3 tricks for a calmer mind and less-stressed you - Kristen Kalp

3 tricks for a calmer mind and less-stressed you

As a human, your mind has scripts that play over and over.  The scripts say you’re dumb, you’re fat, you’re useless, you’re not worth it, you’re not worthy, your life is shit, etc…they never lead to the conclusion that you are brilliant and beautiful.

Today, let’s take a look at these scripts — we all have them — and let’s work on defeating them.

My script is pretty epic — “This isn’t working,” “Nothing’s working,” “What’s the point anyway,” “Nothing has a point,” “Life is pretty much meaningless,” “There’s no reason to live anyway.”

Yah.  So my life goes from “my internet connection isn’t working” to life not being worth living in just a few seconds.  It’s just a habit — a pattern my mind slips into.

Because it’s just a pattern, it’s worth noticing and it’s faaairly easy to change. 

Begin by noticing when the script is triggered — mine is generally triggered in times of frustration, and I’m much more susceptible to it when I’m tired.  Sleep is the golden grease that makes my life smoother.

Once you’ve identified your script and decided to opt out of it, you’re ready to use one of these three strategies!

Strategy #1: Engage in the moment and take careful note of details, particularly textures and sounds that would normally not be noticed.

If someone was going to give you a million dollars to describe the room you’re in PERFECTLY, what would you notice?  

Even if you’re just in your house, a place you are every single day, notice the pattern of your dining room table or the way light is hitting the room just now.  It’s always changing, so take note of this particular moment.

Notice the color of the walls, the feeling of the floor under your feet.  Hell, notice your feet.  Notice the places your body is trying to tell you something — whether that’s buzzing with sensation, in pain, or tight.  Try not to judge what it is you’re noticing, just experience it.

When you’re noticing the pain in your hip without judging it or allowing it to spark an inner drama, you’re fully present in this moment.  That’s the goal.

Strategy #2: Take a deep breath and imagine a velvet curtain dropping into your mind, creating a space where those spiraling thoughts can’t penetrate.

Again, drop into your body and take stock of the information being presented to you.  Maybe your heart feels full, your shoulders feel tight, and your knee is bouncing.  (That’s what my body is up to at the moment.)

Try not to judge any of these sensations as “good” or “bad” — though they may feel uncomfortable.  Our goal is to increase our tolerance for what we deem uncomfortable while working towards removing those old labels entirely.

Simply noticing your body takes you out of your mind long enough to break the spiral pattern.

Strategy #3: Choose something new to think about — you’re effectively switching topics on yourself.  Don’t argue, don’t engage with the annoying little bully who pokes you and makes you feel crazy — just disengage entirely.

Ask questions like a three year old.  Why does electricity work?  Why is the sky blue?  How do robins know when it’s time to come back in the spring?  Where do they live for the winter?  Who invented the carousel?  How much did a loaf of bread cost in 1973?  How do engines work?  Why is the Prius so quiet?  Why is The Office going away — I love that show?

Those are literally the first questions that sprung into my head.  ALL of them are better fodder for your imagination — and for your mind — than going into the spiral again.

It only takes 30 seconds to start establishing the practice of being present, and it only gets easier with time and effort.