Changing your mind can change your life.
Welcome to day 11 of How To De-Stress With Mindfulness.
Here’s where to listen to the audio recording of today’s message.
To download it to listen offline, right click and choose ‘save as’ for this link: Day 11 MP3
How are you getting on so far? Any insights? Any questions?
How did you get on with the ideas and exercises from last time? Fancy sharing?
Week Two: How are you getting on?:
How are you getting on?
And here are all of your week two resources:
Week Two Resources
Today we’re covering the powerful mindset shift I promised you and the second of our emotional first aid techniques.
Profoundly Powerful Mindset Shift
Are you ready for the profoundly powerful mindset shift I promised you? Here goes!
The only thing you need to do today is breathe. Everything else is optional.
Woah! I can hear objections out there! “But I have to x… and I have to y…. and I have to z…. How can you say that?”
Because it’s true.
To stay alive and healthy, we need to breathe. Yes, eating well and exercising and thinking happy thoughts are also important, but breathing is the only bit that’s not optional.
No matter how many hoops we force ourselves to jump through each day, no matter how many ‘shoulds’ we sprinkle along our path, the only thing we genuinely have to do each day is breathe.
No matter how much we have conditioned ourselves to believe we have to do, think or say certain things, if we are really honest with ourselves, we always have the power to choose.
Everything else is optional – our choice – no matter what our mind tells us or how difficult that choice may feel.
If, as children, we were never taught the word ‘should’, our adult experience of life would be transformed.
‘Should’, ‘I have to’, ‘I ought to’ and their friends rob us of our freedom to choose.
We give these words our power and end up changing who we are and what we do, to match our perception of what is expected of us.
We fill our lives with a sense of obligation and guilt, to make sure we meet the requirements of all those ‘shoulds’. I call it ‘should-itis’ – and it’s an epidemic.
But none of this is real!
Yes, countries have laws to govern reasonable behaviour, but most of the ‘shoulds’ we run from are in our minds. They’re an illusion. At best, they’re a guess. At worst, they’re a life-limiting mistake. You don’t have to let your ‘shoulds’ rule your world.
What’s the answer?
“I choose to” is available to us in every moment and can radically shift your experience of life.
‘Should’, ‘have to’, ‘ought to’ and ‘must’ steal our freedom. And they are perhaps the biggest root causes for stress in most of our lives.
‘I choose to’ instantly gives you back your freedom.
Imagine a life where you get to choose everything you do, think and say? Yes, you guessed it, you’re already living it. It might feel difficult at first, but the more you play with this, the easier it gets.
Want To Set Yourself Free From ‘Should-Itis’?
How might it cut your stress levels today if you were to focus on breathing and leave everything else to choice?
Could you allow yourself to feel a sense of relief?
How about going through your current ‘stress list’ and waving a magic wand over each thing on it, reminding yourself that – at some level – it is entirely optional…
…And you can either experience it as ‘having to’ do it, or as ‘choosing to’ do it.
The subtle shift from ‘have to’ to ‘choose to’ could be the biggest de-stressor you ever discover.
How about giving yourself permission to let go of ‘should-it is’ and to move towards experiencing a life full of freedom and choice?
The only thing I have to do today is breathe; everything else I get to choose.
How do you experience ‘should-itis’? Which inspired actions could you take to set yourself free from these old patterns? Want to find out what others are doing?
What’s the cure for ‘should-itis’?
Emotional First Aid – Dealing With Stressful Situations, Fast
It’s really important to have some quick stress-busting tools in your toolkit, to use whenever you need them, whilst you’re working on the root causes for your experience of stress.
Today I’d like to share with you a second ’emotional first aid’ technique that can help you to press ‘pause’ on the thoughts-adrenalin-emotion cycle we talked about in the first email message. It helps you reclaim your ‘choice’ about how to respond to stress.
It’s great to learn this one by using it with ‘little emotions’ – like a 2 or 3 out of 10, so that you’re really comfortable with it and it flows naturally, if you hit a bigger emotion.
Emotional First Aid Technique
This technique is all about using your breathing as an anchor in a storm of emotions. It helps you to rest; to stop; to reflect; to heal.
- Bring your focus back into your physical body.
- Be present, without telling the story, without engaging with the emotion, without resisting it.
- Breathe. Really focus on your breathing.
- Breathe out the emotion, breathe in calm and a sense that all will be ok. It works! Keep going, until you feel a sense of relief.
- If you need someone’s help, get it! You don’t have to do this on your own.
- Be kind to yourself (I’m not asking you to feel kind towards the other person yet!), open your heart, and perhaps ask:
- “What would love do, right now?”
- “What would kindness say to this emotion, this habit, this belief?”
- “What would ‘courage’ or ‘trust’ say or do?”
They might sound like strange questions, but if you let the answers bubble up, without critique, then you might be surprised by your insightful answers.
Don’t judge yourself. Just observe whether it is one of your old auto-pilot programmes that is causing you to react the way you are used to. Perhaps your deepest being is trying to tell you that this is not who you are anymore? You don’t need to keep doing that – which means you’re getting the chance to set yourself free from that old habit.
This short technique can work in under a minute, once you’re used to using it. It will work for you unless, at some level, you’re unconsciously choosing to hold on to the emotion; if you don’t want to let go of the story…
It helps you to release the emotions, so you can move back to a level of clarity that helps you to see the difference between the story; the drama; the projection; and the truth of the situation. It helps you see ‘what’s real’ about whatever has been going on.
If you’d like some more ‘emotional first aid’ techniques, there is a link to another one in the discussion thread for this topic in the online community. It is a deeper-acting emotional first aid process, similar to the one above. It is designed to help you gently, but effectively, release the old story and move towards the future.
Emotional First Aid ~ How are you getting on with these techniques? Any insights? Any questions? And there’s also a link to another one for you, in the discussion thread:
Emotional First Aid ~ How are you getting on?
That’s it for today! Next time we’re going to move into the realm of mindful walking, plus getting into the nitty gritty of how your mind’s stories fuel your stress levels – and some transformational shifts you can make to set yourself free.
Your next email will be with you in 3-4 days.
Wishing you a wonderful week!