When everything is swirling around you, how do you react? Do you run faster, get more manipulating and controlling or shut down? In these situations, it’s easy for your brain to go into overload. What if you could begin to notice stepping back and observing your world before reacting? sCould you feel more calm and present? Training your brain to become an observer of your life by asking questions is a place to start.
Become An Observer
According to Marilee Adams, in her book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, becoming an observer of your own life gives you an opportunity to be more present, centered, resourceful and strategic. When you are observing, it’s like taking a step back and experiencing your life as if you are watching a movie in which you are one of the main actors.
By taking the time to develop your observer capacity, you begin to be more in charge of your thoughts, feelings and actions- and an active participant in your choices. It moves you from the fight or flight portion of your brain to the frontal cortex where you can think more rationally. You end up not be so reactive and on automatic pilot, where you often feel controlled by other people, places and circumstances.
In the observer mode, practice noticing what is. In the what is mode, you can detach more from your own feelings, thoughts and assumptions. When you do that, you begin to notice the kinds of impulses you have in a challenging situation.
To increase your noticing muscle, try this. When your smart phone dings, resist the urge to look at it. Step back and notice how you are feeling, thinking and reacting. Do you go into automatic mode when your phone dings? Are you afraid of missing out on something important? How calm, still and present are you while reacting to the phone?
Now take a deep breathe, consider what is. What assumptions are you making about the message on your phone? Consider letting those thoughts and feelings float on by. What is it about that phone that needs to be attended to in that very moment? How was that experiment for you? How can you apply noticing to other things where you don’t have to be so immediately reactive?
Ask a Question
When in challenging situations, it is easy to be in a reactive mode. Stopping to ask yourself one simple question can often stop the reactivity. Ask yourself, “What is present now? By answering that simple question, you’ll find your reactions and thinking staying calmer. This question gives your brain a chance to be more still and present, simply by staying in this observer mode and the act of noticing.
Again, in a practice situation, when you find yourself in the middle of a traffic slowdown and are in a hurry, you may feel your blood pressure start to rise. Find out how your body reacts when you ask yourself, What is present now?
Perhaps the traffic slowdown could be an opportunity to be grateful you’re not in the accident up ahead or realizing the slowdown is what it is and no anxiousness will make it go faster. Asking the question often diffuses a stressful situation. Plus practicing gratitude is always good for your brain!
Over the next week, practice becoming more of an observer by stepping back from yourself and asking the question, “What’s present now?”. Notice what happens to your body and emotions when you ask that question in challenging situations. Take a deep breathe and observe your mind, body and emotional reactions connected to that question. How does it change your approach to the situation you are facing?
I would love to hear how this question,”What’s present now?” kicks you into your observer mode. Share at Nancy Booth Coaching facebook page or in the comments below. Let’s support each other towards developing a more observant, calm, still and present style of living Your brain will thank you for it.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach. I love creating safe spaces for you as you go through life’s transitions to discover and support your vision for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. I write about taming the overwhelm and finding ways to find life balance, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive my weekly blog or contact me to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm stress and enjoy a healthy brain . It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.
Coming up is a vision board workshop that could help you set your intentions for brain healthy lifestyle. I am offering a Create Your Healthy Dreams Vision Board Retreat, February 9th. Check out the information here and join us for a day long retreat to set your year on the right track. You’ll be so glad you did.