It is early in the morning. Your alarm goes off, waking you from your sleep. You reach out to switch it off. For a short moment you experience the pure bliss of stillness and inner calm until your mind reaches out to remind you of who you are, where you are, and what you are meant to be doing. In those short few moments before reality sets in, your body is at its most relaxed and your mind is the quiet and spacious. As your mind starts to race through thoughts of the day ahead, or memories of the previous days, there is a response that is happening in your body. Sometimes this shift is quite subtle and other times, it is tangible. As the thoughts and memories fire off on auto pilot, the stillness, space, calmness that was you in those few short blissful moments disappears in a puff of smoke.
To make matters worse, we have developed daily habits that continue to take us away from that calm, blissful, bubble we experienced when we first opened our eyes,- our phones and the overwhelming need to switch them on the minute we open our eyes! The need to check the three different messaging platforms, four different email accounts, and five different social media platforms, (I’ve gone for low numbers here, as most people have more than this), is so pressing that in most cases it dampens our most basic need to empty our bladder, just so we can reconnect and reaffirm our worth and place in the world under the false illusion that this makes us feel safe, happy, and well.
What if I told you that this was not making you happy? That this was not making you well at all. In fact, it is a catalyst fuelling the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm that you are potentially already experiencing daily. You see, each message or social media post you connect with, reminds you of who you were in previous days, and who you still need to become in the future moments.In each remembering and reminding process there is a shift in your state of being brought on by how the mind measures up;
- How you did perform or,
- How you will perform,through measuring wins, failures, expectations, judgments and whether you are worthy or not.
As all these thoughts and emotions are cascading through your mind at breakneck speed, everything about you is changing as your body launches its threat defence mechanism, the Stress Response. As we unknowingly get sucked into this world of technology, we are oblivious to the changes that are going on within our body that directly contribution to the decline of our physical and mental health.
Our Stress response is part of our survival instinct and activates our fight, flight, faint, and freeze response to ensure that we survive perceived threat in our environment.The stress response should only be a short-term response, but sadly, in our hectic modern-day world and factoring in the current global pandemic crisis, our stress response is on overdrive, flooding our body with stress hormones. These stress hormones trigger all sorts of physical and emotional responses, like-
- increased heart rate,
- rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
- muscle tightness and joint pain
- headachesand migraines
- feeling weak and tired
- feeling nervous, restless, or tense.
- having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom.
- sweating and trembling
- trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- trouble sleeping
- changes in moods, these can range from irritability and aggression to low mood, low motivation, and depression.
Our minds process an enormous amount of information every second. Studies show that on average we have 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day of which roughly 80% are negatively and self critically based, and 90% of thoughts are the same as the previous days’ thoughts. It is important to remember that as our mind is so negatively biased and that as we have the same negative and self-critical thoughts as the previous day, our thoughts are contributing heavily to our stress response.
Now more that ever, we need to become more conscious of how our thoughts, actions and habits are contributing to our stress and anxiety. Making small changes can go a long way in supporting our health and wellbeing. A simple act of holding off from switching your mobile phone on in the morning, and instead practicing some mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques,orjournaling canreducethe stress response,enhancing your sense of wellbeing, positivity, and energy levels even if practiced for only 5 minutes a day. When practiced effectively they can help create a stillness, calmness, and peacefulness in our body and mind.
What daily habit are you prepared to make a daily habit to support your health and wellbeing?