No disrespect to the many who are suffering now, but it is time for me to stop spinning in fear and worry and take a minute to find my feet. I am so damned tired.
It is easy to dismiss the idea that ‘oh just be grateful for what you have’ as a silly panacea that does nothing to make the world better. Standing around 6 ft. apart, definitely not holding hands singing Kumbaya with our face masks in place right?
Gratitude is my superpower
Hang on a sec, give me just a minute. Google the ‘transformative power of gratitude’ and you will find that when we pause and bring our overworked minds to sensation- like noticing the pressure of the feet on the floor, then noticing the breath travel through the body, maybe sighing out the exhale, we literally can’t be thinking about our fears and worries at the same time. Try it. Think about whatever is on your worry radar right now, just one, pick one, now bring your brain awareness— your inner eye —to the sensation of your feet on the floor. Really feel your feet, no judgement, stories or reactions, just let your mind rest on your feet fully; the toes, ball and heel. Try it, I will be right here when you get back.
If you were able to fully be with the sensation of pressure on the floor, your thinking mind was taking a rest. Maybe just a nano-second, but a rest, and that is exactly what our overworked minds need. A rest.
Even just doing that is terrific for the health of a nervous system, but I can kick it up a notch in the moment I am noticing my feet, by bringing to mind something in the last day or two that I am really grateful for. Anything, can be as simple as remembering enjoying the coffee my sweet hubby brought me. Bringing the same curious, open, non-judgey, non- storytelling mind to that moment, really trying to remember the feelings around that moment, maybe even visualizing it, if I can. Seeing my husband’s smiling eyes, the warm cup in my hand, that first whiff of coffee, chocolate and cinnamon. (Yes, my morning latte is the bomb) Bringing my awareness back to the pressure of my feel on the floor, feeling gratitude for that moment, my nervous system is getting a double pump of serotonin and dopamine, not only resting, but feeling happy and healthy too.
Dr. Randy Kamen writes, “Research shows that recording experiences for which one is grateful for only two consecutive weeks has lasting positive effects sustained for up to six months.” My brain will go back to doing what my brain does, but if I can find small moments throughout my day to feel, notice, remember with gratitude and breathe, I am building resilience and health, one moment at a time.
Maybe try this nervous system hack for yourself. You have the tools, no fancy app needed, just breathe, notice your feet, remember something you are grateful for, really feel it. Take a breath or two if you can, and notice how your nervous system is feeling. Maybe we can’t solve all the worlds problems, but we can get a clearer, maybe healthier brain, heart and body just by noticing our feet. Pointed in the right direction.