Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Sometimes, the clouds and rain just seem to keep on coming in our lives. The coffee spills, the kids are fighting, the traffic is slow, and the boss is not happy with your latest product. One or two of these challenges can feel like a minor blip in the day or even make you laugh at yourself. Sometimes, however, the clouds are persistent, and we can feel as if we walk around with a dark cloud hovering overhead. When this happens, we can feel stuck and helpless under all the challenges that are raining down upon us.
In these stormy, stressful moments, we may react by striking out, avoiding, or numbing out. When “stressed out”, we may curse ourselves for the spill or holler at the kids. We may go directly for the donuts at work to numb out the driving stress. We may avoid the boss, hoping the day will pass without a confrontation.
These are the fight, flight, and freeze stress responses that are hard-wired into our system. Hard-wired autonomic nervous system responses – yes, but not impossible to work with!
Mindfulness practice can help us learn to respond to the stressors rather than react. Being aware in the present moment gives us the opportunity to respond to stressors vs. react. We can give ourselves a little space to choose how we’d like to react.
Here is a little practice I have been offering to my clients and students in the last few weeks:
S: Stop and Breathe. Take three deep belly breaths.
O: Observe body sensations, thoughts, emotions, and your surroundings.
A: Acknowledge. Yep! This is how it is!
R: Respond vs. React. Choose the next action you’d like to take.
A sign with the photo slogan above hangs above my counseling office door, reminding me to learn and teach methods for dancing in the rain. Mindfulness is one method I find works!
Give SOAR a try, the next time you feel like the clouds are closing in.