.
In addition, the information you take in just prior to, during sleep and upon waking influences your mind’s programming, which affects your perspective, behaviour, mindset and emotional baseline, either positively or negatively. Therefore it’s important to be mindful of what you expose ourself to from the time you wind down of an evening until you are fully awake of a morning. I switch my phone to aeroplane mode a good hour before going to bed.
The beauty of aeroplane mode is that the alarm function still works. This mode also allows you to play meditations and relaxing music designed to lull you to sleep, or listen to inspirational podcasts and audio books that you’ve downloaded to the Apps you have on your phone.
2. Allow yourself to wake up
Another healthy habit you can adopt is refraining from using your smart devices and computer until you’ve fully woken up. As I mentioned earlier, your mind is in a very influential state when you first wake up.
It’s for this reason, I allow at least one full hour each morning to enjoy a cup of tea (or two!) and listen to an inspirational lecture by one of my favourite teachers. Doing so, sets my mood for the day and allows me to respond, rather than react, to any correspondence I’ve received overnight.
3. Give yourself space to concentrate
Another way you can maintain emotional buoyancy throughout the day is by periodically working offline.
I’ve found this approach to be a very helpful technique whenever I’m writing a piece or working on a project that requires my full concentration. Doing so, allows me to maintain focus, rather than continually being distracted by incoming e-mails, text messages, notifications or calls.
So that I’m not entirely uncontactable, every hour I go back online for a few minutes to check any incoming correspondence and calls. I respond to any urgent or pressing issues. After couple of hours of uninterrupted work, I will then set aside an hour or so of online time to attend to any outstanding matters.
I’ve found that this way of working helps to not only minimise feelings of overwhelm and manage my anxiety, but it also increases my productivity and the quality of my output.
4. Seed your mind with uplifting messages
No, I’m not referring to chanting affirmations. Unless you know how to use them correctly, affirmations can be a complete waste of your time and can actually do more damage than good.
Repeating statements like ‘I am wealthy’ or ‘I am my ideal body weight’ over and over again, when your current reality reflects the exact opposite, creates inner conflict. When this type of emotional resistance occurs it effectively reinforces the subconscious belief and may even exacerbate your circumstances.
What I’m proposing instead is interspersing your day with inspirational videos or podcasts about a topic you are extremely passionate about. Or listening to lectures or interviews with individuals who have successfully navigated similar circumstances and challenges to those you are currently facing.
Doing so will help to create a positive shift in your mindset and opens you up to new possibilities and experiences. Infusing your mind with uplifting messages will assist you to transition from your current day-to-day reality to the life you have always desired.
To accelerate the process, make the most of the periods when your mind is most susceptible to being influenced, and listen to these lectures upon waking and just prior to and during sleep.
5. Experience a new reality, now
Treat yourself to an uplifting and restorative break from your existing reality by mentally designing and envisioning the life you’ve always dreamed of living.
Taking time to intentionally envision a new preferred reality is not simply wishful thinking. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, the act of mentally rehearsing a desired outcome or preferred reality actually creates new neural connections and pathways in your brain that match your intentions. Doing so, he says, changes who you are and you begin to attract circumstances that reflect the neurological changes you’ve created by implementing this method.
For this methodology to be effective, my advice is to put your desires down on paper as a narrative first. Doing so will allow you to actually begin to experience your new reality. Where as, if you simply imagine the circumstances playing out you will be hard pressed to glimpse your new reality in your minds eye for more than a few milliseconds, let alone sense how it would feel to live it.
Describing at length the details of the environment, what you are doing and how you are feeling, as a particular scenario or a preferred outcome unfolds, helps you to not only get really clear about what you want to create, it makes your desire more tangible and real.
Then, if you’d like to really bring your vision to life you might find it helpful to make a short movie of the future you want to create. Watching a movie that symbolises your desires makes it easier to visualise your new reality.
The quickest way to do this is by using Mind Movies online software, which is fun, simple and easy to use. It’s simply a matter of dragging and dropping images and positive belief statements into the software timeline in the order you’d like them to appear on the screen, then selecting the music you’d like to use as a soundtrack. Note: you can also use the same principles to build your movie using Microsoft Power Point or Keynote, if you are a Mac user. However, it will take a lot longer because you will need to write your own belief statements and find images and music. But this in itself is creative project and well worth doing.
