Establish a Breathing Habit

How is your breathing? Now that I ask, you might be noticing it. But most of the time, your breathing just happens. Now decide to take deeper breaths. Notice how you feel calmer.

Breathing is interesting because there is a direct two-way connection between your breathing and your emotional state. Your stress level affects your breathing, but your breathing also affects your stress level.

To make sure you remember to take some time to breathe deeply, connect breathing with something you already do. Find some action you take several times a day, and take a few deep breaths before you do it. For example, whenever you pick up your coffee or tea mug for a refill, hold the mug while you take three deep breaths. Getting some good breathing into your life will reduce stress and improve your health.

Send Good Thoughts

Events like those yesterday in Washington D.C. affect many of us, but we can do little about them. Angrily shouting down other people on social media affects you negatively and doesn’t help in any way.

One way to cope is to sit down, close your eyes and think of the people involved. Send them all your hopes for a peaceful resolution. If you are religious, you can pray to your god.  Sending good thoughts will help you and might improve the world.

Practice Media Self Defense

2021 is starting well with more and more people receiving one of the Covid vaccinations. But notice what your media is focusing on: Some rollouts don’t go as fast as planned. Some places faces shortages. One in a million get an allergic reaction to one of the vaccines.

It is obvious that even in the face of a positive trend, the negative messages gets priority. That affects your mental health. Especially if you suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem.

In 2021, you need to practice mental self defense. Every time you are tempted to click on a negative headline, pause for one long slow breath. You will find that most of the time, you don’t need to read that article. Every time you succeed in not clicking, you are winning.

Training Non-Shopping

The shopping season is a good time to practice mindfulness. We’ve just been bombarded with Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, and now the Christmas Catalogs are taking over.

We know the happiness from buying more stuff lasts only for a very short while. But if you are feeling unhappy, stressed, or anxious, you are vulnerable to impulsive over-shopping.

Use this period as a training exercise. Every time you find yet another irresistible offer in your inbox or mailbox, take a moment to feel grateful that you have received the offer. Then feel gratitude for the things you already have. And finally, feel gratitude to the universe for giving you the tools to resists the offer.

Train Your Mind

You can train your body to lift heavier weights or to run faster. You might decide that being stronger or faster doesn’t matter to you, and that’s fine, as long as you maintain a basically healthy lifestyle. 

You can also train your mind. That has such a huge impact on your life that I believe everybody should do it. You train your mind by meditation, mindfulness, or simply relaxed breathing exercises. Whenever I give a talk, have a session with a client, present a webinar, or give a multi-day training class, I always include exercises you can use to train your mind.

You need to find some way to train your mind. You can read books (I recommend my own ;-), listen to podcasts or attend online trainings. I also have a two-hour online class coming up next Monday – you can read more and sign up here: https://vester.li/fcw.