Right now, it might be hard to know how to reset and mindfully move forward. There is a lot of hectic chaos happening in the world, and it’s causing heightened anxiety and stress. We’ve experienced a pandemic and are trying to emerge yet doing so feels anxiety-provoking to many. Tragedy, injustice, riots, vehement disagreements, strife… these are just a few examples of current suffering in the world. If you’re feeling trapped and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It’s a common feeling when so much is out of our individual control. Just because the feeling is normal and okay, though, doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to give up or give in to it. Here are some tips to reset and mindfully move forward.
To Reset, Determine What Is, Isn’t In Your Control
Many things are out of our control. This often feels chaotic, scary, and frustrating (this is probably an understatement). While so much is truly out of our personal sphere of influence, there is a lot more that is in our realm of control. We can control our response in each moment, and it begins with what is fundamentally ours: our breath and our perspective.
Begin to tune into yourself, and notice when you find yourself anxious and stressed about horrible external events. This involves knowing how you experience anxiety in your mind and body. Become aware of your unique symptoms of anxiety, and rather than struggling against them, let them be your signal to pause and reset.
When you notice heightened stress or anxiety symptoms, pause and breathe. Turn your attention to your breath. This does three positive things:
- Slows your body’s stress response (the sympathetic nervous system) and activates your inherent calm response (the parasympathetic nervous system)
- Switches your focus from negative, racing, anxious thoughts to the immediate present: your act of inhaling and exhaling (notice the sound of the air coming and going as well as the way your body feels as it fills and empties)
- Gives you control of this moment as you override your stress response and choose your focus
To make your new, calm moment continue into more moments, take your control to the next level.
Regain Control and Cultivate Calms by Remembering Who You Are, Your Strengths
When we stop reacting to the chaos around us and begin to intentionally respond thoughtfully, we renew our inherent power. We all have many unique character strengths to draw on as you deal with negative thoughts, feelings, and events around us. However, it’s easy to lose sight of them in the chaos and resulting stress and anxiety.
As you pause to breathe and reset, intentionally remind yourself that you are
Resilience is the ability to bounce back after hardship. What have you faced in the past that you have survived? Strength refers to qualities within us and external to us (like our support systems) that we draw on to be resilient. Being purposeful drives both strength and resilience. What is your purpose, your reason for wanting to become unstuck and able to regain control and move forward?
Cultivating your resilience, strength, and purpose will allow you to mindfully move forward.
How to Mindfully, Calmly, Move Forward
Once you have reset yourself by calming anxiety (you’ve tuned in to feelings of anxiety and stress, reclaimed your breath parasympathetic nervous system, and reminded yourself of your strengths), you are ready for action. It is taking positive action and doing so mindfully and intentionally, that allows us to become unstuck. In our actions lies our power over ourselves and our lives.
Action is most effective when we thoughtfully choose little things to do in each moment to feel centered and in control. The beauty of this is that it’s the little things that make a big difference. No matter what you are doing—household chores, caring for your child or another loved one, a project at work, shopping for groceries, or anything else that is part of your life—be present for it. Rather than living trapped in your worries about the chaos of the world, show up for the life you can control. Give it your full attention, moment by moment, action by action. While it won’t change many external situations, it will positively change your internal situation and with it, the way you perceive and create the quality of your life
Discover more practical, purposeful tools for resetting, regaining control, and moving forward: