In my last post, How to get more of what you want, I mentioned that you get more of what you focus on. If you are experiencing an unpleasant emotion, you will only feel it more and more if you continue to focus on the source of what is causing it. If you find yourself emotionally upset and want to know how to calm down quickly, here’s a little exercise that I have found helpful.
I know this method works, because I just did it myself, and it is the inspiration for this blog post. You’ll notice that, instead of ranting, raving and venting about what was making me so upset, I have chosen to focus on pleasant and constructive things…instead of smashing my phone to little pieces, which had just gone through my mind.
Setting the Stage
The brief exercise that I am about to describe works much better if you set the stage for it. It is a breathing exercise where you repeat a few words to yourself.
How you set the stage is by having a time of meditation in the morning, when you are most calm, and envision a pleasant scenario for each of the words. Make the scenario as real in your mind as possible by involving all of your senses. In that way, your subconscious mind has an emotional grounding to associate with those words when you breathe deeply and repeat them.
After your morning meditation, when you find yourself in a situation where you have an opportunity to calm down emotionally, bring the words to mind as you breathe. To begin the exercise, get yourself in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
You will be taking a deep breath in while you say one of the words to yourself. Your subconscious mind will bring the scenario that you imagined, earlier in the day during your meditation, to mind.
When you release the breath slowly, imagine releasing the unpleasant emotion you are feeling.
Take as many deep breaths as you have words – one word per breath.
The idea is to neutralize the unpleasant emotion you are experiencing and return yourself to a state of calm relaxation. If you need to take action, you will at least be in a better state of mind to make a good judgement about what action to take.
Below is a list of four words that I chose to use today. For each word I have described what I associate each word with. You can use these words, or choose your own. Maybe you want to come up with an acronym to make your words easy to remember.
I am not a slave to my emotions or compulsive behavior. I have the freedom to choose how I will react to any situation, and I take ownership of my decisions. I am responsible for how I feel, think and act.
I am free to move about as I wish. There is no law against kindness. I cannot be locked up and thrown in prison for controlling myself. I can soar as a free bird, and that feels great.
This breathing thing is easy. In fact, taking the best course of action makes life seem easy all around. Can being in control really be this easy? I believe it can. That makes me feel good that I don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops just to experience some pleasant feelings.
Breathing is as easy as feeling the ocean breeze blowing through your hair (if you have any!) Nothing makes me feel more at ease than imagining being at the beach watching and listening to the waves caress the sand on the shore.
Right here, right now, in this present moment, I am comfortable. All my needs are met. Whether it is my physical needs, spiritual needs or emotional needs, I know that I am loved, and in that fact I can take great comfort.
I don’t need anything more than what I have right now to feel comfortable. I am amply supplied. If I don’t have in my immediate possession that which I need to feel comfortable, I only need to ask, and I believe whatever I need will be provided with no hesitation.
As the highest form of energy, peace surrounds me as a warm blanket. It brings light and calm to my innermost being.
I imagine sitting in a fishing boat with my dad in the very early morning hours, just before the sun comes up. The lake is completely calm – like glass. There are no other boaters on the lake. No one else is up. We are far from any city noise. All is calm. All is bright. The only thing missing is the round yon virgin and a holy infant. But the fish are biting, and that’s nice.
We tend to want to lash out when we feel like we are out of control. In taking a course of action where we neutralize negative emotions – like the one described above, we can regain control. In short order we will find that we have calmed down quickly – in the amount of time it takes to take a few deep breaths.