Remember the show the Twilight Zone? A 1960’s sci-fi program where all sorts of weirdness happened. I have those occasional days when I feel as if life more closely resembles the TV show that it does than what real life is supposed to feel like.
It’s at times like these that I become acutely aware that there’s a sub-surface tension, anxiety stewing just below my emotional field.
Part of the human experience is dealing with negative emotions which inevitably arise because they are evolutionarily wired-in. They are a conditioned response: and these “bad boys” rob and steal. They steal joy, happiness and real freedom. Negative emotions and beliefs have real power, excessive worry or anxiety, anger and fear not only rob you of happiness but they can make you sick and lead to disease and death.
When something happens to trigger them (and our egos are constantly looking to be offended) then, unless we become very present and interrupt them, our conditioned responses cause unconscious reactions. If you question whether that’s you or not; all you need do is think back to the last rude person that crossed your path, on the highway, or cut in front of you in line at the store.
What’s the answer, how do you return to the spiritually sensitive person you know yourself to be?
Getting in the Zone
Going from the Twilight Zone to the Happiness Zone you’ll need some strategies and practice to bring you back into balance.
The fastest way to affect your physiology is to smile. Smile whether you’re happy or not because a large grin, one involving all the facial muscles around the mouth and eyes, cause a natural chemical response that measurably lowers the stress response and reduces heart rate.
What’s the answer – how do you return to the spiritually sensitive person you know yourself to be?
Here are a few more “fail-proof” practices to help you enter the “Happiness Zone.”
Take a breath — do not allow your reactive, impulsive, raw emotions to guide your world. You know the difference between response and reaction. If you act on your anger by screaming obscenities and honking your horn at the guy who took “your” parking spot, you are unlikely to produce a favorable result. Step back for a minute and get things into perspective. It is a parking spot. This is not a critical matter.
Be willing to sit with your fears and disappointments for even a nanosecond longer than you think you can. Example: When I feel the voice of fear trying to get my attention, whether it is about the departure of summer or wondering how I’m going to tell my significant other that I have to go on a work assignment in the Amazon for six months, I’ve got to feel my fear — sit with it, and then move through it. Will avoiding an uncomfortable conversation that has to be addressed be helpful? Never. It is only in my willingness to move through my fear by having the dreaded discussion that everything will begin to shift in a positive direction. Why? Because I am sharing the truth about something that is important to me. Try it and watch the magic happen.
Go to gratitude — the minute you feel yourself starting to freak (like OMG it is going to be winter soon). Stop and find something to be grateful for. And if you can’t think of anything, appreciate that you can see the words on this page.
Be in the moment — to the extent that you are able. Establish a daily discipline of some kind of practice like meditation or yoga to support you and reap the benefits. Read more here…
Speaking of meditation here is a short video in which Dr. Richard Davidson speaks about the benefits of meditation.
All of the above strategies need practice to be effectively implemented exceptions of taking a breath and smiling. Those you can put to the test as soon as you become present enough after an “incident” that you remember them.
For me at least, that’s the real practice is becoming conscious and present when challenges arise.
The “good news” is that life will offer me plenty of opportunities to practice an implement my strategies to enter the “Happiness Zone.”