You know those moments when you're smack in the middle of a difficult situation, whether it's a fight with your boyfriend, a big move or life transition, issues at work, or an important decision that must be made? You want to do what's in your highest and best, but your mind chatter grows louder and starts triggering emotions like fear or anger. This strong wave of emotions is clouding your intuition and judgement, and you're feeling confused, overwhelmed, or panicked. So, you either take no action and get stuck dwelling in the emotional situation for days or weeks, or you say or do something that you later regret.
Challenging situations have a way of creating tunnel vision and blinding you from your intuition and seeing solutions. What you need during these times is a big, fat dose of perspective.
They say hindsight is 20/20. Well what if I told you that there are tools to create that hindsight perspective smack in the middle of chaos? In my search to feel more calm, capable, and confident in handling the ups and downs of life, I discovered that being able to step back and gain a broader perspective of a situation is key to feeling in control and finding ideal solutions.
Here are my top 2 tools to bring a broader perspective to a challenging situation, so you can make (good) decisions and take action with ease and confidence.
1) Yin Practices
I adopted the term "yin practices" after getting a lot of resistance with the term "meditation". Meditation is indeed a fabulous yin practice that I do daily. But, that term can also create tension in those that don't already have a meditation practice, because it feels like something difficult or extra to add into their already busy lives.
The idea of incorporating more yin in your life, is the exact opposite. It's about doing less and creating more spaciousness in your day. We live in a "yang", or active and busy, society where space and downtime in our schedules is perceived as unproductive and a non-priority.
By incorporating more yin into your life, you'll keep your monkey mind and turbulent emotions in check, gain a broader perspective of challenging situations, and tap into your inner wise woman (or man).
And thus, start to make better decisions, find solutions easier and faster, and avoid falling into self-sabotaging thought or behavior cycles that keep you stuck. The moral is, ironically, by doing less, you're more efficient and thus able to achieve more. An added side benefit is that you'll feel more calm, peaceful, and happy!
Here are a few easy ways to incorporate more yin in your life:
- Sitting quietly focusing on your breathing
- Taking a walk and focusing on the birds chirping or the smell of fresh cut grass
- Taking a bath and focusing on the feel of the hot water touching your skin
- Eating a meal and focusing on the taste of its deliciousness
- And, of course, meditating (in whatever style you like)
For a more detailed list of yin practices, download my "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" here.
Try one of these, or come up with your own yin practice. Do it for a week, and see how you feel.
The only requirements for a yin practice is 1) that you feel spacious and expansive when you do it, and 2) your focus remains on your senses in the present moment- seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, or tasting.
2) The I Ching (pronounced ee-ching)
A quicker way to gain perspective in a challenging situation is by using something called the I Ching. I'll explain the I Ching in much more detail in another post soon, but for now, I'll keep my explanation simple and focused on the benefits.
The I Ching is a tool I've been using for several years to guide me more gracefully through life situations where I feel stuck, confused on how to move forward, and especially when in freak out mode. It's really helped me navigate new relationships, get through difficult break-ups, decide on the direction I wanted my business to take, clarify my life purpose, and get through a tough cross-country move (amongst many, many, other things).
The I Ching possesses an uncanny ability to accurately assess any situation and helps give you a bird's eye view of it rather than the tunnel vision we so often possess in confusing and emotional situations.
With this broader perspective, options and solutions that were previously non-existent, appear to materialize out of thin air.
The I Ching also acts:
- as a vehicle for your intuition to communicate with you,
- as a flashlight to illuminate your blind spots (limiting beliefs and behaviors) so you can recognize and start to release them,
- and, as an oracle system that allows you to glimpse your potential future within particular situations.
Here's what some of my clients had to say after working with the I Ching.