How to Change Your Relationship To Negative Feelings

This is Day Twenty Eight in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Empower yourself by creating a space between action and emotion.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Meditation is a powerful way of forming a different relationship to things you are feeling or experiencing.

At first this changed relationship will be true only during meditation, but over time you can extend and expand this relationship into your everyday life.

think of a recent feeling of irritation you had  for somebody or something.

What is your relationship to that feeling?

Are you stuck with that feeling?

Is it replaying over and over in your mind?

This constant replay is a form of reinforcement. Neuroplasticity works both ways: delivering either positive or negative change  to your brain’s neural structure and function.

Can you step back from that feeling?

Start by recognising it, and then deconstruct it into its various elements.

Can you now start to change your thinking about that feeling?

Hold back your initial troubled reaction to it and replace it with a sense of calm, replace it with a sense of spaciousness.

Does this create a space between the act of doing or not doing and your feeling toward it?

Does it help you separate out the action and the emotion it initially gave rise to?

Your aim is to reach a point where you no longer reinforce the negative and instead you link that difficult feeling with the deep well of open, untroubled awareness that exists within yourself,

This leads to a relaxation of the need to react to that negative feeling and immediately disempowers that feeling.

You will find yourself less controlled by such feelings. You’ll find yourself less in fear of being in situations that may give rise to them and therefore less likely to avoid such circumstances.

This is at the heart of being fierce.

When you are more relaxed overall you find yourself being less fatigued, you find yourself being more productive,  you find yourself being more emotionally intelligent and you find yourself making more strategic decisions.

This is at the heart of being a better leader.

Understanding that you can change your brain through your mind you are empowered to transform your life.

How to Breathe in More Resilience

This is Day Twenty Three in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Reduce stress and build resilience through breathing techniques.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey, it’s Rand,

The second element in the happiness algorithm is being resilient, and the most effective method to build up resilience is to breathe.

By controlling your breathing patterns you alter your emotions and induce stress reduction.

When I was in the military I trained myself to deal with stress but taking a deep breath

and letting it out slowly.  This would help to reduce my anxiety about a stressful situation

and it also increased my clarity of thought so that I could determine how to deal with a sticky situation in the most effective way.

Extending your inhalation and exhalation for just 10 minutes a day can bring noticeable relaxation.

By engaging in deep abdominal breathing you stimulate your vagus nerve, which acts to calm your stress induced fight or flight response. Breathing deeply into your abdominal chamber involves expanding your diaphragm, which is the muscle that sits lengthwise between your stomach and chest.

Reduce your number of breaths by 50% per minute, long and slow 4 to 5 second in breaths and then 4 to 5 second out breaths. Preferably your exhalations should be slightly longer than your inhalations.

Try it now.

Take a deep breath in, hold and then let it out slowly.

Hold.

Take a deep breath in, hold and let it out slowly.

Hold.

Resume normal breathing.

Try that for a series of 6 cycles over the next week and notice how your body changes: your posture will relax; you will feel more focused.

Want to Exist in the Now, Be Happy and Less Stressed?

As revealed in my new book, Fierce Reinvention, there are three things you can do to increase your ‘now’ time.

Now time is good for you because it raises your happiness levels, helps you to de-stress and decreases the amount of negative chatter in your mind.

So let’s get started:

  1. Minimize the potential for distractions

Perhaps unsurprisingly, you can minimize the potential for distractions by keeping an uncluttered workspace, placing your mobile phone on silent and, while you are wanting to focus, removing any form of email or social notification and abstaining from accessing any form of social media.

  1. Create focus time

No doubt about it, you can create focus time by allocating calendar slots for progressing your prioritized projects and then sticking to them. Within these 90-minute slots make sure to take a 10-minute break mid way to stretch, look at the horizon and breathe in the world around you.

Give the task your full attention and notice when your mind wanders. Acknowledge the intruding thought and gently, but fiercely return your mind to the task at hand.

  1. Build a “now” practice

Wham! There is no end point you are trying to get to when practicing living in the now. It is all about building up to a regular practice of now-related behaviors.

And boom! You’re there: the more you practice being present, in the now, the better you will become at achieving this depth of focus.

