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Month: December 2020

How to Rebalance Yourself

So you are upset or anxious, or overexcited, now what? Here are your potential options to rebalance your emotions.

Generally, we have 3 options while dealing with our emotions: option 1 turn towards our emotions, option 2 turn away from our emotions, option 3 express our emotions.

Option 1: Turn towards our emotions

1A: Work through our emotions with emotion comforting

This is what I am most familiar with. I expect myself or someone else to comfort me: saying kind words, letting me know everything is going to be okay, echoing my opinions. It works sometimes, but other times my ego gets in the way. My ego will tell endless stories and interpretations of the situation. This option usually takes solid half an hour or even longer and usually involves a lot of crying.

1B: Work though our emotions using logic

This is analyzing your way out of the situation. Maybe self-correcting some thinking traps. Proposing alternative understanding and solutions.
There is nothing wrong with it, but it does not work on me when I, a highly sensitive person, am in full emotional tsunami mode. I usually use this option after I have calmed down to notice what might have triggered me this time.

1C: work through our emotions using body calming techniques

This is the whole reason why I want to write this post.
When we are off balance emotionally, we perceive whatever situation we are in as a real threat. We are in full-on fight or flight mode, that is potentially why emotional comforting and logic might not work.
Calm our body down can let the brain and nerve systems know, okay we are safe. Then it’s much easier for our logic and emotion to bridge again.

Some ways to calm our body down:
2:1 breathing
Exhale twice as long as we inhale. This is one simple exercise we can do to almost immediately calm our nerve system. Long exhale was only reserved for our ancestors who successfully escaped danger, thus it sends signals to our body: we are safe.

A great 2:1 breathing resource https://youtu.be/Lysn2Zoio8Y

Shaking & Dancing
Shake all the excess energy and cortisol out. This approach has long been used by shamanic traditions. In modern days, somatic healing of trauma also has adopted this practice. If you have seen animals in the wild, after they have been chased by predators, they shake in their safe place. That is how they rebalance. Thus shaking & dancing can help us rebalance too.

Additional resource on shaking and dancing https://cmbm.org/thetransformation/resources/

Exercise and taking a bath also work great as ways to calm down our nerves and rebalance ourselves.

1d: work through our emotions using inner body

I just re-listened to the chapter on the inner body from ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckart Tole.
He stated that when we are facing a trigger, before our mind can go on to project all emotions and stories, turn all our consciousness into our inner body. This way we can reconnect with the peacefulness of the present moment.
I tested it out this morning while checking my canker sore. I tend to over-worry about every little body symptoms I have. I go on and on googling about possible diseases and always wind up thinking: oh what if this is cancer.
This morning I remembered Eckart Tole’s advice. I took a deep breath. Pay attention to my hand, then my entire upper body, then my abdomen, then my lower body. That is how you sense your inner body.
Magically all anxious thoughts disappeared. Maybe it is true that the mind and ego cannot exist in the present moment. By tuning into our inner body and the present moment, we short circuit all the crazy stories our minds could have told us.

Option 2: Turn away from our emotions.
This is when we use shows, games, shopping, and other entertainment to get away from our emotions a bit. There is nothing wrong with it as long as we are aware of what we are doing. Sometimes it is even necessary to move away from our emotions after we have fully explored them.
Unfortunately, this option does not work for me usually. Even with a short escape from my emotions, they come back tenfold.

Option 3: Express our emotions
Finally, we can always express our emotions to ourselves with journaling or express our emotions to other people. Calling for help is a natural build in response to threat and danger.
The key here is I am my emotional first responder. If I start to expect others to fill that role for me, I tend to get more upset if external help is not available immediately.
Meditation is a great container to let our emotions out in a safe way.

Hopefully, this blog post can help you rebalance. Remember it is okay to have bad days and we have lots of options and resources to face them.

100 day of meditation- what I learned

1. Detach from expectation

Maybe yesterday I had a great meditation day, but I would not expect the same today. Every day is different. My mood and energy fluctuate a lot every day and that is okay. Stop the expectation game.  give yourself more chance to mingle with reality. In the end, any kind of meditation day is okay.

2. Have a go-to meditation when you absolutely do not feel like meditating

For me, it is a 5-minute box breathing. No matter how tired or uninspired I am, I can always do a 5-minute box breathing. Then sometimes magic happens like what the ‘2-minute rule’ states. I planned to only do the box breathing, ended up doing unguided meditation for 15 minutes after that.

3. Figure out your own meditation time

Just because every meditation teacher says you need to meditate upon waking up, does not mean you need to do it. Of course, give it a try, but ultimately give yourself the liberty to find out what works for you. A little hint is when you have your brain fog the most. You know that feeling, when you are tired, a little more irritated than usual, you know you need to take care of something but you are just sitting on the sofa. For me, this brain frog always happens in the late afternoon. That is when I meditate and it helps me to recoup some energy and freshness to go into the night.

4. Try exploring different kinds of meditations, then mix and match.

There are 3 big types of meditations: mindfulness meditation, concentrative mediation, and expressive meditation. ‘The Transformation’ by James Gordon is a great read on this topic.

If I need to release a lot of emotions, I always turn to expressive meditation first (shaking and dancing) then I might transition into unguided mindfulness meditation.

Recently I started to do a 5-minute concentrative meditation first before I do my unguided meditation. It helps me to quiet my mind and better enter the mindful place.

It is a lot of fun for me to figure out what mix & match I need today to bring me back to balance.

5. You can be your own emotional first responder

With meditation, I learn to be my own emotional first responder. I never dreamed it could happen. When sh*t hits the fan, I always cry myself into exhaustion and/or ask for emotional support from my friends and partner. Now I always have a safe place (meditation) and a safe person (myself or my higher self or my inner wise guide) to turn to when I am upset. The good news is that this safe place and safe person are always with me. Knowing I can face my emotions alone in a safe setting gives me so much strength and comfort.

6. My emotions are valid but they do not have to control me or guide my life.

Being with my (strong) emotions in the safe setting of meditation for me is a way to honor my emotions, to tell them yes I see you, yes you are valid, yes you can feel that way. After this validation process, usually, the emotions start to fade and my logic starts to emerge again. Then I am in a more balanced state to decide what to say or what not to say, what to do or what not to do. 

7. Transcending the good day/bad day binary thinking

Figuring out how to meditate every day has unexpectedly help me to transcend the good day/bad day binary thinking. Now on a bad stretch of the day, I still encourage myself ‘do not give up on today just yet’. Maybe all I need is a little nap or mediation, then I am all rejuvenated again to face the next stretch. Maybe there are not inherently bad days, maybe I just need to figure out how to bring myself back to balance from moment to moment.

8. 100-day project works

For me, it feels like going to a specific playground. I go there every day and naturally I discover how it is different today. I think about playing there a lot so I naturally receive new ideas on what to explore next. 

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