Entries in Breathe (5)
Here are 10 simple, energizing things that you can do the next time you are feeling drained:
- Breathe deeply
- Take a power nap
- Do something nice for someone else
- Just do one little thing that has been on your to-do list and draining your energy for quite some time
- Make a list of the things that give you energy or create a Pinterest Board with that theme
- Watch an inspirational clip on YouTube or Vimeo
- Play one of your favorite songs and move to the groove or sing along
- Make a gratitude list
- Read, watch or listen to something will make you laugh
This past week I experienced some computer “challenges” and was reminded how easy it is to let a temporary tech mess cause stress and interrupt forward movement. This experience inspired me to write and share a few tips for inner and outer work you can consider doing the next time you find yourself facing a technology challenge of your own.
When Your Tech Is a Mess and Causing You Stress…
- Breathe deeply. Repeat.
- Don’t play the “shoulda, woulda, coulda game” and blame yourself for this situation. It won’t help you transform the situation if you are letting your inner critic go on the attack.
- Avoid ruminating on the problem at hand. Going over and over your negative thoughts and feelings about the tech challenge will only fan the flames of the negativity and amp up your anxiety.
- Try not to catastrophize or jump to impossible, fabricated worse case scenarios (e.g. “now that this has happened to my computer, I’ll never get this project done and my business will fail. And I’ll never work in this town again!”). Catastrophizing increases your cortisol and stress levels and reduces your problem solving abilities, limits your creativity, drains your energy and makes you feel worse.
- Don’t throw a pity party. Whining extensively about your technology woes to others will only further drain your energy and make the problem seem even more insurmountable.
- If possible, give yourself a few minutes for a time out and do something to shift your focus. Try doing something different that will give you energy.
- Set an intention for how you want things to resolve and commit to focusing on that compelling vision.
- Neuroscience researchers have found that it is beneficial to notice your emotions when your hot button is triggered and assign a one or two-word symbolic label to the emotions you are feeling (vs. a lengthy dialogue). Research has found that doing this reduces limbic system arousal and in turn, enhances prefrontal cortex functioning that helps us make decisions and solve problems.
- Do something to lighten your mood and reduce the severity of the situation. Smile, laugh, joke or make up your own lyrics to a “I’ve got the computer-technology blues” ballad and sing it out loud.
- Distill the essence of the problem so that you can succinctly describe it to those who can help you resolve it.
- Make a plan for mobilizing so you can get the problem resolved. Start by identifying some of the initial steps you’ll take.
- If you can, take a screen shot or photograph (using your smartphone) of the problem you are experiencing, especially if there is an error message on the screen.
- Check out user forums for advice, suggestions, troubleshooting tips, workarounds and solutions. It can be very helpful to read about similar problems that other users have experienced and solutions that community experts have suggested.
- Contact technical support for your product. If you have an Apple product and an AppleCare plan, you can go to the Apple Support section on www.apple.com, call AppleCare, and/or make an appointment at a Genius Bar at your local Apple Store.
- Call a Geek. Reach out to your most tech-savvy friend or colleague and seek out their advice.
- Take notes on the steps taken to solve the problem and then save your notes somewhere (e.g. Evernote). This way the next time something like this happens, you’ll know how to resolve it. That can be empowering.
- Proactive Step: backup your system daily (e.g. on the Mac, Time Machine can be set up to automatically backup throughout the day to an external hard drive.) Ideally, you’ll also want to sync and backup your devices to the Cloud. Taking these proactive steps can help to reduce the severity of many computer disasters.
- Proactive Step: Keep your software, apps and operating system up-to-date with the latest updates and security patches.
- Proactive Step: Organize your technology, devices, cable, software and purchase/license/warranty information so that the next time you need something in a pinch you can easily find it.
It’s Time to Hit The Pause Button
Consciously hitting the Pause Button is a great energizing practice and one that can be used in a variety of situations. This week, I recommend hitting the Pause Button so you can take a few moments to simply slow down and reflect.
Pausing gives us the opportunity to renew our spirits and revitalize our inner dreamer and visionary. Pausing offers us the chance to take a brief time out from the constant activity of mobilization and to reflect on our possibilities and dreams. This is a key restorative practice for conscious entrepreneuring.
The Practice of Pausing
Find a peaceful spot to take a few moments for stillness. Untether from your technology, it will still be there waiting for you in a few minutes. Put away the to do list for a little bit.
Get comfortable. Feel what it is like to slow down and be still.
Tune into to the sound of your breathing. Take a few deep breaths. Feel your breath flow in with each inhale and gradually flow out with each exhale. Try to calm the chatter of the day, the busyness of the week. Let go of the tension you feel in your body.
Keep focusing on your breath and relaxing into your body.
When you feel relaxed, consider reflecting on this single question:
What new dream or possibility is trying to emerge?
This isn’t meant to be an ideastorming session. You are simply pausing so you can spend a few moments sitting still and listening to your own inner wisdom. Trust your ability to tune into your intuition and your ways of knowing.
Keep breathing into the moment and see what new insights, clarity or affirming thoughts rise to the surface.
Enjoy the gifts that a moment of pause and reflection can bring.
Stillness asks us to take a deep breath. She reminds us to find ways to unplug from time to time. She encourages us to slow down, pause and tune into our breath. She illuminates a pathway along which we can connect to spirit. She opens the door to our soul and our inner wisdom. Stillness offers us a grace-filled invitation to take a moment to step off the roller coaster of life and our chosen professions and to simply be.
It can be empowering and energizing to take a few moments each day to pause and just be. When we are still, we give our body, mind and spirit a nourishing and nurturing gift. We create a space in which we can reconnect with our spirit and revitalize our soul. And we can add creativity and energy to our work.
“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” — Herman Hesse
Find ways to integrate moments of stillness into your daily life and work. Tune into how these moments of stillness make you feel. How does stillness revitalize your spirit and restore your personal energy? What awareness does it bring to your life? What new insights or perspectives does it bring to your work? How does it help you to transform the stress and overload in your life?
Here are some suggestions for stillness:
- Take 3 to 5 deep breaths. Belly expands on the inhale, belly button to navel on the exhale.
- Sip your morning cup of tea mindfully noting the taste, the aroma, the feel of the warm cup in the palm of your hands. No distractions. Just you and your tea in a comfy chair.
- Tune into nature, no matter what the season.
- Sit for a few minutes along the shoreline and simply watch the waves roll in. (Don’t live near the ocean? Then take 2 minutes to visit the “do nothing for two minutes” website. See below.)
- Watch the sunrise or take a moment to appreciate a sunset.
- Spend 3 minutes just sitting quietly, doing nothing more than noticing your breath.
- Take a slow, mindful walk across a lawn with your bare feet and feel the grass between your toes.
- Set aside time for a daily stillness practice. Even 1 minute a day in meditative stillness can make a huge difference.
Consider taking two minutes to be still at your desk while visiting the “Do Nothing for Two Minutes” website at http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/