Getting in the car on a morning when it is freezing outside is not necessarily enjoyable (unless you're having hot flashes). It can be especially frustrating when it is supposed to be spring! It can be easy to think about the chill slowly creeping under the coat as the car starts up. The mind can’t help but wonder “when is that heater going to kick on?!” or “I hate the cold!”.
Those are the easy thoughts for the brain to play around with because as the body tenses up and tries to retain heat, it is screaming “I don’t like this one bit… it could be dangerous… I’m trying to maintain ideal temperature for functioning here, do something!”. Ignoring that hot mess can be a fight all its own.
It’s a sensory input warning that’s hard to ignore. That doesn’t mean that we must listen to it and play along. There is another focus that is equally optional but much harder to redirect to. After all, if the body was trying to survive, ignoring the warning signs would be counterproductive and possibly deadly. We are wired to detect and process potential threat more than things of comfort.
So, we sit passively listening to what the mind and body are processing instead of noticing the beauty around us. Even the frost on the windows. But, redirecting is also essential for coping and survival. At least to keep our sanity in some situations - like right now with COVID-19. It's not just about the physical.
Redirecting can change our focus towards hope and allow the mind to avoid panic. As long as we believe things will improve and that the difficulty will end, it can restabilize difficult situations while they settle and adjust. The car will eventually get warm and you will be on your way 😊. Same in life. Everything is subject to change.
Everybody is trying to COPE. How do we do that? We think and do. Unfortunately, the more we think about something the more real it can become. The more we do to reinforce that thinking the more it will take over our life. It’s not complicated. It’s science and logic.
What can you do? Look for the good.
Yes, it is about being grateful, mindful, and all that stuff…. but it is also about feeding the mind things that are enjoyable. Things that are perceived as beautiful, good, and calming. Those are things that do not activate an internal physical stress response ergo do not produce difficult emotions and therefore will make you feel better.
No, it is not a Pollyanna attitude. Yes, we can take that to an extreme and land ourselves in constant avoidance. However, the world is always ready to provide us with difficulties, why not take every opportunity to notice the good?
What’s in your line of vision, hearing, mind, and body?
Instead of the pretty shoes, choose the comfortable ones. Walk easier.
Instead of eating-in or a drive-through, make picnic sandwiches and drive to the park.
Instead of scrolling, call a friend to catchup.
Instead of the news, listen to your favorite music or color. Yes, crayons included. Dance in the living room.
Instead of focusing on the mess in your kids’ room, get a boardgame out and play.
Instead of force and convincing, choose peace and let it go.
Instead of working more, do something creative with the extra time.
Instead of judging and assuming, Observe. Ask, seek, and listen.
Instead of rushing, stop. Breathe.
Instead of thinking the worst, believe the best.
Life is good but only if you see it that way.
Set your mind.
Smile at every opportunity.
Make it a habit.
You got this. It’s gonna be ok.
What are you looking for today? Make it something good and dismiss the bad. At the end of the day your mind and feelings will thank you.