What percentage of your average day is spent in stress?
What We Have to Worry About Vs Our Ancestors
Compared to 50-100 years ago, we are taking in a LOT of data every day. Did you know that every single day, the average person takes in the equivalent of reading 17 newspapers cover to cover? Between articles online, social media feeds, texts, emails, and more, it’s just a lot of information and stimuli, and our brains haven’t evolved to be able to process all of this without it stressing us out. For many of us, it can cause anxiety, focus problems, sleep problems and more.
Our ancestors only had to worry about four things: feeding themselves, shelter, protecting themselves from imminent danger and their offspring. Now, what do we have to keep track of? Food, danger, shelter, our offspring, bills and everybody’s schedules, household maintenance, phones always going off, social media, alarm clocks, yard work, office work, social gatherings, dentist appointments and countless other things. All this data flowing into (and often attacking) our brains causes our brains to use the same fight or flight (or freeze) mechanism that our ancestors used to cater to their 4 basic concerns.
Our brain is using its fight, flight or freeze mechanism, and sometimes it means we “flight” the present moment. Our brain is thinking about all the things we need to do and the people coming at us through our cell phones. It’s a lot but we just keep ignoring that little buzz of stress because it’s not “too bad.” We’re distracted by all these thoughts and often aren’t able to live in the present moment because of all the “noise.” We’re not just being. It’s often to the point that we literally can’t just sit here and “be”.
Anxiety happens when we’re not living in the present moment. You need all the parts of you (not just the physical parts) right here, centered to this moment, and once you are able to bring all the parts of you back, the anxiety dissipates.
The quickest technique I have for calling myself to the present moment and stopping the stress is something I like to call Zooming In. This is a technique that participants of The Hope Course (my course for healing chronic stress, depression and anxiety) are very familiar with.
There are moments when you have no choice but to be present. Yoga is an example. If you’re doing a downward dog or a really difficult yoga pose, you have no choice but to be present or you will fall on your face.
There are certain things we do in life that we have to be so focused on our physical body and what’s going in our mind. We have to be so present that there’s no other option. I’m going to teach how to basically bring you and force your brain into that present moment.
This is a form of mindfulness and you can practice it as many times in the day as you want.
How to Zoom In:
- Zoom In on some little detail. It could be a finger print on the window. It could be a chip of paint on the wall, or the fibers in your jeans. Just pick something with detail and Zoom In on it. Focus all your senses on it. Pay attention to what’s it’s made of. In the case of a fingerprint on the window: Is it made of dirt? Mac and Cheese? What is its shape and texture? Take a moment or two and Zoom In by noticing every detail. Hyper focusing and honing in on something visual and taking the audio out forces you to become present. If you happen to zoom into something you love, like your kid’s eyelashes or their chubby toes, then it’s even more powerful because not only do you feel centered, grounded and are having a mindful moment, but you’re also falling in love with your kids more which creates a stronger connection to the present moment.
That’s it! It’s quick and easy but it has done wonders for me and dozens of my Hope Course friends!
Zooming In will calm you down very quickly in that anxious moment when you feel that you’re about to explode. It’s really something that’s changed my life in a powerful way. It’s quick and easy and will work on the first try. Try Zooming In, and let me know by commenting on how it went below.