Sometimes life feels like this: storms, chaos, catastrophe. It seems we move from one “issue,” “challenge,” or “problem” to another. Then when life is calmer our internal “storm” soundtrack is still playing – we live expecting the worst at any moment, waiting for the next crisis. Even when life around us is moving along smoothly and the chaos has passed like an afternoon shower, we can’t relax.
Our mental foot is stuck on the anxiety accelerator.
At these times our internal soundtrack has to be adjusted.
- By breathing… deep cleansing breaths… slowly in through the nose to the count of five and holding it for two and then out for the count of five, making an audible sighing sound as we push the air out and empty our lungs.
- By practicing mindfulness: clearing our minds of what happened yesterday, what might happen in an hour, and focusing on what is happening in the moment. “The world is not ending, the building is not collapsing, I am safe.”
- By celebrating the quiet pause before the next activity: a gift of even a few breaths.
Storms will inevitably come again, but the storms will pass. They always do.
Life may look different after the storm; there may be some emotional debris. But we can manage as long as we adjust our internal soundtrack, letting our foot off the anxiety accelerator and practicing calming behaviors like those suggested above.