Staying emotionally and mentally fit is just as important as remaining physically fit. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take intention, dedication, and focus. Here are some tips.
Make You A Priority As part of airline safety, in the event of an emergency we’re told to put on our own oxygen mask first and then help others, including children. Why is putting yourself first important? In order to be able to take good care of others, you have to make your needs for rest, physical activity, relaxation, and spiritual renewal a priority. Putting yourself first is not the same as being selfish. Putting yourself first is practical.
Picture yourself as the center of a wheel. The spokes are attached to and radiate out from the wheel’s center. Imagine the spokes represent everyone who depends on you, family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Without a strong center, the spokes collapse and the wheel cannot turn. The same is true for you. If you do not operate from a strong center, you will burn out and become ineffective. Take a moment each day to treat yourself as if you are important. Learn to say yes to yourself, and make something you need or want a priority.
Stay Calm In a world of unexpected events staying calm is easier said than done. Unexpected situations often require us to think fast and make quick decisions. It helps if we can remain calm. This takes practice. The best time to practice being calm and patient is when things are going well. That is truly the best preparation of all to deal with any future situation, especially an emergency.
To learn patience and calmness, practice being still. Slow down. Take a moment each day to notice your breathing. You can do this anywhere, at any time. Notice if your breathing is fast or slow, labored or easy, deep or shallow. Slow it down. Deepen it. Relax it. Take the time to glimpse a rainbow, smell a rose, or hear a baby laugh. Before you act on a decision, remember: Don’t just do something…sit there. Get calm first.
Letting Go Of Stress When we are faced with a real or imagined physical or emotional threat, we start to feel anxious, overwhelmed or angry. These emotions increase our stress level and, if not released, can lead to headaches, heart disease, insomnia, PMS and depression.
You can relieve stress in just 10 minutes of quiet relaxation each day. This can be as simple as listening to quiet music, writing in a journal, or meditating.
You can also learn to reduce your stress through a technique called visualization. All you have to do is imagine how you would like to feel. Maybe you would like to feel peaceful. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful setting, like a sun setting on the ocean’s horizon. Take a moment to concentrate on it. Maybe you would like to feel content and secure. Picture a scene that evokes those feelings in you, like a mother lovingly holding her infant. Take a moment and concentrate on such an image. Imagine what you would hear, feel, and smell. Do this for a few moments each day.
Reality Is Manageable It’s usually not the situation you are in, but the way you see the situation that causes stress. Most of us blame our stress on something or someone outside of ourselves. If we are late for an appointment, we blame the traffic jam we’re in, not the fact that we didn’t give ourselves enough time to be on time. When we are faced with the possibility of a change we don’t like, instead of looking for the opportunity the change may bring, we tell ourselves what a horrible situation we are in. If we have a negative reaction toward someone else, it’s easy to blame our reaction on the other person instead of looking within and examining our own attitude.
We create our own stress by our reactions to situations. While we may not be able to control our circumstances, with awareness and patience, we can control our responses to our circumstances. So if a situation is stressful and you cannot change the situation, take moment and change the way you see the situation. Remember, reality is manageable. It’s all in how we see it.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to keep emotionally and mentally fit it. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these suggestions. Practicing these tips daily will help transform your life. Go ahead. Give it a try. It’s the healthy thing to do and each one only takes a moment.