It’s hard to believe that less than 5 weeks ago, life was normal. ReSet Lounge was clicking along. We had wonderful, appreciative members and guests who were becoming a community of friends. We had a fabulous, supportive staff that was becoming family. The evening of Friday, March 13th was spent strategizing marketing efforts with a co-worker, and by Monday, March 16th, we were closing our doors--not sure when we would be allowed to reopen.
We keep hearing it over and over again: these are unprecedented times. We are navigating uncharted waters. It is all so very unsettling. Playgrounds are taped off like crime scenes. Grocery stores have become threatening. We are ALL hurting. We are ALL afraid. We are ALL operating, to some degree or another, in fight /flight mode.
I write to offer you a quick ReSet in this difficult time. Dr. Robert Hoffman, our advising psychologist, has developed a calming practice based on Positive Psychology. These simple steps that can be practiced throughout the day will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and move your mind and body out of the fight/flight mode and back to a rest/restore state of existence.
Step One: Breathe
Deep breaths counteract the rapid breathing that results from fight/flight and sends a signal to your brain that you are okay. Deep breaths are a bio-hack of sorts to calm the nervous system. Try this 4-part breathing exercise:
- Inhale deeply for 4 seconds.
- Hold with lungs full for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds.
- Hold empty for 4 seconds.
- Repeat 4 times.
- Return to normal breathing pattern but focus on long, deep breaths.
Step Two: While continuing long, deep breaths, Practice Gratitude
Even in these trying times like these, it's important to remember that we have SO much to be grateful for. Take a moment to pause and think of everything wonderful that fills your life--family, friends, shelter, food. Instead of focusing on social distancing, be grateful for the relationships you have in your life. Instead of worrying about your loved ones, be grateful that you have people to check in on.
Step Three: Send Positive Energy Out to Others (Practice Compassion)
When we are in fight/flight mode, it is very easy to retreat inward to oneself. This is a hardwired survival instinct that is designed to protect our physical being. When you take a conscious moment to think of others, this sends a signal to your brain that you are safe. Simply having the bandwidth to think of others tells your brain that you are safe and sound. Think about an act of kindness that you have shared in the past, an act of kindness that has been bestowed upon you, or an act of kindness that you would like to perform as soon as life allows.
These simple steps, which should not take longer than 3 to 5 minutes, will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and return your body to a rest/restore state of being. At the same time, we will be pumping gratitude and kindness into the cosmos (nothing bad about that in these frightening times). Please be well, and stay well!