How to Prevent Negative Head Space and Help Your Immune System
Okay, so we learned last time about how to piss off the immune system, the Gatekeeper to our Happy Place. Now we’re going to learn how to soothe the Gatekeeper—and boost the immune.
Where do you start?
Mindfulness is a term that describes the ability to become aware of what we are thinking, doing and feeling and is a great place to start. Mindfulness techniques are ways to practice that awareness.
Have you ever found yourself doing something without being able to recall the steps that brought you there? Have you ever found that you had something in your hand just moments ago but somehow you lost track of where you put it? Mindfulness techniques teach us to be more aware in the moment, cutting down on that inability to recall what we were doing just moments ago.
An Easy Mindfulness Technique
Spending a few minutes each day following the breath is a common—and very effective—mindfulness technique.
Following the breath might seem easy but soon thoughts will intrude. Simply decide that you will follow the breath for a set number of minutes—one to three minutes is a great place to start—and refuse to follow your thoughts. You’ll have them—that’s inevitable—but you can choose not to follow them. Instead, bring your focus back to the breath.
When you can Choose Whether to Follow Your Thoughts
Once you have a bit of control over your thoughts—not stopping them, yet, that may come later, but refusing to follow them—you can:
- Become aware of negative mind chatter or trash talk. By simply becoming aware you can then make a choice about what you are thinking, feeling and doing. You are becoming mindful.
- Once you are aware you can stop and take a mindful breath. As you shift your focus to your breath you’ll allow yourself to settle. This stops those negative chemicals from being released into your system, preventing them from having a negative effect on your Gatekeeper, the immune system. Now—congratulate yourself for increasing your well-being!
Trash Talk Triggers and Other Hard-to-say-Phrases
- Begin to anticipate your triggers—those situations that are most likely to get you unsettled and trigger trash talk and that habit of creating negative head space. Here are a few ways to stop the habit of trash talk in your head before it starts:
- When driving: bring along a soothing non-caffeinated tea to drink (my favorite), play calming music, and remember to stop and breathe.
- When watching sports: work through in your head BEFORE the game what you’ll do when there are unfair calls. It’s going to happen. For both sides—always. Decide to “let it go” for your own well-being.
- At Work: take a moment to inhale slowly and deeply then follow it with a slightly longer exhale. Do this three times. You might want to use a mantra or prayer while you breathe. I like, “I have compassion for myself and others.”
Mindfulness = Awareness = CHOICE
Mindfulness techniques are simply ways to slow yourself down, get out of a negative or reactive space, and bring awareness to what you are thinking, feeling and doing.
Another way to say this is that mindfulness techniques give you a choice about what you are thinking, feeling and doing rather than allowing yourself to be trapped by unthinking reactivity, by habit, or by runaway emotions.
Take a deep breath right now and enjoy your new understanding of mindfulness!
To your increasing well-beingness & expanding potential,
Connie M. Warden…The Well-Being Warrior, has a passion to inspire people to acquire habits that improve their health, their lifestyle in order to increase their potential in life.