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There are many, many pathways to the wise mind. In my own experience I have gathered a fairly eclectic mix of science and spirituality along my personal pathway of life–always looking for the common threads resonate most true with the most authentic part of myself that I can reach at the moment.
I’ve heard it said that the only time you should try to give advice is if a person is in “crisis mode” such that they cannot make a decision, and then you offer simple-to-follow safety instructions for survival, until they are able to continue independently on their own.
Life is a balancing act
Trying to achieve a peaceful balance is ongoing human endeavor.
In educational terms (my background), achieving a resolution results in maybe a moment of equilibrium. It’s the mountain top of brief euphoria and celebration.
While we are standing at the top of the mountain, the mist in the distance begins to clear and then we realize that that there is another mountain to conquer. We’re back to cognitive dissonance: a confrontation of something that we do NOT understand.
We probably don’t even know where to begin, and we might find ourselves tumbling back down to the valley. Fortunately, valleys tend to be lush and green. When we’ve fallen into the valley, we do what humans require, in order to survive: drink water and breathe. There is always help in the valley, too, if we make the effort, reach out to others, and continue forward a step at a time.
Survival skills (Stress Management 101)
The basics of surviving trauma (also day-by-day healthy maintenance)
- Drink water. When Jesus said that he provided living water, he wasn’t kidding. Although you won’t find him standing in front of you, there might be an angel of mercy–a friend, a co-worker, a health-care giver, or you doing it for yourself by reading this website. Nonetheless is reminding you: drink water. When you’re stressed or traumatized, you body has kicked into overdrive and you dehydrate quickly.
- Breathe deeply. Focus on your breathing and remain mindful of just your breathing. Thankfully, our bodies came with an amazing mechanism that resets our emotional core, and simple breathing activates that. If you have ever participated in choral singing, aerobic exercise, or meditation, you have experienced this incredible source of self-renewal.
- Practice mindfulness. Religions call it praying. The Buddhists and spiritual leaders call it meditation. In essence, it is a mindful process of releasing your emotions that are urging you to act. Mindfulness separates us from the messages of institutional and cultural constructs that have been telling us who we are or and what should think or do. Mindfulness helps us re-balance, reset, and remember our real purpose on this planet.
- Do routine tasks. Routines allow us to switch into automatic mode which, in turn, is another way of achieving mindfulness. Work that is done without pressure and doesn’t require problem-solving offers excellent opportunities to practice mindfulness. Music, practicing athletic skills, and simple housework or yard work do the job as well.