Ongoing Stress Challenges Our Minds

You may have asked yourself how to manage your state of mind during a challenging time? When we are faced with continuous difficulty or stress, The grief of losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. The effort of being a caregiver, or being unemployed long term. Or possibly being at the grip of a pandemic whether you are very sick or not…

The mind seems to have be hijacked during such times and we no longer think clearly. We need to find ways to manage our emotions and our thoughts especially during times like this. Managing our mindset during periods of uncertainty requires some effort but the rewards are well worth it.

What happens when we are faced with a threat?

You all know the feeling of suddenly being frightened. Perhaps you stepped onto the road and a car came quickly. The heart rate goes up, the breath quickens, the body tenses and the mind goes into high alert as you jump out of the way.

This response is a beneficial one. It is designed to protect us, and soon after the threat subsides, the body and mind return to balance and we return to normal.

What happens when the threat is ongoing?

When we experience chronic stress, as the result of being faced with an ongoing threat, it has a detrimental effect on our body, mind and spirit, in fact our whole system gets affected by it.

a woman with brown curly hair, biting her fingernails out of fear, How To Manage Your State of Mind: The BRIEF Protocol
colorful computer drawing, symbolizing the mind, How To Manage Your State of Mind: The BRIEF Protocol

Thinking on a Cognitive Brain Level

On a cognitive level we do not think as clearly as we used to. The part of our brain that oversees processing information and making wise decisions gets somewhat disconnected from the part of the brain that is in charge of survival and that survival part takes over. We may find that our decision-making ability is reduced just when we need it the most.

The Story We Tell Ourselves

I often talk about the stories that we tell ourselves in our minds. We tend to focus on the negative, on what might go wrong. This tendency is designed to protect us by preparing us to deal with the coming danger. This protection mechanism becomes dysfunctional when all we can see are terrible scenarios that are yet to happen and may never happen.

This is why it is so crucial to learn how to manage our state of mind.

Our perception is stronger than any reality.

 

The B.R.I.E.F. Protocol

The B.R.I.E.F Protocol is a short process that guides you step by step on how to manage your mindset. The acronym is my creation. The steps come from different disciplines that I use in my practice.  You can watch the video below to train yourself, and use the step by step guide as you go through your day.

It works. It is quick and simple. The more you use it, the easier it becomes!!

blue box with white lettering, How To Manage Your State of Mind: The BRIEF Protocol

B: Body Awareness

The body is your best cue to the first sign of dys-ease. It all starts with the body. When you learn to notice the cues from your body you will find out that it is the first-responder. Notice any tension, pressure, constriction.

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R: Rein Your Attention

Directing the attention to the breath. Deep slow breaths. A count of 4 in and 4 out. If the breath is not comfortable bring the attention to the feet on the ground or where your body connects with the surface on which you are sitting or lying.

I: Imagine Yourself In a Positive State

Take your mind to something that is very soothing for you. A wonderful memory of spending time with someone you care about, a scene from a beautiful vacation or even an imaginary place that you find soothing and calming.

E: Enhance The Positive State

Make it come alive in your mind! The more detail the stronger the effect. Think of the sounds, the smells, the temperature, the details of the scene and notice the positive feelings, and the thoughts that accompany them.

F: Feel and notice the change.

Now check in again with the body and see how much better it feels. Your body and mind are in constant communication. Mind better, body improves. Body more comfortable, mind improve. Maintain the feeling.

Repeat as needed.

How To Manage Your State Of Mind?

Be kind to yourself and others as you practice the tools available to you.

Find what works for you and get better at it.

Remember it is an ongoing process. You do not get cured! But you do get more and more skilled at managing your emotions, your thoughts, and your actions. It takes less and less time to return to balance and you move from being more reactive to actually choosing your responses.