- Tiffany Marlink
A Powerful Tool for Handling Life's Ups and Downs
Today’s Note from the Universe was really thought-provoking for me. After reading it, I realized that not all of us can bring back the idea of using spontaneous imagination to handle life’s difficulties. So, I wanted to share a tool that I use for regaining control of my mind when it’s been overtaken by something that’s bothering me.
The thing that's totally different between children and adults, Tiffany, is that children have the ability to spontaneously use their imagination to forget what's bothering them and be inspired by every pony, feather, or bug that crosses their path.
Oh, yeah... you're like that.
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Do you remember what life was like before you had piles of responsibility and pages of to do lists? The days where your biggest frustration was the fact that someone else beat you to the last swing on the playground. The same days when you would shrug it off and realize the slide looks more fun anyway.
As we grow up, we are taught to get serious. We do the things we are supposed to and then get upset when it doesn’t work out the way we expected. You know what? That’s life! And you have a choice. You can choose to be pissed off and want revenge. That swing was yours and you had claimed it just by looking at it from across the playground. Or you can realize that there’s plenty of other fun things to do at the playground and then go do them.
I want to acknowledge the fact that sometimes the choices or things we want in life are taken away from us. Those moments can feel like the end of the world and in that moment, they might be. That’s ok. Do what you need to but do not dwell in that moment forever. Find a way to step out of the emotional spiral and see all that is before you (not just the one thing that has your immediate attention).
I also realize this can be much easier said than done. So, I want to give you a tool that can be used during your moments of anxiousness and frustration. When we are stuck in a spiral of emotion, our minds capture and run off with our attention. One of the ways that I retake control is called the 5 things practice. It goes like this.
Name 5 things you can see.
Name 5 things you can hear.
Name 5 things you can feel/touch.
Name 5 things you can smell.
Name 5 things you can taste.
The reason this is so powerful is because it brings your attention back into your body and gives your mind something else to focus on. I have used this practice a number of times and have found that I am able to see my situation with new clarity or perspective after it’s done.
So, I ask that you give it a try. If you have a place where you tend to be triggered (for me it used to be my office at work), I would recommend placing a small reminder somewhere for yourself. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, maybe just the number 5 on a post-it note next to your phone. Something to remind you of the practice when your mind has run off with your attention.