10 Ways to Reconnect to Yourself
Sometimes everyone needs a reset. Life gets too crowded, energy pours out in every direction like a bad plumbing leak, problems abound, demands are high, and you are just worn out. This can leave you feeling depleted, overwhelmed, used up, fragmented, out of control, and discontent. These are signs that you have become disconnected from yourself. It's time for a reset.
So the obvious question is " What exactly is a reset?" On most technical devices, it means going back to the original settings, or returning to the starting place. In this case, we're talking about an emotional reset, which means getting back to your sense of you that is separate from everything you do. It's the "you" that is concerned with being rather than doing. It's who you are. It's your starting place. When you push your emotional reset button, you again feel connected to yourself, and again feel able to take charge of what's happening in your life. You get on the front end instead of the back end of things. You can be proactive instead of reactive. You can breathe.
Here's my list of things you can do to help yourself reset. This is not exhaustive by any means, and I welcome anyone's input on other ideas. It's an important thing to do, so please, share!
Identify your core values.
Take some time out and remind yourself of what's really important to you. What are your core values? Are your activities in keeping with those values? Do you feel good about what you do, how you are behaving, who you keep company with, how you express yourself, or how you treat yourself? It's good to check in once in awhile and make sure that your life is in line with what you believe in and what you feel is really worthwhile. It's easy to get on life's treadmill and lose track of it's meaning. Taking regular breaks to identify your core values and realign yourself with them if necessary. Make this a priority.
Have real conversations with intimate friends or partners.
Conversing with people you love, respect and feel kinship with can be energizing, confirming and ultimately calming all at the same time. You may even wish to use these conversations as a way of checking in on your core values. However, any kind of conversation with close friends or partners you trust, that are intimate or have depth can really help reset your mindset and remind you and confirm for you who you are. By feeling connected with real friends, you can regain some sense of connection to yourself through your interactions with them.
Writing is a great way to take what's rolling around in your psyche and giving it some room to breathe and make some headway. Just by writing what you think, how you feel, what you want to do, what your plans are, what your dreams are, or whatever you want to write, you get some clarity. You also give your mind a rest by removing some of the debris that's accumulating there. There's a great little phrase coined by Noah St. John in his audio program called The Power Habits System that refers to this mind debris. He calls it "head trash." That really captures it in a very graphic way: Head Trash! And as we know, trash clogs and blocks the flow.
Writing is a perfect way to empty the mental trashcan. By putting things on paper, we can begin to sift through the rubble for diamonds we want to keep, and other stuff that needs to be worked through or processed, and then other stuff that needs to be discarded by letting go. Writing is a way of clarifying and releasing. It also tells us what we're stuck on, as well as what diamonds we have stashed away we didn't know about. It's a great self-connector.
Drive out of town.
Huh? This is a method of reconnecting to ourselves? I think so. In fact, travelling of any kind is often used by creative types to stir up ideas and create new perspective on things. Think about it. When you get in the car and start driving, your mind goes into a different mode altogether. A different kind of focus occurs. Even if your mind is racing, you are more able to focus on the thoughts you are having without outside distractions.
Sometimes that can be a little iffy for driving, but it seems to happen anyway. When you actually begin putting distance between yourself and your town or city, you get a different feeling altogether. There is some release and sense of space opening up. You breathe a little bit. It's as though you are in a suspended atmosphere where you really can't do anything but drive. You are away from your house and all of the chores that need to be done, and away from your office or work with all of the work that awaits. You have to drive, so you have permission to take a break.
There is something really calming about that, and when you slow down mentally and emotionally, ideas and solutions begin to surface. Thoughts about the bigger picture come into focus.You are temporarily off the roller coaster and you have no way to get back on for a while.
Travelling further and actually taking trips by plane or train can give you even more of this perspective, but if you don't have the time or money for that, then just get in the car and take a drive, preferably at least a little ways out of town.
Walk outside without music.
Walking has been shown to increase creativity through research, so there is no doubt about that. In addition to creativity, walking outside in particular has even more benefits. It connects you to nature and takes you a little outside of yourself. You feel yourself as part of something bigger and grander which reduces your sense of isolation and helplessness. It reconnects you to your body in a way that is not strenuous, but is calming, and reconnects you to the earth and the whole world of life of which we are a part. The caveat here is to walk without listening to music or any type of audio program. This is fine when the goal is exercise primarily, but for purposes of our reset, walking in silence and listening to the sounds of nature is key.
Turn off the technology.
This one is pretty self explanatory, and most people are aware that being glued to our computer, cell phone, tablet, TV, iPod, not to mention email, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media can consume huge amounts of time in which we are absorbed outside of ourselves. Not only that, a lot of that time is wasteful because what we are looking at fills our minds up with trivia, or maybe negativity, or just useless information we don't need.
I am not at all saying that technology is not useful or doesn't have a place. After all, I'm writing blogs to be read on technology. I am just saying that indiscriminate use of technological devices can take up and waste a lot of time. Take some time off and see how it affects you. Try a day in the house with no TV on, or no music, or no computer time. You're forced to be with yourself and your own thoughts and feelings. Your mind will spread out, and you'll become reacquainted with yourself if you've been away.
Put down the glass of wine.
A glass of wine is fine and often relaxing, but to really reconnect with yourself, it's best to have a clear mind and unclouded emotions. You may be feeling turbulent, but alcohol isn't likely to help you with your reset. It might give you some temporary respite, but then the problems come back with greater energy. You want to move into yourself, not away. Be quiet and listen to what's going on inside of you.
Check your diet.
If you are in the habit of eating a lot of junk food, or even food that's full of sugar, white flour, and bad fat, then you probably don't even realize how much that food affects your mood and level of anxiety. A whole food diet, mostly plant based with healthy fats can do wonders for your state of mind. You will feel calmer, more in control, and have more emotional reserves to deal with stress. Diet has a major impact on your sense of well-being.
Get enough sleep.
This is a no brainer, but actually is something many people skimp on including myself. It's easy to sacrifice an hour or two of sleep per night when you have a lot to do and feel like there are not enough hours in the day. If you get up early in the morning and then work a long day, you may also have difficulty in winding down at night and going to bed early enough. The problem is that sleep deprivation has significant negative consequences to your health. According to the Center for Disease Control, people who experience sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and even cancer. Sleep deprivation also reduces productivity. Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
Meditation practice that is done on a regular basis has the effect of creating mental space characterized by greater calmness and mental sharpness. Meditation is also the great equalizer for runaway emotions. The type of meditation you choose is up to you, and will likely depend on what seems most appealing. A simple type is to watch the breath going in and out. Another popular technique is the practice of mindfulness. I would suggest doing a little research and then pick a technique to try. Once you find something you like, you need to do it consistently. Even 10 minutes a day for starters is fine as long as it is daily. The effects of meditation increase over time with consistent practice, and the effects are both subtle and powerful. Try it for 30 days to give it a chance to have an impact, and to establish the habit. It works best if you do it early in the day, and at the same time every day.