Natalie Ledwell, Co-Founder of Mind Movies, believes that going through the process of choosing inspiring images that symbolise your desires and combing them with positive affirmations and motivating music sends a powerful intention out into the universe.
Regularly watching your movie which, she says, should only be a maximum of 2-3 minutes long, will help to amplify the emotion of feeling like you are already living your preferred reality. This acts like a magnet, drawing what you desire into your life.
I encourage you to take regular breaks throughout the day to watch your mind movie, particularly first thing of a morning and just before switching off your device for the evening. Doing so has a two fold effect. Firstly, it will instantly lift your spirits and help to alleviate any stress and anxiety you may be feeling, by drawing you into an alternate inspiring reality. Secondly, frequent viewing acts to fast forward the manifestation process.
Dr. Joe Dispenza believes that once you can visually recall the details of your mind movie whenever you hear the music that forms part of your movie, it means that you have made enough neural connections for your desires to manifest. This event, he says, is a sure sign that what you want is already on it’s way to you.
6. Practise heart centred breathing
Heart focused breathing is another an effective way to quickly reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, anger and emotional overwhelm. According to research carried out by the HeartMath Institute, moving your attention away from your mind and into your heart, changes your heart rhythm pattern and calms your nervous system.
As a former event manger who was responsible for delivering high profile festivals, for an audience of up to 180,000 people, I was very familiar with stress and emotional overwhelm. Aside from health reasons, I needed to find simple, quick and highly effective techniques to keep my anxiety and stress levels in check so I could perform effectively on the job.
Because of the long hours and frenetic nature of the events I worked on, I barely had time to take care of myself let alone meditate. In order to maintain my sanity, focus and energy levels, I made the most of moments I had to myself. The only guaranteed time? When I was using the bathroom!
During those precious minutes alone, I’d close my eyes and begin shifting my awareness from my head to my heart by practising heart centred breathing. This involved focusing on my heart area as I slowly inhaled and exhaled. As I did so, I envisaged Clawed, my cat, who I care about very deeply and love unconditionally. By doing so, I’d instantly start to generate feelings of gratitude and appreciation for his presence in my life. During these moments I was able to detached from the chaos of the day’s events. This practise was enough to calm and centre me.
When you truly reach a state of what is known as heart-brain coherence, everything around you disappears and your mood elevates. It feels as if you’ve had a micro holiday.
7. Dump what’s on your mind
If your mind is in overdrive, your thoughts are scatted and you are being bombarded with negative self-talk I highly recommend investing in a Brain Defrag. It’s a gentle hands on healing service that I provide for clients, which calms and quieten’s the mind and expands your consciousness. Following a session, you won’t project into your past the same way and your fears and doubts about the future will dissolve.
If you don’t live in Brisbane or can’t spare a couple of hours down time, your next best alternative is a Brain Dump.
A Brain Dump is an activity you can do yourself and only takes minutes to complete. It involves taking a piece of paper and writing about what’s going on and how you feel in that moment, no holds barred. What you write is not meant to sound intelligent. Nobody is meant to read what you have written. If you are concerned that someone will, I recommend you burn the page, tear it up and throw it in water, or put it through a shredding device just to be certain. The point of this exercise it to capture your stream of consciousness by writing down whatever comes to mind.
This is a therapeutic process I use throughout the day whenever something is bothering me, no matter how large or small. On the page I complain and whine about my worries, concerns, dissatisfactions and fears. I also pour out my deepest longings, hopes and dreams.
I’ve found that by putting my thoughts, desires and problems down on paper, without looking for a solution, stops them from churning around in my mind. Immediately after a Brain Dump I’m able to be more present. This has also proven to be a valuable tool for helping to fully express myself, even if it is just to myself at first. I’ve found that the more I communicate my thoughts on paper, without censoring myself, the easier it is to articulate my opinion and needs to others.
I’d love to know which of these tools you found the most helpful and impactive. Please drop me a line and let me know.
If you’d like to know more about how can to create lasting positive change and the steps to take to build a life you love, read My Story.
Photo by Jillian Hodgson