I’m not perfect. I’m not trying to be. I am trying to be a better person all round.
I was having a conversation with a friend about food, no big shock there, and we were talking about eating as a lifestyle. The way we are can be determined by our food; the impact on our thoughts, emotions and behaviour can be hugely influenced by what it is we consume. I started to think of how good food and mindful thinking could be my way of living and generally a lovely combination!
Being sensitive to stress and a very impatient person I’ve been learning to be calm through various methods and with support from my wonderful partner Doug. So, as this blog isn’t all about food I thought I’d share what has worked for me.
Primarily what food I eat makes a huge impact on how I’m able to deal with challenges, for example if I’ve had caffeine I’m more likely to react impulsively to a situation. But as importantly to food, my brain and body react to breathing, as innovative as that sounds I’m on to something here! During daily meditation the importance is placed on focusing on each breath, and that’s helping me to become more patient and tolerant.
So here’s what I do when I’m feeling challenged:
1 – Ask myself this question “Do you want to feel this way?”
I’ve never said yes here. During the time I take to ask myself this question and answer it I’ve already slowed down my emotional response to the situation by taking a deep breath in and a long exhalation.
At the point of admitting “no I don’t want this feeling” I’m taking that slower and longer exhale. I’m already that much calmer so I can start to see the situation and a solution. By taking just a moment to ask myself a question I breathe whilst I answer. Inhaling for a count of 2, exhaling for a count of 4. Repeat until the edge has been shaken off and a solution can be thought of.
2 – Walk away.
If I’m in a situation that’s physically presenting unwarranted stress I just get up and walk away. Of course this doesn’t mean if someone needs help or there’s a real crisis happening. I mean the type of situation where you can walk away, if you’re being harassed by a smart alec, or on a packed train and feel incredibly uncomfortable with being in someone’s armpit. Change your route, cross the street, get off the train. Make this choice by asking the question in #1.
3 – Press stop.
Have you ever had a time when a comment from someone is on repeat in your head? Your brain isn’t a tape deck with a loop feature, you can press stop! See #1. (You can even decide to rewind the tape and record over it with something a lot more positive).
Along the way I’ve found some fantastic resources, check them out if you want to change your perspective on life, calm, stress and habits:
- Various Ted Talks from www.ted.com
- Book: Mindfulness: Be mindful. Live in the moment. By Gill Hasson
- Book: Emotional Intelligence By Gill Hasson
- Book: Quiet. by Susan Cain
- Book: The Chimp Paradox. by Prof Steve Peters
- An article a day from: www.zenhabits.net/archives (http://zenhabits.net/patience, http://zenhabits.net/balance)
- Meditation via Headspace – They offer a 10 day free course here: www.headspace.com
- Quora – what a wonderful source of discussion and information!
Making emotional responses logical and reasoning with myself to control the situation by breathing and asking the question in point #1, for me, is the key to becoming more calm. I’m still not super patient but I’ll get there… Practice makes perfect… sense!