A favorite writer of mine recently wrote, "Where do good decisions come from? A calm mind" - Yung Pueblo
So how do we calm our mind when we are experiencing a chaotic internal storm? IT sounds so simple but as we all know (if we're being honest with ourselves) this is not always easy. Here are three ways to get out of your head and into the present moment, providing a more secure and calm internal state.
1. Notice how your body is breathing for you. By simply doing this, we are moving into a different part of our brain and being the observer of our experience vs. consumed by it. Next, if you want, maybe see what it feels like to hyper-focus on your exhale. Feel free to just do this or if you want to experiment a little more, maybe see if you can start to add length to your exhale. Try this: Inhale (4 counts); exhale (6 counts). Notice what, if anything, feels different.
2. Scan your body with your breath and notice what parts of you feel supported. Start by noticing your back again the chair or couch that you're sitting on. Or maybe your feet being supported by the ground. Or maybe placing your palms on top of your thighs and feel the weight/temperature of your hands on your body. Try to focus on these parts of your body for a few moments and reflect on how your body is experiencing this support.
3. Notice three things in your environment that you find interesting or evoke curiosity. Describe these objects to yourself in great detail. Notice how curiosity feels in your body. Notice if your breath shifts at all when you're in this state. When we're curious or interested in something, our body is in rest and digest mode vs. fight/flight/freeze. We tend to feel more grounded and stable when we're in this state.
All of these tools are ways to intercept the challenging or stuck thought patterns and drop into the moment throughway of our environment and/or our bodies. These are bottom-up approaches that work directly with our nervous system, which helps bring our nervous system to a calm state vs. a state of threat.
As humans we tend to have this need to just know the answers. We are uncomfortable with the unknown and with uncertainty or grey areas in our life. Being in this space can actually feel threatening and terrifying to our sense of self and well-being. Unfortunately, as humans, we also have to accept that knowing is not always an option for us. If we don't accept that sometimes we simply don't know, we fight a very natural way of being - in the unknown. When we think we need to know something right then and there and try to force the knowing, we might ignite a fight/flight/freeze response. And when we're internally in this space, we will not be able to come to a place of knowing because our bodies are just trying to survive.
What brings on clarity and deeper knowing is when our bodies are in a state of rest and digest. When we are here, we feel safe. When we feel safe, we can be curious about ourselves and people/things around us - including the unknown.
I have worked on this very issue of learning how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable with myself and clients for years. Here are steps that might be helpful to increasing your sense of curiosity in then moment:
If you want to be verbally guided through this meditation, check out my Resource page for the recording.