The tiniest problem added to the turbulence of ‘living through a pandemic’ can seem like way too much. These can be the irritations of running out of milk for your early morning nectar/coffee, a burst geyser or a flat car battery (when you are running late for an important appointment).
These examples and MANY more …are the ups and downs of life. If we want to deal calmly, and productively with challenges and adversity, we need ER : Emotional Resilience.
ER helps us handle daily life stresses calmly. Research shows that people who calmly handle daily life stresses are also far better able to manage major life crises.
‘Every game in life is actually played on a 6 inch ground – between your two ears. We live in our mind which is an unlimited area. Life is great when things are sorted and uncluttered there.’
ER tips for your morning shower…
Day One: Flip your thinking 180 degrees
Our brains are wired to fear issues and hence protect us. What’s worrying you? Your brain will easily go to the ‘problematic’ issue/things that need solving. Link these to your hot tap. As you turn on your hot tap -think about the main ‘issue’ in your life that is draining you, making you feel emotionally, physically or mentally depleted.
Then as you turn on your cold tap (which is invigorating) – ask yourself: ‘Is there anyone, anything or a physical activity that can support or invigorate me to help this situation?’
This exercise trains your brain to flip your thinking180 degrees. It’s the art of always seeing the opposite. We can often balance out ‘draining conversations /issues’ by recalling ‘invigorating conversations/life situations’.
Day Two: Your P4TD: Phrase 4 The Day
As you turn on your cold tap, let your brain freewheel and fill in some of these blanks to come up with an empowering P4TD: Phrase 4 The Day.
I am ….
I know that I can …
- I am mindfully present
- I know I can make good choices
- I honour my healthy body
- I am free to laugh a lot today
- I honour my slow, deep thinking
Day Three: Plan Micro -bursts
Again your brain may be ‘tuning’ into the challenges you face in the day.
An extra few doses of more serotonin (happy hormone) will undoubtedly help these. If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail. So plan micro-bursts of activity threaded throughout your day.
- One minute plank on your bedroom floor after your shower.
- One minute of squats every hour next to your desk
- Three minutes of stretching before lunch.
- Six-minute walk around the block at the end of the day.
Motion shifts emotion. Think about the day ahead of you. Commit to ‘micro-bursts’.
Day Four: Plan the 30 min worry dump time
Much of the everyday anxiety and stress we face results from unwanted intrusive thoughts ‘circulating’ in our heads. We often think of these issues ‘over and over again’. These could be as simple as “did I respond to that email / request?”
In the shower, acknowledge these and then plan a specific time in your day to address these ‘intrusive thoughts”. You could call it your ‘worry period’. Perhaps, ‘ring fence’ 30 mins to do this brain dump, while sipping your coffee after your shower. This is liberating for your brain, and it may ease your mind for the rest of the day. Try jotting down these thoughts in a Journal or even speaking them into your phone. Try the free version of Otter: voice to text.
Buy lavender shower gel today for Day 5.
Day Five: Lavendar breathing
The smell of lavender can be very effective in dealing with anxiety and stress.
Benzodiazepines and SSRI antidepressants can cause headaches, dizziness and an effect like being drunk. Lavender, meanwhile, has a relatively quick relaxing influence and no other side effects.
While using your lavender shower gel, combine this with a deep breathing exercise.
Use this ‘counting technique to be in the moment.
- Breathe in for four counts through your nose (lavender gel bottle close to your nose). Hold your breath for 7 counts and then breathe out (through your mouth) for 8 counts. Do this 4 times and then visualize your calm brain helping you through what might be a ‘rollercoaster’ day.
Your mind and the body continually feedback and communicate with each other.
- Taking conscious control of breathing sends a message back to the mind and helps you deal with anxiety and stress.
- So, when you’re anxious or stressed, which is often accompanied by shallow, quick breathing, try consciously changing it to relaxed breathing, which is usually slower and deeper.
- You can count slowly while breathing in and out and try putting your hand on your stomach and feeling the breath moving in and out. Lovely to do in the shower
Day Six: Reframe and ‘release’
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety and stress is to think about situations differently. What’s in store for you today / what does your day ‘hold’ for you?
Most situations can be re-framed and studies show that people who do this naturally — as opposed to trying to suppress their anxiety — feel less anxious in stressful social situations.
- I am extremely anxious about my presentation today.
- Reframe that to: “This is an ideal opportunity to share my plans/findings with my colleagues”.
- I am very nervous about how I will come across in my job interview.
- Reframe that to: “I stand in my power and this is a chance to meet some new people”.
Reframing can be beneficial when anxiety becomes persistent and gets in the way of everyday life.
Day Seven: Get back into your body …tense and relax each muscle group
You may be familiar with the relaxation technique where you think of the various muscle groups in your body – first tensing then relaxing each one. Try this in the shower: hold onto the taps and stretch each foot and then perhaps do heel raises. ‘Fold over’ and touch your toes. …let the warm water massage your lower back. Be imaginative and try different (safe stretches). It’s as simple as that.
This brings you mindfully into your body.
This may help you be ‘mindfully in your body during the day. You will quickly realise when you are for example tensing your shoulders and then breathing deeply while you actively relax them. Practising relaxation techniques in real-world anxiety-provoking situations is hugely beneficial for your mind, your emotional resilience and naturally for your body too.
Acknowledge yourself as an Emotionally Resilient person: someone able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to life’s challenges and adversity whether they are major or minor.