Reflection between meetings. Be deliberate calm when you want
This is where you get concrete help to reflect between your meetings during the day.
Being able to switch to a calm state is an important tool to master, e.g. when you are in meetings and need your executive functions. You use your executive functions to control your behaviour under pressure. And you use them to create and maintain your overview.
Your breathing and thoughts can help you here.
(Questions for reflection start 2.38 minutes into the audio-reflection. You can learn more about your breathing at Yoga-Reflection Pranayama.)
Here's a simple exercise you can use every day. The more you practice it, the better you get at it.
We start with your thoughts: Think about what you want instead of what you DON'T want. And repeat it. If you want to switch to a calm state, then think "I am calm. I am very calm. I keep calm. I enjoy being calm. etc." Be conscious and think at a calm pace - and continue doing it for a while.
Your brain probably thinks that it's a little weird at first, but keep on. Because, eventually it will start believing it. Remember Henry Ford's quote: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
It is your own choice whether you want to believe it or not. You decide if you want to believe.
While thinking calmly, then breathe. If you breathe quickly and shallowly, you start a chemical reaction in your brain that means alarm and you will start to panic a little. Your brain is getting ready to flee or to defend itself.
But when you instead breathe deeply and slowly, you start another chemical reaction in your brain where the opposite happens. Your brain thinks the danger is over and it calms down.
Then you have easier access to your executive functions. And you can control your anger, your anxiety or other emotions much more easily.
Practice makes perfect, and it is easier to train in peacetime than in wartime. Therefore, practice your ability to switch to a calm state every day, and start by becoming aware of your thoughts and your breathing.
Questions for your reflection:
• How does your breathing sound?
• Is it fast and shallow or slow and deep?
• What do you think your breathing is telling you?
• Are you tense or relaxed?
• If you are tense, where are you tense? The stomach, the shoulders, the head, the legs, the arms, the neck. Pay close attention to yourself for a moment.
• If your breathing is fast and shallow - or if you just feel tense and have difficulty listening to your breathing, then take a long, deep breath and exhale - slowly and through your nose. Repeat until your breathing becomes normal. When breathing is normalized, your nervous system is more balanced - and you have become calmer.
Think about the mood you would like to switch to.
• While calming your brain with your breathing, repeat the phrase with the mood you want to change to. And you can always start by repeating the thoughts: "I am calm."
If you would like to know more about your breathing and practice it more intensively, then listen to Yoga Reflection “Pranayama”.
I wish you a nice, focused and deliberate calm.