Let’s Start with the Bonus Exercise – Look at this photo for one minute, or until you find the ant. If you can’t find it, answer at bottom.
The Complete Breath
I’ll make an entire post about this soon, that goes into far more detail, but the short emergency version is this:
1. Gently blow out all of your air
2. Be empty for half a second
3. Gently, slightly slowly, fill your lungs with air
4. Be full for half a second
Continue doing that, feeling the process of filling and emptying the air, and being aware of the small pause when you change directions. Draw a tiny dot on the back of your hand or inside your wrist – every time you notice it, check your breathing. We breathe too shallowly when we’re stressed. Steady Breathing = Steady Mind.
Stop Everything, Lie Down
Lie on the floor, flat on your back. (Bend your knees if you have a bad lower back). Be boneless. Be heavy. Melt into the ground. Perhaps don’t do this on the subway, but the second you can, do it. I’ve done this at a friend’s house and he instantly joined me on the floor to stretch his back. Never be afraid of being a little bit weird when you need to.
Message a friend right now to get together for a drink as soon as possible. Coffee, tea, wine (just one glass – it’s a depressant). Sharing time and really listening to each other is important for processing what is going on in your world, your mind. Get out of your own head and ask questions about their life. But in the meantime, having that plan, knowing you’ll be having some venting time soon is helpful.
Let Yourself Be Unwell
Treat your mental ailment like a physical illness, just this once. You’re feeling mentally miserable? Then treat yourself like you have the flu. Hot bath, fancy herbal teas, order in your favourite noodles and curl up with blankets and a great movie. Take a day or two off from the whole world. You have to be a fighter most of the time, but once in a while you’re allowed to baby yourself. Whether you can hibernate for an evening or a weekend, take that time to recharge, knowing that you’ll be stronger tomorrow.
New age and trance music can block out the constant mental chatter and slow our minds down to a rational pace. Housework, subway treks, sometimes at work – there are likely several times a day you could be listening to something to chill yourself out. It’s an effective mental filter. Try it for a week and see how you feel.
Oh yeah – there’s no ant. But hopefully you stopped everything, stared into the pretty colours and zoned out for a moment.