Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Stay Centered When Life Gets Crazy

There are times in our lives when things can feel overwhelming. It may seem like everything is off balance. You know the old saying: when it rains, it pours!
Here are a few fun things that can change your perspective and possibly alleviate some of the feelings of being overwhelmed:
Start Your Day on a Positive Note
When you first wake up in the morning, bring a smile to your face and see what happens. You’ll notice your entire day will unfold differently. Take advantage of those peaceful morning moments. If you live with other people, try waking up ten or fifteen minutes before everyone and give yourself that time to relax and start your day on a positive note. Take that time to do anything that brings you pleasure, whether it’s writing, working on an art project, doing research for your business, or anything that makes your heart sing.
I’ve never considered myself a morning person but I realized that I actually love mornings, as long as I don’t have to interact with anyone! I love those quiet moments when there’s not much noise or activity and my thoughts are gentle and flowing. My best ideas come to me when I first wake up in the morning. Author Julia Cameron recommends the practice of morning pages. It’s a writing exercise where you literally start writing anything and everything that comes to you. You don’t edit or question any of it. You just let it flow and when you’re done, you’ll find gems of wisdom and brilliance.
Enjoy the Journey
To me this means being fully here in the moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. I recently went to a birthday party on a yacht. It was my first time on a yacht and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It felt so wonderful to be out on the water, feeling the wind and the sunshine, seeing all kinds of beautiful sights like other boats, beautiful bridges, and colorful kites. It was magnificent and I soaked up every second of it. I was not thinking about anything else. I was fully in the present and savoring every moment of it. I wondered what it would be like to feel like this even on ordinary days.
Turn Everyday Annoyances into Moments Of Pleasure
Lots of things can happen that have the potential to set you off in a downward spiral: someone cuts you off in traffic, you choose a slow checkout line, or your work gets criticized. These things usually trigger a reaction that includes feelings of irritation and even anger. Recently I started playing a game where every time something like that happens, I use it as an opportunity to experience a moment of pleasure. This is really fun to do while driving. Every time someone cuts me off or drives slow in front of me, I send them blessings or think of something I’m grateful for. It’s so out of the ordinary and it prevents a downward spiral.
Another level of this game is to reframe a frustrating experience. For example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, consider that maybe they’re rushing because they’re late for a job interview and they haven’t had an interview in months. If you choose a slow checkout line, consider that there’s a hidden blessing in it. Maybe you were meant to interact with that particular checkout person for some reason. Use your imagination to make up stories that make you feel better, whether they’re true or not!
Breathe
This one sounds so obvious, but when you breathe consciously and deeply, your whole body relaxes. Take a few deep breaths and you’ll immediately feel a sense of relief. Do this throughout the day and you’ll maintain a gloriously relaxed state.
Try integrating some of these practices into your day and notice how differently things unfold!

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