The Mind Loops Blog – March 2021
I just went through a very stressful couple of months: I moved. Shall I say more?
As I dealt with all the complexities (inner and outer) of moving to a new home, I was reminded ever-so-clearly why I DISLIKE moving so much. Physically, psychically, emotionally… it’s exhausting. I had to release a lot: Actual physical objects, emotions, fear, hopes and dreams, Mind Loops.
The good news is that I found ways to NOURISH myself through the stress.
Many of us are dealing with tremendous stress as we begin our 2nd year of living through the Covid pandemic, and in case you are too, I share here 3 of the many gems of nourishment that helped me calm my stress and make the situation manageable. I hope they calm and nourish you too.
Don’t be afraid to lean on the kindness of friends.
When you’re stressed, it is vitally important to take care of yourself. And part of taking care of yourself is to accept the help of others – and even reach out and ASK for help.
Accepting help – and especially asking for help – is tough for many of us independent types. Some of us even pride ourselves on our “go-it-alone-ness.” But remember: Giving and Receiving are two sides of the same coin.
Have you ever tried to give a gift to a friend or family member, or genuinely offered to help them with something, only to have your gift or help refused? It feels terrible, doesn’t it? Refusing to receive a gift (in whatever form), can fray a bond between people, instead of build the love and trust and connection between you. So allow others to help you during this stressful time.
What kinds of help can you ask for? Well… what do you need? Here are 3 main areas of help:
- Physical: While preparing for my move, I accepted my friend’s help to pack things; he brought take-out dinner a few times; he made sure I got out for a walk every evening. On moving day another friend came early to help me deal with the movers, start cleaning my apartment with me, and add levity. Physical help for you might mean grocery shopping or running an errand, making dinner, writing or sending out emails, or acting as an “accountability partner” for you to get out and exercise.
- Mental: This can be anything from helping you problem-solve a situation or brainstorm a creative idea, to “de-story-ing” a Mind Loop you’re dealing with (more about this in my book, “How To Stop Negative Thoughts”). Or how about helping you sort through one of those AWFUL tech disasters that make us all want to pull our hair out (computer issues, frozen cell phone, internet not working etc)? For some people, this stuff is EASY! So let them help you with it.
- Emotional: Oh goodness, are friends good for this department, or what? Allow others to help you “take a load off.” Tell them you just need to vent for 5 minutes. (Warning: Do not go TOO long or you’ll get stuck in a Mind Loop). Ask them to simply listen and say, “Uh-huh. I get you. I understand.” It’s weirdly relieving. Or ask them to bring you flowers. Or send you a little care package. Covid-allowing, ask your friend to knead your hard-as-rock shoulder muscles (mine needed my friend’s ELBOW to get through them!). Or to just come over and watch a funny movie with you and share a glass of wine.
The point is: Please DO NOT go it alone if you’re really stressed out. It’s not weak to ask for help. We all need each other. Allow your connection with those who care about you to grow stronger, by being open to receive their help, love, and care.
Tell your brain to TAKE A BREAK.
When we get stressed out, our brains go on overdrive. They get all heated up and start looping like crazy, and when it’s time to finally go to sleep, they can’t turn off. Then we lay in bed and get even more stressed out because our brains won’t shut up and the anxiety loops are unleashed and we toss and turn and toss and turn…
So pretend you are the employer, and your brain is an exceptional but hyper, workaholic employee. And you know that this employee sometimes obsesses on things, and when that happens they begins to make mistakes or come down with a cold, or get snappy with others. So set your mind (“employee”) straight and tell them:
“Brain, this is NOT the time to work on this issue. We will deal with this at the appropriate time. Which is in the morning (or “at 6pm” or “in 15 minutes” or “after we finish this walk” – whatever you deem the “appropriate time”).
Or say: “By law Brain, you MUST take a break at such-and-such a time. You MUST take a break for lunch. And you MUST take a break when you lie down at bed at night. Those are the rules.”
However you word it, basically tell your mind to “punch out” when it’s overheating and trying to problem-solve too much. And when I say, “tell your brain”, I mean to literally say this out loud to yourself. Believe me, your mind/brain will listen. Shut if off for a sec! Give yourself and your mind a break! Take a deep breath in that interval. Even better, add in #3:
Move your body.
Stress congeals in the body: In your tight shoulders and neck (ugh!), in your chest (ever have trouble taking a deep breath?), in your stomach (fear and anxiety reside there).
So get into your body. Massage the areas I just described. Notice how you can take a deep breath again, and feel less of those stress jitters in your stomach and shoulders.
Move your body every day. Whether riding a bike, yoga, a 7-minute workout app – or a simple walk in your neighborhood – which is often my personal savior.
Getting outside for your movement is ideal if possible, because you have other things to look at other than your home or office where everything reminds you of your stress. Instruct your brain to LOOK at the trees, homes, color of cars… LISTEN to the birds… FEEL your feel on the ground… SMELL the fresh air or a blooming flower.
Get INTO your body again – and OUT of your mind.
If you incorporate these nourishments into your life, your stress WILL diminish and become manageable again.
I hope whatever is causing your stress calms down soon. In the meantime, know that I send you good energy!
Author of the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Contributing author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences