What makes you tick? What makes you smile? How do you find a release when everything feels like it’s on top of you?
It’s so important to allow yourself an escape…
Not a literal escape in terms of a trip or a holiday (even though that would be nice too)… I mean something you can do in the midst of life to grant you a release from pent up stress, or pressure, difficulties that are present in your life, emotions that you are suppressing or anger that is making you irritable etc.
What’s that one thing that makes you go…. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh – followed by, that feels so much better now? And no… I’m NOT talking about sex.
If you don’t know what it is that gives you a sense of release, freedom or just a time out, you need to find it. It could be several things and the more the better – the more you have in your ‘coping’ tool kit the easier it will be to ‘reach for something’ when you most need it.
Do you feel that sometimes you are so ‘tightly bound’ in a big ugly knot and want to feel freedom from within and to feel lighter on your feet, lighter in your chest, lighter in your mind??? Then you need to find your release – something that will work for you.
The feature picture inspired me to write about this topic. This is my daughter and I on a rollercoaster up at Dream World on the Gold Coast. The feeling I had that day was nearly indescribable, however, I’ll give it a go…
Fear, clenching tightly and not knowing what was to unravel before me, it was both exhilarating and daunting. Half of me wanted to get off, the other half wanted to have ride after ride without lining up again. One thing was for sure, when I weigh up the experience… I felt free – free as a bird! The wind was in my hair, I was screaming (as you can see), I had no control and I didn’t care. It was a few seconds of absolute bliss, a rush of blood and a thrill that brought the greatest joy within and a huge big smile to match that sensation. For me, things like that make me feel so grateful to be alive. Everything was magnetized; I looked at my family that day and I just felt like the luckiest girl on the planet.
I believe that is the key to having Gratitude in life and for our life. I believe that we need to feel that sense of release and freedom to truly see what is before our eyes. It’s like having mini wake up calls amongst the daily grind of life – if we don’t have our eyes open, we miss things and we underappreciate. We don’t get to be at the top of our game or be the best version of ourselves. A release sought regularly, assists us to unwind and clarify what is sometimes hidden – hidden behind a haze of fog, buried in our stress and tension.
The fact we don’t have a rollercoaster in Wagga Wagga, means that I need to be able to get that sense of freedom, clarity and perspective from other outlets.
Here I share what I use to cope better in times of difficulty or stress, what I can do to feel sharper, more present and happier within. What works for me does not necessarily work for everyone, however, it may allow you to consider your own releasing/coping tools:
- Several BIG, deep, slow breaths.
This seems so basic, however, breathing was my lifeline through my battle with cancer… I had to breathe through every difficult decision and every difficult procedure that I didn’t want to endure (I acted like a rebellious child after I saw the chemotherapy room – I swore to my husband that I was never going to do it – I wasn’t going to do chemo… clearly I was highly emotional in that instance… I took a few deep breaths and I found the courage before my first treatment). When life all gets a bit too much for me, I stop and I breathe. (Give it a go now… take five big deep breaths, slowly – how do you feel)? I use this in my daily life and the best thing about this; it can be done anywhere, anytime. It slows you down and brings you back to earth PLUS no one even knows when you’re doing it.
Yep… just smile… hold it…. Hold it…. Do you feel happier? Sounds so silly, but I use this regularly; I call it my ‘smile therapy’. It is suggested that smiling increases your immune system due to the chemicals released; it also heightens or elevates your mood. Psychologists have said that smiling for 60 seconds or longer (no matter how forced) will release serotonin and help you feel better. Plus it’s ‘kinda’ fun to look ridiculously happy for no other reason than to feel brighter… plus smiling makes other’s happy too, so for me that’s a win-win. Smiling raises endorphins, therefore it lowers blood pressure… just keeps getting better, huh!?
I use several guided meditations apps that allow me to zone out. I can do meditations ranging from five minutes to forty-five minutes depending on the time and place. I found meditation during my illness. For those of you that have endured chemotherapy, you will agree with me when I say that the combination of steroids, chemo itself and the fear that you live with, is one big giant recipe for insomnia. I nearly went crazy when I realised it had been three months that I had not had more than three continual hours of sleep in a row at any given time. I literally felt I was going insane. Not sleeping is a form of torture… my mind wouldn’t stop racing, the steroids ramped me up and the chemo drugs were dropping me on the ground. How could I rest my mind and body if I couldn’t sleep?! I began with a ten-minute Yoga Nidra practice, and from there I was hooked. Finally, I was regaining sanity and clarity. Feeling the release and rest that my body so desperately needed was heavenly. I meditate every single day and I am so grateful for finding this practice. If any of you are interested in how I got started and any hints and tips, send me an email and I will try to help out and point you in the right direction (there are some great meditation teachers here in town). It really is exercise for the mind in terms of keeping it healthy.
- Dot your “i’s with love hearts.
Yep – sounds so ‘year five’ right? Give it a go, it’s fun and it puts a smile on your face.
Bit of a no brainer this one, however, easier said than done sometimes. If you’ve lost your mojo temporarily or you’re feeling flat (hence needing a release), exercise is usually the last thing you feel like doing. However, in my own experience, I am all the better for it. From a hard-core session to a walk around the block, it doesn’t matter, so long as it get’s your blood pumping.
6. Gratitude Journal.
I write in my gratitude journal most nights. This exercise makes you mindful and allows you to take a moment and realise what’s going right. Who you appreciate, whom you love, what you love and focus on all things good. It’s a great book to read if you’re feeling a bit down, because it will remind you how kick ass your life really is. One of my favourite quotes:
I’m talking major ‘squeezy’ cuddles. Do it. Hug your kids, your husband, wife, your mum or dad, BFF etc.…. a big hug helps anyone feel better. Plus, if you’re feeling particularly shitty, wound up, stressed out… it may release some tears… and crying is the ultimate of releases. Embrace crying, don’t shy away from it – it’s better out than in. After a good cry, you may feel like you’ve just hopped off that roller coaster with a new sense of freedom.
8. A cup of tea or coffee, alone… nothing else. [Ok, or beer or wine]!
No phone, no TV, no book…. Just time to sit with yourself, to ponder, to do nothing but hold that warm cup in your hands. Giving that time to you is a gift.
Sometimes there is no quick or easy escape for some of life’s more difficult hardships. For example when I was diagnosed with cancer, I knew my life would be dominated by surgeries, treatments, tests and appointments – it would consume my life for a period of time to which there was no ‘quick fix’. I decided to read fiction to escape reality (a suggestion from my amazing GP). It was a good break from Dr Google and released my mind from the constant tailspin. Even now, I keep a fiction book beside my bed to give myself a break from my study notes/text book. Our minds deserve to be treated beyond reality. Use your imagination and get lost in make-believe… we don’t all have to be boring grown ups!!
10. Ride my Vespa… Yahoooooo!
Boy I feel amazing when I’m out riding my bike. It’s so much fun, I feel like a child and I am always smiling. It’s alone time, fun and freedom all in one. It’s an outlet which brings me joy… make sure you find something you love and make time for it. It could be painting, art, cooking etc. I have many things I love. Find the time and reap the benefits.
I’m having a ‘fantabulous’ week – I hope you are too?
P.S. The above is just a little sharing about what I like to do to keep balance in my life. These things by no means will cure depression or severe emotional distress. For me, this is my life maintenance and they are thing’s I’ve learnt, having come out the other side of a traumatic and life threatening experience.
P.P.S. If you have something that helps you to escape, breathe or just release tension you are carrying then feel free to share?
© Copyright 2016 becbraid