It's unrealistic to think that we can be bulletproof 24-7 to every little bump in the proverbial road. There are, however, several body-mind practices that can alleviate a lot of interrelationship stressors and replace them with good vibes, better daily performance and more personal satisfaction.
Part of Body Intelligence as a theory is learning how to plug our energy drains and increase our energy gains. In this context, what sparked this post is a series of conversations I have had lately that have revolved around a similar note and that is: all the little things in our relationships that strike us as annoying and just how much energy they drain out of us in a day as well as how many lower quality moments they drive. After all, these moments and relationships add up to make lifetimes.
Many of us mentally experience a few painfully irritating zingers that hit our mindset like static electricity shocks before we even get out of the door in the morning. We’ve heard it before that our reactions to these little annoyances can make or break what happens for us next. We know that we should try to take better control. Easier said than done, right? I agree. Nonetheless, we have to do something about such irritations that invade our peace because life often doesn’t stop with just one stickler. After one discombobulater, it’s all too easy for a second one to hit.
There is an old saying that says when the second “arrow” strikes, the troublesome feelings don’t just double, but feel a hundred times worse. Small annoyances feel big. Potentially good moments head south fast.
So we know we should do something to take control. But once your reactions are attached to your emotions and your body-mind connection streams a strong, self-produced chemical cocktail into your bloodstream, matters escalate and so does negativity. Your chances of being able to reel yourself back from more negativity slim. So what can you do? We don't live in a vacuum. We can't shut ourselves off from other people's thoughts, feelings and actions.
The first thing you can do is make yourself aware of how little annoyances drain your energy. Consider the extent to which they dull your physical and mental acuity – even if just momentarily; sometimes that’s all it takes for things to spiral downward. All this can leave you more vulnerable to the “second arrow,” and contributes to performance strain and other errors that can snowball into other problems – draining more of your good energy and creating a negative cycle that gets increasingly harder to eliminate.
Space prevents a complete discussion of likely ensuing problems, but let’s say this: The unregulated anxiety can evolve from unsatisfied moments and missed opportunities to more serious physical and mental health concerns. Becoming aware is a good first step toward taking the bull by the horns. The best thing you can do afterward – since no one is going to permanently eliminate irritations from their life, including your author – is to prepare in advance by training yourself to react differently. This reminds me of decades of experiences in the dojo (martial arts studio). I mean, in martial arts you eventually realize all of your dojo opponents were trainers in a way, all helping to improve you in ways you didn’t know about at the time. The same can be said of daily relationships.
The following is one simple way to use mindfulness to alter your mindset during those times when someone is pushing your proverbial buttons. The good news is that it can work in a split-second.
Use visualization as a training tool. This technique is one favored in the new mind-body-medicine because it is capable of changing both mental and physical activity. Here’s how you can use it.
Consider any irritating situation and see yourself catching it just a step before you slip into reactive mode – e.g.you are trying to communicate with someone and their tone seems unexpectedly rushed.
Take a slow nurturing breath. This brings your body and mind together and gives you a small current of immediate relief. Repeat these words in your mind, “Peace is a quarter turn away” or make up a similar line. Remind yourself that you can choose to respond with peaceful, mindful energy. Then do so, relaxing your posture and smiling with your eyes or in your mind. Relax. Imagine looking out a window into a beautiful natural environment you have experienced before. Consider the magnificence of having a brand new twenty-four hours to enjoy and live into. Choose the energy you want to feel in this moment. You can do this – it’s only a visualization at this point, nothing has really happened – yet.
You have to practice this visualization often to build it up as a habit in your mind. This practice is important because you want to make your responses reflexive. Then when the situation presents itself in real time, your mind will locate the peaceful solution you have created, and like an ultra-sophisticated computing device, fetch it in and apply it automatically. Your relationships (and life) will sweeten with less effort.
Here’s another nice thing; you will eventually generalize the “formulas” you make and start to apply them as energy balancing patterns to other problematically irritating situations. So you may not be in the middle of communication with someone blowing off your words in a rush and have an ideal natural environment outside your window. However, you will generalize:the pattern of solution: becoming mindful, tagging the magnificence within the moment, thinking and reacting in peace. You will begin to plug the energy drains of anxiety causing annoyances and feel much more energized and good about yourself at the day’s end.
Note: There are many, many more ways to tap the energies that influence our body-mind-spirit connection, starting with taking a look at your body’s full and available energy spectrum. This easy visualization may be just the thing you need to help create smoother relationships at the moment, but we know that with a fuller body energy skill kit, you can start living your best, most vivid life. For an in-depth look at how, you may wish to check out my newest book, Body Intelligence – Harness Your Body’s Energies for Your Best Life.