As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that my #1 job before anything else on my to-do list is to mind my mindset.
As I recently told a fellow founder-friend who was struggling, entrepreneurship is a surefire way to fast-track your personal growth. Every day you are challenged to solve problems, push past your perceived and focus on your vision for the future.
In order to not just succeed but stay in the game, your mindset is everything.
Last week in my Be All You Are group I asked, what percentage of the time do you feel good? I defined good as content, at ease and/or in the moment.
The average answer was somewhere around 60%. Oof.
If we felt physically well only 60% of the time we would be filling our schedule with appointments with doctors and specialists and we would be pushing for them to run a million tests.
But when we feel emotionally and mentally well only 60% of the time, what have we learned to do?
We bear it. (I won’t say grin and bear it because I think we’re past the point of grinning)
We have learned, especially over the past few years, to accept feeling “meh” as our new normal.
This is not ok.
What I realized last week, after feeling especially overwhelmed by a lot of stressors in my life, is that in order to start feeling good we need to first stop feeling bad. Otherwise all the things we do to try to feel good are barely scratching the surface.
As we talked about in our group this week, we first have to unkink our hose.
When we feel good, our energy flows freely through that hose. Things feel like they fall into place. We notice beauty all around us, and somehow that only makes room for more. We feel grateful.
But when we feel stressed, overwhelmed and wound up, it is because our energy is backing up. Our hose is kinked, and at this point no amount of positive thinking will allow the energy to flow again.
For times like these, we need to first have the awareness that our hose is kinked. Before we can come up with creative solutions and feel good so we can do better, we need to unkink that hose.
Do you have a toolbox of things that allows you to unkink your hose?
Here are 7 things to try the next time your hose is kinked:
- Go for a long walk. Choose a favourite inspiring podcast (NO NEWS), or playlist or just walk in silence. Dress warmly and comfortably and walk for at least forty-five minutes. In some of the most stressful times in my life, a long walk has always been medicine.
- Read something inspirational. Maybe you have your favourite books with pages earmarked and paragraphs underlined. Keep those books on hand and let the familiar, uplifting words soothe you and shift your perspective.
- Meditate. I have a few guided meditations that I know will shift my energy if only I commit to doing them. I particularly love Joe Dispenza's but this free one was recommended to me and it is amazing.
- Journal. Journaling gets your feelings and thoughts out of your mind and onto a page. Journaling helps you process your emotions and have a healthy conversation with yourself. Organisational Anthropologist Judith Glaser also says journaling lowers stress that comes from uncertainty in our interpretations.
- Exercise. Get in some vigorous exercise. Remember what it feels like to be in your body. It could be a run, a solo dance party or a hiit workout. But get your heart pumping and your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins that biochemically just make you feel better. It is literally like taking a feel-good pill.
- Talk to a good friend. There are certain people who feel like a warm blanket, a hot tea and lovely book combined. When our hose is kinked, sometimes it only takes a conversation with one good friend to help unkink it.
- Tie up loose ends. Sometimes what kinks our hose in the first place is feeling that life is out of control. There is too much to do and no time to do it. Make a list of the to-do's that have been hanging over your head. Imagine what it would feel like if you actually got them done. One by one, knock them off your list and feel your hose slowly straighten out.
As a bonus, if you can, carve out time to do all of the above. If at all possible, find a way to get yourself a block of time to reset. I know (especially as someone who is separated and co-parenting) that this isn’t always easy. But if you were physically unwell and someone said you needed to be in the hospital for 24 hours to treat your illness, you’d do it right?
Being under constant stress and dis-ease is no different. We need to prioritize our emotion and mental wellbeing in the same way we'd treat a physical illness. Because eventually dis-ease in our mind and heart does manifest in our body.
What can you do to allow your energy to flow freely this week?
Kena Paranjape, Founder, All You Are