Is ‘a good day’ a matter of luck?   

How often do you wake up late, rush about, have a minor accident with breakfast down your clothes, – think ‘it’s SOOO going to be a bad day’ – and it is!  It’s all too easy to let a minor irritation trigger a landslide of bad feelings.  Most of us point to something outside ourselves as the cause of how we feel.   A trigger is one thing – HOW WE RESPOND is something else entirely! 

Every thought and experience you have is interpreted by the body as pleasant or unpleasant, threatening or comforting, and gives you a corresponding feeling.  Two people with different histories, skill sets, even how much sleep they’ve had, are likely to respond to a given situation in very different ways.  What’s in your mind, your thoughts about a situation, is a construct, not the reality, but you respond as if it is..   A memory, a fear of a possible future, even how we interpret the present, is mostly down to the pictures and words IN OUR MINDS!

Even if you start out in a good mood, a shock or challenge could start you on a downward spiral, but if you know what’s happening – in yourself – you have a lot more choice about how far it goes!

What do you first notice when you feel your mood slipping, when stress kicks in? 

  • Shallow breathing
  • Muscle tension – if so, where?
  • Increased or thudding pulse
  • Change in voice tone (thought or speech)
  • Internal pictures of problems
  • Skin flushing/sweating
  • Faster thoughts
  • Nausea

The more you notice how your thoughts create your experience, and your habits maintain it, the more choice you have about your responses to EVERYTHING.  The earlier you notice, the quicker you can reverse the downward spiral.  That’s useful of course.

What is even better is deliberately creating a good state, setting yourself up to have a good day on purpose.   That allows you to make better choices, and leaves plenty of energy to enjoy life, as well as making it much easier to deal with someone else’s perceived  ‘negative’ state or actions.

Here are a couple of simple exercises to set up for a good day, every day.  Then, if something crops up, use them again – the more you practice before you need it, the easier to get back to having a good day when you do!    

Resting the breath:  One of the commonest responses to ‘stress’ is short, sharp, shallow breathing – it is part of the adrenaline cycle and puts/maintains your system on red alert.  This exercise will rapidly stop that. 
Take a SHORT PAUSE after breathing OUT. 
  Just a few seconds resting the breathing cycle after an out breath will create an inner ‘off switch’ for busy thoughts, rapidly turn off the adrenaline response, and give you a moment of choice about what you’re paying attention to.

Think:  “Breathe In, breathe slowly Out, Rest…..   Breathe In, breathe slowly Out, Rest………”   Repeat 3 or 4 times within a couple of minutes and do it whenever you think about it during the day. Go gently, do what’s easy, even just slowing down your breathing helps.  If you can use your abdominal muscles to create diaphragm breathing, and preferably breathe through the nose, that’s even better. 

Do it often, make it your new default response, and your response to just about everything will improve as your mind and body function more effectively.  Because it turns off hyperventilation, you will actually have MORE available oxygen, not less. (Not convinced?  Check out ‘hyperventilation syndrome’ or the BOHR effect on any reputable medical/science site.)

Release tension from the muscles with Progressive Muscle Relaxation.  (5 – 10 minutes)

If you can, do this one before you start the day, and before bed, you’ll go a long way towards preventing the long term build up of muscle tension, which is both tiring and sends messages to your brain that there is something to be stressed about – that negative spiral again. Takes no more than 5 minutes, and you can just pick one or two favourites that work for you if you’re in a rush – oops!    You’re in charge of how you feel – don’t do any exercise that causes active pain!

Bending elbows, bring hands up to shoulders, palms inward.  Notice the level of natural muscle tone in the arms.  Make your hands into tight fists, and squeeze for a few moments.  Notice where tension appears in the arm muscles, and how far up the arm it reaches (shoulder, biceps, elbows, wrist?). Shake hands vigorously for a few moments.  Repeat several times until the muscle tension is only in the hands when you make the fist and finish again with shaking your hands vigrorously.

If you can, look in a mirror and observe the height of your shoulders and their angle from the neck. Raise your shoulders as high as you can, and squeeze the shoulders blades towards each other.  Only hold them the for a moment to register the tension.  Rotate and wriggle shoulders to release.  Repeat several times.  This one may ache a bit, as you release long held tension, however afterwards the shoulders will probably be a bit lower and the range of movement increased.

Seated, with knees supported, lift your feet a few inches off the floor, ankles bent and toes aimed upwards.  Curl your toes under for a few seconds (be careful if you tend to get cramps).  Wiggle individual toes, rotate ankles in both directions.  Wiggle your legs up and down. Repeat several times.

Mindset:  (2 – 10 minutes)  Ideally when you’ve done the breathwork, and  relaxed your muscles, take a minute think about an activity or place that you love.  Notice what comes to mind.  Is there an image?  If so, is it moving, or still, notice how colourful, large, bright, 3D, clear, real etc it is.  Is there any sound, or words with the image?  Even a scent or taste?  Are you looking at the scene as if you were in it, or from the outside.  How good does it make you feel?

Does your feeling improve if you change anything about it?  Make it brighter, or clearer, or closer, or quieter etc.  One thing at a time.  Whatever you prefer, you can keep.  Whatever doesn’t work, just change it back.  Anchor this feeling by connecting to a word, phrase, posture shift, or tune you can hum.   Practice triggering this feeling by using your chosen word etc even when you don’t need it, and over time it becomes your normal, baseline state.

When thinking about the day ahead,   make sure you see the outcome you want to achieve, not what you want to avoid.  At the very simplest level, imagine seeing yourself ending the day with a smile on your face, relaxed and at peace with whatever has happened.  You might like to set up that happy smile for different points in your day – arriving at work, finishing a meeting, relaxing in the evening etc.  It only takes a few moments.  Your unconscious mind will work out the hows!

For specific goals, it’s ideal to visualise it as already having happened (being open to a different, also positive, outcome) seeing it as if through your own eyes, and add lots of the positive qualities to strengthen your connection to it.  Your unconscious mind will co-operate more easily in creating it for you!  Think about a particular goal you’d like to achieve.  See yourself successful at it, happy, relaxed, confident.  Use the same qualities of image/sound you used for the other positive idea.  Direct your mind! If you get a ‘yes, but…’ replace it with a positive message.  Expect to succeed!

Pay attention any time you’re feeling particularly happy, relaxed, energised etc. Whether because you’re having a randomly good experience, or because you’ve created it intentionally, anchor it! Practice it.  Add good feelings to it over time.  

Consider a future where all these techniques have become easy and natural, where you have choices about how you feel, and every day is set up to be a good day.

What will that be like?  How soon will you begin?

For further information regarding 1-1 sessions or workshops, please contact:

Message Jen Tiller, founder of Healerzone

+44 (0)1462 624 160


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