What about darts?
There are two darts thrown at us in life:
- The first ones are inevitable, unavoidable, uncontrollable and can come from people or events – such as a brain tumour diagnosis. They often cause us physical and emotional upset.
- The second darts are those we throw at ourselves as a direct consequence of the first ones. And sometimes we even throw them at ourselves when there is no first dart at all!
I love the idea that there are darts flying around! People’s words and deeds can cause us pain; our own words and deeds can cause us pain; and events can cause us pain. This pain may be temporary and relatively slight (such as when we pull a muscle) or longer lasting and more impactful (such as the death of a dear friend). But we can do nothing about these darts. Nothing at all. we have what we have.
But we can most certainly do something about the second darts – those we throw at ourselves and other people. These are our reactions to the first darts as we add guilt, anger, judgement, frustration, fear, worry and anxiety into the mix. These we can control. With a little discipline and effort.
Of course, these second darts are almost instantaneous reactions and can even occur when there is no first dart. For example, when your life is going well, even brilliantly, thoughts may start appearing to get you to start thinking that this situation can’t last; that you don’t deserve to be well or have a good life for some reason or another; that you may be found out by a new partner or a new workplace; and so on. It’s called self-sabotage and we are ace at it!
By reducing your stress hormones and by activating your relaxation response you will automatically be more able to control these second darts. And then you will be truly calm. And if something comes along to unsettle you, and it will, many times, you will be able to raise to this test, this challenge to maintain your calmness even in a storm.
How can you relax?
A great starting point is to nurture yourself every day. By committing to nurture yourself every day you are sending lots of powerful messages to yourself about how much you value yourself. So I totally want you to challenge any notion you might have about this is selfish and in someway wrong or to be avoided – it is self-love. And should be encouraged.
11 really quick and easy ways to do this:
- Eat a healthy diet and hydrating yourself – refuel yourself with healthy, appropriate food, and sufficient water so your urine is clear.
- Find a refuge or sanctuary – so you can retreat into it for a few (or more) minutes each day. This might be a real place or a place in your imagination – for me it was a lake with a waterfall.
- Exercise – if you can aim to exercise sufficiently to sweat for a few minutes or do do some yoga or Pilates or Tai Chi or even some gentle stretching in a chair or bed. If even this is too much do some hand reflexology on yourself.
- Be with friends and loved ones – will allow you to gain emotional security at this difficult time.
- Be inspired – Read, listen and/or watch inspirational stories and biographies of people you find inspirational
- Sit and walk quietly in Nature – just listen as you do this. If you can’t do this – download some birdsong, some lapping or crashing wave sounds, some gurgling river sounds etc etc.
- Watch some SLO-TV – This is a big thing esp in Scandinavia where they stream on their TV networks (upto 8 hours at times!!) a boat going along the coast, a train travelling through the countryside, a fire burning, a waterfall, trees or grass blowing in the wind, the waves at sea etc etc. No music just natural noise and images. In fact here have been a couple in recent months on UK TV – train journeys in Scotland and another in New Zealand. You can record your own of course. Even watching 30 seconds several times a day makes difference to stress levels.
- Be grateful – Let your first three breaths in the morning before you get out of bed be ones when you focus on three things or people you’re grateful for – one in and out breath per thing/person you’re grateful for having in or having been in your life. Focus on it entirely and feel the gratitude. You’ll understand this after a few days.
- Drink and eat Pacmen – Whenever you take a drink during the day just imagine you’re taking in hundreds or even thousands of Pacmen – those chomping spheres – you can make them any colour you like – their only aim is to get to where your stress is stored in you (your shoulders, stomach, headache, etc) to get there and nibble a bit of stress. They love it and when they’ve had enough they smile and jump up and down! (Some people prefer to imagine taking i v small robots or nurses or magical creatures etc.)
- Head in hands – Place your hands heavily on your head and gently massage your face, head, ears and neck.
- Yawn – Make yourself yawn several times in succession
Find out more about Nigels courses here: https://zest-online.thinkific.com