Individually and collectively, we are exhausted. I find when I feel like this, walking out into nature is a sure fire way to bring about calm, perspective and re-energise my mind, body and soul. When are unable to access a mountain with a stunning view of landscape and lakes, we need something else to assist us when nature is unaccessible.
I give thanks to the work of Einstein and other scientists to have learned that everything in this world is made up of vibrating energy, and recently have deepened my understanding of what it means to be made of energy. It’s through this understanding I was able to develop simple tools to help me feel better.
If we are all made of energy, then emotions are just, energy in motion. Right?. Humans are designed to move and when we move, we feel good. Moving releases endorphins, it strengthens our immune system. Feeling good is the state we strive for, like a river finding its way to the sea.
A river flows where it needs to go, lazily allowing gravity to do its work, leading to the sea. If something stops this flow, water would build and build and build before bursting the banks and exploding downstream. If we place this concept on how a human body works; holding on to worry or anger or fear blocks the energy in our body and it builds and builds and builds, warning us through aches and pains and feeling bad, until it eventually bursts.
I think we all know then what happens.
So I thought; if we are made of vibrating energy and energy needs to flow, then when I feel low… I move the energy? Right! Below are four tools I learned this year to pick me up when isolating heavy feelings became too much.
Tactic number one is so simple, everyone can do it. Although breathing is a function of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)(meaning the function happens without our conscious engagement, just like our heart beat, or digestive process), it is the only part of the ANS that we are also able to consciously control.
The ANS branches out into two functions: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), more commonly known as ‘fight, flight or freeze’ and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), or ‘rest and digest’. As this is all automatic, it’s hard to consciously stop a fight, flight or freeze reaction as we can’t control these systems.
Except we can control the breath.
Conscious breathing is the most practical way to shift our negative mind state and come to a place of calm, the ‘rest and digest’ state. It’s why the first tool in meditation is conscious breathing, to become aware of, and rest the body.
Put one hand on your chest, one hand on your belly and take a deep inhale through the nose, expanding the belly, while keeping the chest as still as possible. Then slowly breathe all the way out through the nose or mouth, whatever is most comfortable, squeezing all the air out completely. This is called ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ and by repeating this a number of times triggers the PSNS into action — guiding our body back into in a calm and restful state.
Laughter is medicine. And scientifically, it’s true. Psychologically, we laugh to antidote fear, as laughter releases endorphins. Laughing moves energy through our bodies; we physically move, sometimes bowling over ourselves in our giggles. Our tummies ache and tears fall down our faces. It’s a muscular workout.
I find that putting on my favourite comedian on Spotify or YouTube helps to shift the downtrodden mood I’m in. So jiggle that belly like St. Nicholas and get yourself into a fit of laughter. Life is meant to be enjoyed and laughter helps to snap us out of the spiralling thoughts we sometimes land ourselves in. So put on that dvd, call your hilarious friend, remember a funny situation you were in, schedule a video call with your favourite people and give yourself a laugh.
Make a list of everything you’re grateful for
When we feel down and out, it is quite an isolating experience. In order to feel better, we want to shift from this isolating experience of lack. The antidote to lack is abundance. Grabbing a pen and paper and writing down all the things, people, appendages, etc. you have in your life will help shift your mood from that of ‘poor me’ to realising just how much abundance there is in our lives.
Start with something simple and small, like having a mind, a brain, a body, a roof over your head, or food in your belly. Then expand it outwards to having family or friends or neighbours you can talk to or love, being able to walk under the trees in a park or garden, watching birds and squirrels, or even being able to make a hot cup of tea. Life truly is about the simple things that happen every day, if we notice them.
No, not move house — although do move house if you feel you need to. I’m talking about moving the body. Movement is also medicine. Just as laughter gets energy flowing through the body, so does moving. Moving the body quickens and deepens our breathing, which raises the heart rate, which pushes blood around the body, releases endorphins, and increases the mitochondrial folds in our cells which strengthens our immune system. When we oxygenate our body to its full capacity — i.e. exhaling like you’re ringing out a a wet towel and then letting the vacuum suck air back into the lungs, we allow for more oxygen to be carried around our body. Air is life. Without it we die within seconds. This movement of energy helps to shift our mood as the endorphins make us feel good.
So move! Clean, tidy, dance, walk, run, jump, twirl, swivel: Move your body.
Contrary to marketing and popular belief, we don’t need anything expensive or fancy to help us feel better. Of course, medical intervention has its place, but if we’re feeling down and out, we have all the tools with us to feel better right now.
We just need to move the energy within us.