As humans we crave certainty. When we tried to switch up the Christmas holidays last year by suggesting a different beach, my husband and I were hit with immediate howls of protest from three very put-out children. Now more than ever, this need for certainty is being tested. It’s hard to avoid the 24/7 news cycle of increasingly alarming news and the only consistency is we are in for the long haul. So now more than ever, we need to take some time to stay grounded.

Here are some easy actions for you to take to keep things real.

1. Notice your body 

Your body communicates with you all day, every day, and it is important to tune into these signals. Simply pausing to focus on our body forces us to notice our physical reactions. If our mind races unchecked to the worst possible scenario, our body races with it. So, your breath becomes shorter, your heart beats faster and you may flit from unfinished task to unfinished task. Tune into what your body is doing, create a deeper awareness of these physical sensations.

2. Then take one single breath  

One deep focussed breath can be enough to clear your mind. The narrative playing in your mind pauses and you simply breathe.

Focus on another breath as it moves into the body, and watch the breath closely as it leaves the body. Try it now.

For guided breathing and meditation practices, take the API meditation recorded by our own inhouse certified yoga and meditation teacher, Alice O’Neill.

3. Indulge in a simple pleasure  

What is the one thing you can do, look at, smell or say to invoke gratitude? My favourite is looking at the sky. Maybe yours is noticing the beauty in your surroundings or making a coffee to appreciate that delicious smell. Or perhaps it is having your pet by your side all day at the computer, something that may not have been possible at your office. Appreciate the little things and notice how your mood can change someone else’s day. Smile at a stranger (I got lovely return smile this morning from a worried looking elderly man). Make a gesture that helps us put life into perspective, that grounds you to what is real and present, and therefore certain.

4. Acknowledge your feelings (and others) 

It’s important to acknowledge what you are feeling day by day and hour by hour. It’s proven that acknowledging negative emotions takes the power out of them. It brings them to the light. You still need to manage the situation you are in but the emotions play less of role in driving worst case narrative.

Check in with colleagues, friends and family. Listen and try not to offer your advice or solution, everyone needs the ability to process things in their own time. Notice any unusual body language or physical cues and share this guide. Talk about simple pleasures, gratitude and enjoy the emotions.  You will also benefit from the real connection you have made, and that moment of humanity will sustain you.

Rachel Baird – General Manager, Professional Development and Education