We are all familiar with how we should be taking care of ourselves from day to day. And generally when we stick to those guidelines, we feel balanced, have sufficient energy and enthusiasm for our day and get quality sleep.
But what about for those times where your best intentions have started to slip yet the world keeps spinning that deadline closer to your doorstep and you feel overwhelm? Too easily we can reach for stimulants, expensive supplements or self-medicate with food and drink that we know aren’t giving us much more than empty calories and an even emptier bank balance.
Although acute bouts of stress can actually be healthy for us by increasing resilience and testing our mettle, lack of healthy coping strategies and erratic doses can cause meltdown. We want to show our excellence but suddenly it seems inaccessible.
To the rescue!
Below you will find 5 unusual yet highly effective ways to get your bliss back naturally – without disturbing your schedule or your integrity. Using the senses to encourage you to drop in to the parasympathetic nervous system and deep ‘ocean floor’ stillness that is always present within you, just 5 minutes will feel more like a 30 minute spa treatment.
If you don’t have the office to yourself, find a quiet room…or if all else fails, use a bathroom!
Literally “sun-moon” breath, this potent nerve tonic from the east, is said to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This ancient practice can be tapped into any time you reach overwhelm.
Using the little finger and thumb, breath in and out through alternate nostrils (i.e. in left, out right, in right, out left etc). Your eyes stay closed.
No – this isn’t what you think! Use the incredible sensitivity of the hands – any time, anywhere. Rest your back against something to encourage the nervous system to relax. Take whatever object is available – it doesn’t really matter what – and hold it in your lap, eyes close.
Spend 5 minutes tracing the object with every part of your hand using varying pressures. Notice the powerful effect.
DRAW THE LINE
This is a philosophy bliss-hack; we tend to connect happiness with the idea of freedom being boundless and timeless but actually in reality, although it’s counter-intuitive, setting strong boundaries around a task confines it, opens up a perceivably larger space and helps you achieve it. Set aside a certain amount of time for the matter in hand – and stick to it.
If it is not complete, it’s an opportunity to learn your strengths and weaknesses, negotiate and change lines – not a stick to beat yourself with. Work-life balance is vital for maintaining our well-being and relentless, endless work will not achieve that.
SHAKE IT OFF
One for the cubicle! Put your headphones in with your favourite song and just dance, shake, jump. Animals use this technique (without the iPod) to “body” and release trauma.
The stresses we experience every day are effectively micro-traumas and, unless we shake them off, they remain stuck, leaving us lifeless.
Countless benefits for the heart and circulation, the endocrine, glandular and hormonal system; for those not strong or brave enough for a handstand against the wall, find a private room and either choose Head Down Dog or adopt Child’s Pose.
You will feel almost instantly grounded and ready for that deadline.
And if all else fails, ask yourself this: what can you put into your task that is unique to you, and what can you really gain and learn from it?
Anxiety can originate from procrastination not just regarding an incomplete task but something subtler that has been nagging us, like a different idea we wouldn’t dare share with our colleagues and boss; we stay small, shy away out of fear we may come across as risqué or just be left humiliated. Those are just fears – feel the fear and voice your values! Even if your ideas are not taken up this time, your colleagues will understand what is important to you and you will feel heard.
This blog by: Mark “Prosper” Charlton 11.11.17 [Student, University of Kent]