In 2020, we all find ourselves dealing with larger amounts of stress during these unprecedented times. Anger is at an all-time high and anxiety levels have skyrocketed as uncertainty takes us down a path of negativity that we never intended on traveling.
It is so easy to get bogged down by the numbers that flash at us on our TV screens and internet sites constantly reminding us that we have little control over what is happening around us right now. So how do you stay clear minded and keep your mindset positive so you can be an inspiration to those who are looking for even the smallest glimmer of hope?
Here are five simple steps to get your mindset on the mend and keep it at a healthy level of optimism even during these times. A big part of this unhappiness and negativity comes from feeling a lack control over what is happening right now, and the only way to cure that is take control back of the only thing you have any control over.
When you realize that the only thing you can really change is your mind, you start to take your power back and your body fills with better feeling thoughts and subsequent behaviors.
Create a Non- Negotiable Morning Ritual
Creating a morning routine will set a positive tone for the day. A simple routine could be to do a quick meditation to quiet your mind along with a few affirmations that resonate with you then conclude by setting an intention for the day. In the beginning, your intention might be nothing more than that you want to feel a little better today, and as you start to accomplish that, your intentions and confidence will expand. By reminding yourself of your intention throughout the day, you will be able to get a hold of any negative thinking before it takes you over. Getting out ahead of mindset early in the day before the stuff starts to hit the fan is the easiest way to manage it.
We have all heard that practicing gratitude helps you feel better, but did you know that gratitude rewires your brain to handle the circumstances that cause stress more effectively? When we move into stress and fight or flight kicks in, we get a surge of biochemical changes in our bodies. It only takes a few seconds for these chemicals to dissipate and gratitude helps brings you back into the moment to help reverse these chemicals by returning our focus to our thinking minds.
When we focus on what is working on our life, it shines a light on that and minimizes the very things that our mind was previously wrapped around in worry. Next time you feel the stress coming on, take a second to be mindful by reminding yourself of three things you are grateful for right now in the moment. It can be as simple as appreciating the air you breathe but can have a profound effect on your stress level.
Get Clear on Your Expectations
One of the things that really stresses us out, is when things do not go as planned. The problem is, we have these expectations in our heads, but we do not always communicate them to the other people that are affected by them. When we discuss our expectations before the actual event takes place, we set the stage to be clear about what we want. This proactive way of heading off stress is effective for both work and home environments where explicit communication can lead to happier outcomes.
Also, check in with yourself to make sure you do not have an unrealistic expectation that revolves around a perfect outcome. This sets you up for more stress as you are sure to be disappointed with that one. Instead, make sure your expectations of yourself and others are clear and realistic for the situation and carry on while keeping the best possible outcome in the forefront of your mind.
Give Yourself a Break
The nature of stress is that it is cumulative, much like filling a backpack over time until the point it is either too heavy to carry or it starts bursting at the seams. The more stress you pile up on top of stress, the bigger the possible explosion or negative affect on your health. We all know this, but sometimes we fail to unload our emotional backpack and release what is in there.
Have you noticed on the days that you don’t give yourself any time between appointments or meetings are the very days you feel the worse at the end of the day? Even taking a five-minute break to gather your thoughts and breathe deeply with your eyes closed, will give your body a chance to settle back down and release some of the stress you are carrying. It will even allow you to set an intention for the next event on your schedule, so you enter it mindfully instead of frazzled or haphazardly rushed running on adrenaline.
Whenever we close our eyes, our minds automatically produce more alpha brain waves which serve to relax and calm our nervous system, in essence unloading some of the stress and worries in our backpack so we can carry on with the next scheduled event in our intended state of mind.
Meditation is a great way to release negativity
Yes, we all know meditation is good for us, but who has time to do it, right? If you make a simple shift in your story about meditation and how it can transform your outlook, mindset and longevity, you might start saying, “Who can afford not to find the time?”
There is plenty of evidence now to show that meditation can improve your health, your sleep and even your sex life by reducing the amount of stress hormones in your body. It also allows you to pull back your lens and see the bigger picture of what is happening in your life, oftentimes taking us out of the minutia of worry that the mind is so beautifully predisposed to focusing on.
Meditation is like clearing the slate, allowing us to choose what we want to focus on for the day. This simple quieting of our mind, whether you spend 5 minutes or 15, offers a reset for our nervous system and gives us the space we need to respond to situations as opposed to reacting from our place of memorized knee jerk reactions.
When you create that space of calm in your mind and body, you get to carry it with you all day long. Meditation has a cumulative affect and over time it creates the feeling of a wave of calm that resides inside of you and a quiet confidence knowing you can call on it throughout the day when you need it most. It doesn’t matter what type of meditation you use, just find something simple that resonates with you, and soon you will start to look forward to your new stress releasing practice.
It is easy to get started and you will begin seeing progress when you deliberately set the intention to release your negativity levels. Choose any one of these suggestions to begin with and add more as you progress. Try writing them down on a notecard and post them in your office to remind you of the choices you have to help cultivate a more positive mindset and watch as it not only affects how you are feeling, but has an exponential impact on everyone around you.
***This article originally ran in the October 23, 2020 post on Physicians Practice***
Author bio: Carrie Rowan is an International Best-Selling Author of Tell A New Story: 5 Simple Steps to Release Your Negative Stories and Bring Joy to Your Life. She is also a certified mindset coach and founder of the STORY method of transformation, teaching people to live more joyfully by rewriting a new and empowering story of their life. She is a teacher and speaker uniquely combining the power of provocative storytelling with live music. Passionate about the mind/body connection, meditation, neuroscience, and life-long learning, she is also a mom to two beautiful teen daughters. You can find out more about Carrie by visiting her website CarrieRowan.com