How we face every moment has an impact on us and others… and in every moment we have a choice.
5 tips to stay grounded through challenging moments when you ask – do I Scream or Smile?
Being present can conjure up images of a mindfulness retreat, or that yummy, calm state of mind one arrives at in the end of an exercise class, or perhaps reaching the top of a mountain on a hike and being one with nature. Or it might look like not screaming out loud in the middle of the supermarket when someone doesn’t honor social distancing and has their mask off.
Truly being present is the willingness to be with what is in the moment. It is a skill that one hones by practicing things like meditation, breath work, and being with nature. What we sow from these practices in the ability to not scream in the middle of the supermarket. Or, better said, the awareness to recognize that there is a choice to scream or not to scream. That choice is consciousness. That choice is being in the present moment and being still enough to realize that we are in control of our response to the now. We might have a reaction to the now, AKA screaming, but the awareness of choice brings peace so that we may choose what our response will be.
Use Your Power of Choice
The supermarket example is something that has become part of our daily lives as we walk through these times of uncertainty. Many of my clients have shared these experiences with me and I too have felt a similar charge of emotions and uneasiness while out in the world lately.
Here are a few tips to help you be present with moments that are a bit prickly. I hope they help you choose wisely and always honor your own personal well-being over the knee-jerk tendency to simply react. The key to remember is that we always have a choice. If we slow down enough to notice the gap between reaction and response, we will remain in the space of conscious choice. This gap is golden; practice being in this gap as often as you can in your life.
Here are ways to stay grounded when you feel swept up in a reaction. After practicing any of these it is interesting to note if you still even have a desire to respond from that same place of reaction or if there is a new response available to you now. Sometimes you might not even remember what you wanted to scream about once you play with these practices.
Five Ways to Stay Grounded
• Take three deep breaths.
• Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
• Taking the time to take a few breaths can soften stressful moments and allow you to stay grounded.
2. Grounding the Brain
- Keeping your head still, glance to the left and note three things you see.
- Still keeping your head still, glance to the right and note three things you see.
- Then glance up and note three things you see and glance down and note three things you see.
- Lastly, continue to keep head still and circle eyes from the right all the way around in a circle and then from the left all the way around in a circle the other way.
- Finish with three deep breaths.
3. Radical Compassion
Notice the individual that you are in reaction to and see if you can find compassion in your heart for this human being.
- Can you find one thing about them that humanizes them for you?
- What can you soften around your possible judgment, or opinion, of the moment?
4. Quick Body Scan
- Feel your feet on the earth and then continue up your entire body as you become aware of your physical being.
- Simply note each part of your body and bring awareness inward with your breath.
- You can internally say something like this: I feel my feet on the earth, then inhale and exhale. I feel energy moving up into my ankles and calves, take another breath. And you keep going all the way up or you can also start from the head down.
5. The Smile Loop
Sometimes just by smiling you can shift your entire experience immediately. It’s okay if it isn’t completely authentic in the moment, you will still reap the rewards biologically and emotionally. The beauty of smiling is the looping effect of it.
When a happy moment occurs, or we simply choose to smile as an exercise, we are telling our brain to fire a neuron that travels through our cranial muscle and carries a signal to our smiling muscles and we smile.
Here’s the cool part, when we smile there is a positive feedback loop that reinforces a sensation of joy. So smile to your heart’s content; literally.
*Since we are all wearing masks these days it is nice to practice smiling a lot because people can see it in our eyes when we smile and it has the same loving effect on humans. So, smile with your eyes.
RELATED: How To Keep Loving What You Do
If You Can’t Change the Moment, Change Your Mind
None of these practices are done with the intention of changing the present moment. They are all practices to be in the now with conscious choice. One of the side effects of these practices is that our relationship with the present moment often shifts and/or softens. This is a true gift to oneself.
For many of us, standing in lines has become part of our daily lives now. All of these practices can also be used at anytime you find yourself standing around waiting to go somewhere you aren’t yet. Come back into the present moment and practice being where you actually are.
Let me know how these work for you and please share with me what practices you use to stay grounded in your present moment.
I wish you conscious choice, mindful moments and a compassionate heart.
Love and blessings of good health to you and yours.
Dove’s boutique studio, Dove’s Bodies, has been an LA institution for more than 35 years. With a background combining decades’ worth of studies in fitness, dance, pilates, martial arts, primal movement, yoga, pranayama, organic nutrition, energy healing, mindful living, intuitive clearing and meditation, Dove is sought out for her unique, intuitive wholistic total-body approach. Dove’s life passion is to guide her clients on their own unique path to wellness, wholeness, and the full integration of mind, body and spirit.
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