This is often an area where many people struggle. So how can you maintain your clarity when the emotions are propelling you to make choices that are unhealthy and do not serve the greater good (health in mind, body, and soul).
What Keeps You From Stepping Off The Curb?
Is it willpower? You’ve heard that willpower falters when you are hungry, angry, lonely, and tired (h.a.l.t.). I believe that willpower fizzles when you l.e.t (lonely, emotional, and tired) yourself fall prey to instant gratification. The need to remove the pain or gain pleasure INSTANTLY is what often gets you into trouble.
4 Step Approach To Escape The Tsunami
You can maintain your cool with clarity; however, when you are frazzled (caused by loneliness, emotions, and fatigue) you are more prone to lose clarity. You lose your focus, forget what’s important, make unhealthy decisions and then act on those emotionally inspired decisions. Yet, you can break the cycle and step into clarity with this four-step approach. Break through your emotional tsunami and nix the need for instant gratification.
- Wash your face with cold water.
- Breathe (6-4-2): breathe out slowly to the count of six, inhale slowly to the count of four, then hold for the count of two (repeat until you feel yourself relaxing and clarity returning).
- Verbalize your anchor – that word or phrase that r.i.m.s. (reminds, inspires, motivates, and soothes) you to remain true to your values.
- Then examine the situation mindfully and calmly decide to make a decision that aligns with your health.
Your Values Can Help With Clarity
Your values shape your decisions but even those get lost in the emotional tsunami raging internally. Choose a one-word anchor that means something to you on a deep level, that you value.
I am passionate about h.e.a.l.t.h.and I value my health; thus, I have made it one of my go to anchor words. Prioritizing your health should play an important role in your daily self-care routine and mindset.
To gain the most out of your anchor, use it as a positive affirmation. Repeat it out loud or quietly until you reconnect with that value and you feel yourself responding on a visceral level to your anchor.
Breathing Shifts You Into Relax Mode
When you are upset, your brain thinks threat and responds by sending signals that motivate you to take evasive action. Unfortunately, there is no real threat; yet, you respond by grabbing a beer, smoking a cigarette, or reaching for that bag of chips. The threat is neutralized, and the pain disappears, but your action has unhealthy consequences. Neutralize the threat without sabotaging your health.
Breathing helps to shift you out of the “fight or fight” mode, which is controlled by your sympathetic nervous system, to the “relax-there is no threat” mode. Calmness prevails, and clarity returns just in time to prevent you from sabotaging your efforts of making healthier lifestyle choices.
When Cold Water Is Not An Option
As you read the first step, you thought, I am not in a place to put cold water on my face. No worries, I got you covered on that one. Start by gently massaging your arms. Show yourself some love, sending the message to your brain that there is no need to take evasive action.
Up the impact by smiling as you practice this little self-care routine and before you realize what just happened, clarity has returned. Now you can really smile because you just dodged a potentially health sabotaging bullet.