I’m not going to complicate this.
We all get lost sometimes and stray from who we are, our values, and what we know that we know. Here are a few simple steps to get back on track.
STEP 1: NOTICE when you are off
- We are most likely to catch this sooner than later when we have built in the time and space in our lives where we actually check-in with ourselves
- This can happen through a meditation practice, a daily walk, journaling, or just scheduling quiet time to colour, do something creative or to have a bath or self care in some way
- Thankfully, even when we don’t have check-ins built in, we DO still eventually notice when we are off… it just usually feels like a yelling rather than a whisper by then, it is still helpful though!
STEP 2: LISTEN
- Take a moment to be CURIOUS about what is going on for you, make room for whatever is physically or emotionally right there, allow whatever you are needing to deal with to come up and declare itself
- Even if it is not something we necessarily want in our lives, we can’t move forward unless we get a good lay of the land first, so start with listening and taking in all of the information that is available to you
STEP 3: Focus on WHAT YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW
- It is sometimes easiest to go from outside inwards, for example…
- I know I am at my kitchen table
- I know the table is made out of wood
- I know I have long finger nails
- I know I am cold
- I know I am safe
- I know I can handle this etc
The ability to CHOOSE and selectively pay attention or direct our attention to what WE KNOW vs what we don’t, to what WE CAN CONTROL vs what we cannot, is truly like a SUPERPOWER for humans.
Doing this improves our mood within minutes, we start to have more positive and empowering thoughts, and we start to expect more positive things from the future. But it also changes our physiology! It activates the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) within seconds of starting and lowers our blood pressure, slows our breathing and heart rate and in some cases begins to release feel-good chemicals like endorphins.
One example of the benefits of selective or directed attention that is widely studied is the impact of daily Gratitude practices, which improve pain, mood, anxiety, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some have also noted improvements in thinking and problem solving with just sharing 3 things they are grateful for every day.
So it is time to know what you know and practice actively directing your attention!
Until next time!