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40k for 40 days

February 16: Day 31

Day 31 - Learning to Self-Regulate my Inner and Outer Peace When I Need it Most!

I'm learning just how important it is to be able to practice having agency and control while using effective tools to calm my body and mind. How best to make more peaceful decisions with self-cultivation at the core.

When I feel that my resilience (Daingean in Irish) is being pushed to the limits on any given day or even periods of my day, interactions or challenges that may arise, knowing that I have some, tried and tested tools to calm my body and mind, at my disposal or in my magic bag as I like to call it, is so important and reassuring.

Today has been one such day, and I've been attempting to put my tools into practice and walk the talk of what I consider to be self-peace.

There are a lot of variables flying about. I don't feel unique in any way, but I have responsibilities, health worries for one of my children, professional commitments, balancing energy with not so much sleep, etc., and it can be a lot. But, what can I do to assist, model, and manage my challenges on this day or in this moment after identifying that I may well be knocked out of my resilience zone?

I can easily identify this by tracking the sensations and tuning in to my body and mind, just for a couple of moments. The more I practice this tracking, the less time it takes me. Just being aware that I may be knocked out of my resilience zone, is an important step. I may be feeling a wee bit stressed, anxious, or a little overwhelmed, and I know that there are things I can do to guide my nervous system from this fight, flight or freeze mode (sympathetic nervous system, that I've mentioned in previous blogs) back into my rest/digest or feed/breathe/lead, mode (my parasympathetic nervous system).

I can employ many different resources at this point. One simple but highly effective technique is to focus on my breath for just a few moments, for example. Slow it down, make it lighter, breathe using my diaphragm, and my nose, and really make a conscious effort to prolong my exhale. This is a very quick and powerful way that works for me and millions more in such situations.

Or I can focus my attention on 'grounding' myself and feel a connection between any part of my body at this moment that feels strong, solid, supported. It might be my feet connected with the ground or my back being supported by the back of a chair or a wall, or if I'm lying down, the ground again, underneath me, giving me stability and security. Paying attention to these sensations and attempting to zone in on the pleasant ones at this moment make, makes a huge difference.

I may also choose another option like 'Resourcing,' which is basically bringing to my mind, a person, a place, an image, or a memory, real or imagined, that makes me feel calm, resilient, supported, and strong. This doesn't have to be for too long, but again, just long enough to be able to bring my nervous system back into rest and digest mode and bring me from a position of tension or stress back into a more controlled, resilient state of mind and being. Staying with the pleasant sensations and just allowing the body and mind to do what they do best, regulate.

It's about finding what works best for you when you can; it's about taking a valuable moment to pause, check in with yourself, and gauge if you may be a wee bit out of what you feel is your resilient zone.

There are any number of other options, from bringing in nature and observing what is going on around you, or focusing your mind on your senses and going through each one slowly to feel and connect with them for a few seconds each. One of my other more recent go-to 'assistance strategies', (particularly if I am alone and not distracting or being distracted by others) is simply humming for a minute or two; I am able to activate and stimulate my vagus nerve, which again can regulate my nervous system and bring a sense of calm to my mind and body.

If only I had known about these techniques a long time ago, I feel that I would have been able to change many situations of undesired stress or tension in my life that didn't help in making more peaceful decisions that affect me and those around me.

I do now, though, and I intend to use them whenever I feel the need and grow my list of resources to help me regulate my own inner and outer peace. Sure, give them a try; what's to lose?

Regulating our inner and outer fires to get through our challenging days in the best ways we know now. A fire (just like our body and mind) knows how to burn and generate energy when it is just allowed to act in its natural state. Sometimes fires need to be managed, restarted, and paid attention to, just like us, and quite quickly and simply, they can add light and warmth to our world.


Shane O'Connor



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