Are you feeling stressed or worried? Are you seeking consolation through difficult times? Life gets hard at times for all of us. Here is my gift to you, all my best tools to bring myself back to more joy and ease when life gets hard.
For a long time I have been learning about the human mind and the human body, with a focus on finding all the tools that can help us and heal us. The tools that can make our lives more joyful. The more I use my tools the easier life becomes. When I forget to use my tools, life gets harder. Here are my best tools for you. If you use them you will feel relief. We don’t need to seek outside of ourselves for support. We have all the tools we need at hand. Here are my best tools for you.
Slow Deep Breathing
The best tool of them all is the one that we all have access to all the time. It’s the simplest tool of them all and the most powerful.
It is slow deep breathing.
All you have to do is stop reading right now and take the deepest breath you can take. Hold it in for a moment. Exhale and really empty out the lungs. Take another deep breath, hold it. Breathe out again, slow and deep.
The trick is to start to catch yourself every time you notice that you are breathing. When you do, take an intentional breath, deep and slow.
This is meditation. This simple practice of deep slow breathing both calms the mind, the nervous system and the physical body.
Through deep breathing you activate the Vagus nerve and your body starts sending signals to your brain that you are now calm and that it is safe to turn off the stress signals.
Feeling grateful can be hard to access when something really hard happens to us. We might be angry, distressed. We might be worried that life will never get good again.
This is where gratitude comes into the picture. There have been done lots of studies of the effect of daily gratitude. The simple act of taking a couple of minutes each day to think or write down 3 or more things that we are grateful for significantly improves our sense of wellbeing.
If we really try all of us can find something to be grateful for. Maybe there is someone that loves us or we have been blessed with feeling love towards another. We had a warm cup of tea or coffee this morning. Maybe we have enough to eat, maybe we have roof over our head. Maybe the sun is out or we can hear birds singing. Whatever we can find to be grateful for is a step towards feeling better.
My Daily Gratitude Practice
I begin each day, before I go out of bed with gratitude. In my mind I go over the things I am grateful for. It is such a beautiful way to start the day. I used to go mindlessly out of bed, in a rush. Waking up just a few minutes earlier, to have time to write your gratitude list, in your mind or on paper is a game changer. Don’t wait! Do it now. Think about 3 things you can be grateful for and try to go into the feeling of gratitude as much as you can.
Mindfulness – Mind training
We are so much more powerful than we think we are. We can train ourselves to direct any thought in a more productive way.
There are so many negative loops going on in our minds everyday. We all have our own little negative mantras that we say to ourselves. “I am not good enough”, “I am fat”, “I am stupid”, Why can’t I do anything right?” “Nobody loves me” etc.
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to start to become aware of our negative mental loops, our negative mantras. When we start to become aware of them we can start working on removing them. What we are not aware of persists.
When we become aware of an unhelpful thought, one that is on repeat in out mind we can talk back to it. It is good to start in a minimal way. If our loop is “I can’t do anything right” we can start by saying “No, that is not true, I sometimes do things just fine”, and then think of an example. It can be anything. For example, yesterday I made dinner, I’m good at my work, I’m a good mother/daughter/husband/friend.
The key here is to stop believing every thought you have. Some thoughts are just old garbage that would be best to throw out. Meditation works wonders for cleaning our mind of old thought patterns.
Moving our body helps to get stress hormones out of our system. When we are going through stressful times there can be a build-up of stress hormones in the body. The best way to get them out is through physical movement. Even just going out for a walk helps the body to start clearing this out. Any kind of physical movement works. If we are stuck at home we can do some yoga, or do some workout that does not require any extra tools.
My go to movement is Kundalini yoga and swimming. I am a Kundalini yoga teacher and I love what it does for my body, mind and spirit. I never imagined I could become this physically strong through just doing yoga.
Swimming is also one of my favourite ways to move my body. In Iceland we have wonderful swimming pools that I love to go to. While I am writing this they are closed because of the Corona virus that has shut down the world. I hope it will not be too long before they open up again.
I have been using essential oils for the last 20 years. I have used Lavender since my older child was born and then I have used a few others, mostly for my bathtub.
Last year I got introduced to doTerra essential oils and I was blown away by the quality and the strong effect they have on me. I had no idea essential oils could be this potent. Now it is the only brand I use and I am so happy that I found them when I did.
Over the last weeks I have been using them extensively. As I am writing this we are in week “I don’t even know” of social lockdown. I got sick with all the symptoms of the virus. I could not get testing because I was not sick enough and they did not have enough testing kits so I don’t know if it was just a cold or if it was the covid-19 virus.
My Essential Oil Kit Right Now
- Lavender – calming and relaxing, antibacterial and so much more.
- Cheer – an uplifting blend of oils, including citrus oils, that lift the spirit and calm the mind
- OnGuard – Support for the immune system in fighting all kinds of infections
- Air/Breathe – Opens up the airways and supports the lungs. A blend of anti-bacterial and anti-viral oils. It also lifts up the spirit.
- DDR Prime – cellular support, it helps healthy cells to regenerate and unhealthy infected cells to die and get cleared out of the body
If you want to order doTerra oils you can get all the information on how to sign up here. I will get a percentage of what you buy but I would never endorse anything unless I believed in in 100% and I have also done the research to see if they can truly be recommended. They are by far the best oils I have found and I have bought lots of different brands over 20 years. If you buy through this link I will also add you to my community so where I eductacte on essential oils.
Mantras is a tool that I use any day. They can really be anything. Any repeated thought or sentence. But what I am talking about here are ancient Indian mantras, mostly in Sanskrit and Gurmukhi.
These are sounds that have been used for up to a few thousand years. We don’t know the origin of many of them. So we don’t really know how old they are. Some of my favourite mantras, however, are just a few hundred old and come from the Sikh gurus.
The way I use mantras are both through recitation and through listening to recordings of them.
When I do recitations I repeat them in my mind or out loud again and again. Sometimes I use a mala, and sometimes I count on my fingers. Sometimes I just keep going, not thinking about how many times I say them.
Here are some of my favourite Mantras:
- Sat Nam
- OM /ONG
- Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru
- Sa Ta Na Ma
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- Om So Hum / Ong So Hung
My favourite mantra artist is White Sun. Here you can listen to their songs on Spotify: Listen
I hope you have gotten some value from this. If you have or would like to share some of your ways of dealing with difficult times, please comment below!
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