I was speaking to a friend recently and when I asked how his day was he replied, “A bad customer day”. I get it, we have all had days where we have faced challenges, and yes, sometimes they are customers. When I asked what he was going to do about it, he said, “I’m going for a walk.” I love that response.
What a great pattern interrupt.
How often have you faced a challenge or frustration and replayed it in your mind over and over again, letting the frustration build? When that happens, it is often easy to remain in that state of aggravation, or turn to something that numbs, whether it be a glass of wine, comfort food, or television. Instead, taking the irritations of the day and shifting them through exercise, whether it’s a walk in the neighborhood, a run or going out for a yoga class, can be a lot more effective in releasing the challenges.
I didn’t say it makes the challenges go away, the pattern interrupt allows the mind and body to reframe the situation and often can bring clarity to an issue, or make it easier to deal with it.
What if that frustration happens and you don’t have the time to take a long walk? There are other methods you can use to shift that take a short amount of time, and that doesn’t include reaching for the junk food.
First, if you are sitting, stand up, separate your feet hip width apart and begin to stretch. Reach the arms up overhead and reach through your fingertips, alternate letting the shoulders shift. Then invite the arms to relax behind your back, either interlacing your finger and squeezing your shoulder blades together, or grabbing the opposite elbow with each hand. We hold a lot of our tension in the shoulders and neck, so let the chin drop towards the chest, stretching the back of the neck, as the shoulders remain relaxed. Engage deep breaths to help shift the energy and relax.
Rather remain sitting? Close your eyes if possible. As you inhale, squeeze your shoulders up to your ears. Keep squeezing and holding for a few seconds. Then with a big exhalation through the mouth, drop the shoulders down. Repeat a few times, letting the tension release from the shoulders. Then turn your focus to your breath. Eyes open or closed, watch as the breath enters your body through the nostrils, and then as it leaves the same way. Just observe as it flows in and out. If your mind drifts to other thoughts or distractions, invite the mind to return back to watching the breath. Repeat for about a minute.
Whether it is getting up and moving, letting the body stretch or focusing our attention to our breath, we can invite the interruption to shift from frustration to relaxation, making it easier to regroup and move forward with our day.