I admit it. I’m inspired by this poster from Britain’s World War II anti-cowering campaign. “Keep Calm and Carry On” is like a pre-Yogi Bhajan “Keep Up and You Will Be Kept Up” message from my ancestral homeland. I’d like to think I have some of this steely nerve, although it does require presence of mind for me to engage it. This last week my nerves were put to the test. While on my “Road to Sat Nam Fest” tour through the Southwest, my car was broken into and my luggage was stolen. They did leave my new BPA-free sippy cup from Whole Foods, luckily, sitting right in the cup holder. (It has zebras on it, people! What’s not to love?) I’ve been able to make quick peace with what happened. I can only attribute this to the practice of Kundalini yoga, mindfulness, and Grace. And a little bit of humor thrown in.
Here are 5 tips to help you Keep Calm and Carry On During Crisis:
1) You are Not Your Thoughts
When you find your mind begins to panic, cry “Halt!” You are not your thoughts. For me, it’s important to tell myself that. When I am able to disengage from my thoughts and not identify with them, they lose power over me. By observing your reacting, but not identifying with it, it passes quickly. It definitely requires a regular meditation practice to get to this point, at least for me. The more I am able to observe the inside of my mind during controlled meditation, the easier it has become from me during times of crisis to control my mind’s impulsive crisis reaction. The alternative is going down a spiral of negative thinking, which only serves to make things feel more intense.
2) Breathe. Air is Good.
When a crisis arises, our body’s natural reaction is to tense up and breathe very shallow. It’s a normal physiological response, but it fuels tension and irritability. Practicing long deep breathing for a few minutes can help. Even just inhaling mindfully a few times can settle you down and bring you back to your center.
3) Meditate Mindfully
I’ve actually found the Spirit Voyage 40 Day Global Sadhana: Expand Your Intuition meditation (formally known as the Indra Nittri meditation) to be extremely helpful. Not only does this meditation boost my intuition, which helps me make the right decisions and navigate this difficult time with greater ease, but the navel pumping also keeps my abdominal muscles loose. When we’re stressed, our gut can tighten up, causing difficulty digesting, sleeping and moving energy through the body. That “sinking feeling in your gut”? That can be massaged out with this powerful meditation. The mantra used, “Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad“, is also a mantra that turns the negative into the positive, and helps keep your thoughts vibrating at a high level.
4) Eat Well and Drink Water.
Here’s what we’ve been trained to do (at least in my family) during crisis: drown yourself in brownie mix. This is not helpful. Eating sugary, fatty foods with little nutrition increases stress on the body. Eating whole foods rich with nutrients will actually help your body relax. Certain foods, like Romaine Lettuce, can actually help you fall asleep, if that’s one of the ways your body reacts to crisis. And staying hydrated properly cannot be underestimated. The Water Element or Tattva in the body controls emotions. Yogi Bhajan taught then when hysterical, drinking a glass of water will help calm you down. I’ve gone straight for that zebra sippy cup the burglars left in my cup holder and I haven’t had a single moment of hysteria. When an out-of-control emotion begins to rise, drink some water! And watch it get flushed down the drain.
5) Laugh. It’s Therapeutic.
It’s funny, really. All of it. Laughing at ourselves is extremely helpful. Find the funny, or at least, find what YOU think is funny. For me? It’s my sippy cup. Makes me smile every time. Vive le sippy!