How to Navigate the Storm of Life

Our minds are the most powerful thing we have access to in our day-to-day lives. Whether we are neurosurgeons, cashiers, pastors, lawyers, professional athletes, gamers, or cooks. No matter if you hold a position over thousands or a position over no one. Regardless of your social media following and despite what tangible weapons you may have access to. Your most important asset is your mind.

Your mind has the power to dictate who you become, what you say, what you do, how you interact, how you define yourself, how you react to others, and how you dictate and portray who you are to the world around you. No other entity on the face of the earth has that same leverage. Our minds are the one space that is unconditionally ours, no one else can penetrate that space or have jurisdiction there, only the owner and proprietor; us. The most beautiful thing about our minds is that it is our blank canvas that we have both creative and Administrative privileges over. However, although minds are like a blank pages, at times they may also feel more similar to a raging storm or an unkempt sea. But being able to regain this storm or this sea and being able to recapture its essence back into a place of dominion can seem like a daunting, if not an impossible task. How do you stop the sole barreling train that is your entire being?

I struggle with anxiety. Amid my worst day of anxiety, it feels like I am a boat violently being battered against a dock in the middle of a furious storm. Nail-like rain, cold, berating my skin, the ground beneath me quivering and rocking like a queasy stomach, my vision hazy and indistinct scattering and unable to find a solution to stop the storm. I become trapped in the idea the storm has no escape, that I am stuck, that there is no way out. It seems like the doom is perpetual. But, despite this storm life is going on, groceries need to be bought, bills need to be paid, bathrooms need to be cleaned, and kids need to be fed. Life has to be lived. Responsibilities need to be fulfilled. Unlike hurricane season, life doesn’t stop because of a storm. But as the waves of uncertainty hit, life is being withheld from you, and anxiety’s grip is squeezing precious seconds away.

How do we combat this, you ask? We combat the storm by preparing for it. By finding warning signs for when it’s coming. By investing in the proper tools to help us endure its enormity. We build a support system around and underneath us to combat what may come our way. No matter how we go about it, the best way is to prepare.

There are three tools I use to prepare and endure the storm, the first of which is people. Finding your people is one of the most effective ways to calm anxiety and keep storms at bay. Being in a community is like a constant litmus test, it allows people to check in where you’re at and keeps you accountable for maintaining and supporting your mental health. However, finding your people can be hard and taxing. But, of all the outlets to navigate life this one is the most effective. Putting yourself out there and joining a church group, a sports league, a gaming league, or maybe even a book club can help you build lifelong friendships and put you in coherence with people who have similar interests as you and who you can do life with. Knowing who you’re calling when your storm hits are one of the most vital action steps you can take.

A second tool I utilize is keeping in tune with myself. This may look like different things for different people. For me, this looks like journaling or writing, getting non-rational thoughts out and tangible on paper is an effective way to check in with myself. For others, it may look like going on a jog to regain perspective, pulling out some art supplies and practicing the art of self-expression, or reading a good book that can reconstruct your mindset. Find whatever it takes for you to re-calibrate your perspective, and have some fun in the discovery process along the way. But whatever you don’t use it as a “Hail Mary” pass to avoid a huge mental breakdown. Learn to use it as a constant tool to keep your skies blue and the waves at bay. Let it become the part of your day that gives you clarity and fills you with perspective and peace.

The final tool I like to use is meditation. And I know what you’re thinking- “heck no, that’s not my style” and I used to respond the same way. I very much believed that meditation was for old men with bald heads and that you had to light candles and listen to yoga music while you sit criss-cross apple sauce on a spongy mat in the middle of a serene grassy remote hillside. But meditation can be done in so many different ways. Meditation comes in many forms; yoga, repeating mantras, deep breathing, and the list goes on. It can be done with candles lit or no candles at all, essential oils fuming or dinner cooking on the stove in front of you, in the middle of a department store, on your commute to work, in a silent room, on your desk, in your home, or almost anywhere. What meditation looks like for me is re-centering my mind with thought and providing my brain with oxygen so it can refocus itself better with some deep breaths. The intentionality behind this small and fairly quick act allows us to stop a small thought from snowballing into an anxiety attack. Meditation doesn’t have to be done with an instructor or in a yoga room. In 2019, meditation is facing a new age. We live in an age where we can access the most cutting-edge technology at our fingertips. Now, you can meditate and have a visual representation of what’s going on in your brain. Muse is a device that sits on top of your head while you take a moment to relax and the device evaluates your brainwaves. So you don’t escape the tech while you take a moment for yourself. Having a tool you invest in can keep you accountable to the fact that you need to recenter your brain. It’s also a good way to see tangible results from the moments spent in the quiet, it’s rewarding to see the benefit to your brain when you are finished. If you have any further questions about the muse machine feel free to reach out to us- we would love to help you purchase a Muse of your own.

We cannot stop the storms in our life but we can implement tools to subdue them and keep them at bay. By investing in these tips and tools, we can recapture our minds and use them to our benefit, we can reclaim our thoughts and be in total control of the most impactful weapon we have; our brain.

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