Last we spoke, I was having a bad day that was threatening to get worse. So what did I do? I decided to get some sun. On a normal basis, I usually eat lunch at my desk or in a private conference room (with no windows). That wasn’t going to cut it. I knew that if I stayed in the environment (aka did nothing), my mood was going to snowball and get worse. So, I did something revolutionary—I took a walk to the nearest park (found through a not thorough Google search—I just wanted to see some grass!)
It turned out that it was a beautiful day outside. I found a lot of peace in people watching, listening to birds chirping (they had to compete with cars honking, but I took what I could get) and reading a book. I didn’t get lunch that day since I was short on time— and my lunchtime walk didn’t do anything for my lack of sleep or my to-do list, but it did give me a moment to step back from my mood and notice something else—anything else! I sat on a bench directly in the sun for an hour and went back to the office regulated enough to push through the day without erupting in tears.
What’s the point here, Imani?
Sometimes we can’t find the magic cure to fix all of our stress, but it can be helpful to give ourselves some room to actively decide how we want to respond to a situation—also called self-regulation! YourTherapySource.com defines self-regulation as “the ability to monitor and manage your energy states, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that are acceptable and produce positive results such as well-being, loving relationships, and learning.”
Keep this exercise in mind for the next time you need some help self-regulating. It is the more structured version of what I tried to do in the park. Get yourself somewhere that you can do this exercise with the least interruption.
Try to notice:
· 5 things you can see
· 4 things you can feel
· 3 things you can hear
· 2 things you can see
· 1 thing you can taste
I hope that this activity will bring you back into yourself. I hope it will serve as another tool when you need to get to a place of self-care and mindfulness.