The result? You may also start to notice the compulsions to ‘quickly check’ your email or your social media feed become weaker. As your practice grows the intruding thoughts won’t be as loud and they will arrive less often and with less fanfare, and you will easily be able to shuffle them on and stay focused. This indicates that you are positively shifting your behavior and strengthening your ‘now’ practice.

Taken from my new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD), October 2017) is available from Amazon.

How to Quieten Your Mind

This is Day Eleven in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Build a meditation practice and align your body and mind.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey it’s Rand,

Our monkey minds constantly barrage us with negative chatter:

“I’m not good enough”

“She will let me down”

“Who is this guy?”

But by asking yourself, “What do I need to prove?”

And by realising that there is nothing to prove to your inner self, to your observer, you significantly reduce that internal dialogue, that monkey mind chatter and you will begin to convert  the negativity into positive, connective, universal thoughts that transcend the need to prove yourself to others and to society at large.

So much of our time is taken up with distracting thoughts that leave us in a fractured state of mind. Off-task thinking and mind wandering both increase that mindless chatter.

So what can we do to keep ourselves on task and aligned?

The answer is Meditation. It is fantastic for bringing your mind back into focus.

Think of meditation as the practice of aligning mind and body. It is less about switching off all your thinking and more about relaxing with your thoughts: acknowledging them without judgement and letting them pass through you without trying to hold onto them.

Your to-do list will still be there when you finish meditating, but during your meditation practice you need to be fiercely gentle with yourself, noticing thoughts and feelings but not acting on them.

In meditation you will acknowledge a thought and then let it pass through your mind, comfortable that it is something you can take care of after you finish your session.

Shifting from your everyday dream-like wandering to a more focused state, you substitute the chatter of your discursive mind with another, more calming object of attention. This could be your breath, or it could be a chanted mantra.

A meditation practice allows you to see the gap that exists between your everyday narrative, your story, and what manifests once you quiet down all the chatter and achieve relative stillness.

Had a Crazy Busy Week? Here’s How to Reduce Stress Through Fiercely Gentle Meditation

Think about it: you’ve had one of those crazy weeks that seem all too prevalent: time has flown by and deadlines have risen faster than any of the aeroplanes you’ve flown in during the week, you haven’t had time to stop for a second, let alone contemplate exercise or looking after your body. And now you feel completely out of sync, your body is a huge stress ball and the tension in your back, neck and shoulders is tighter than a loaded gun.

At this point you force yourself to go for a long walk, a run, or a swim and boom! You’re there. You feel more balanced; you notice your breathing becoming deeper and longer; you stand up straighter; and you feel more connected both with yourself and with the world around you.

But here’s the interesting thing, you can achieve the same balance through seated, or any other form, of meditation. Your exercise can be viewed as a form of meditation too.

So let’s take a closer look at meditation. Simply put, it is the practice of aligning mind and body through focusing your attention on a single point, most commonly your breath.

And the great thing about it is that it reduces the stress and tension that builds up when we are out of sync. Even better, when you have a regular meditation practice you are far less likely to get to that out of sync phase.

If you’ve already tried to meditate you’ve probably found that instead of being able to silence your mind, it has gotten even more active. The good news is that meditation practice is not about switching off all thinking. Instead, you get to relax with your thoughts, acknowledging them without judgment and letting them pass through without trying to hold onto them.

Unfortunately, your to-do list will still be there when you finish meditating, but during practice be fiercely gentle with yourself, noticing thoughts and feelings but not acting on them.

What do I mean by being fiercely gentle? An example would be not reacting to one of those arresting thoughts that would normally jolt you into action and have you jumping off your meditation cushion in a blind panic.

You remember that you haven’t spoken to a family member for a week and feel so guilty that you would normally be compelled to interrupt your meditation and call them immediately. Instead you fiercely restrain your automatic fight-or-flight reaction, doing so gently and without judgment; you tell that thought that you take it upon notice and let it pass through your mind, comfortable in the knowledge that it is something you can take care of after you finish your practice.

Here’s the kicker, one of the most powerful impacts of a practice in meditation is that it allows you to see the gap that exists between your everyday narrative, your story, and what manifests once you quiet down all the chatter and achieve relative stillness.

In this state you can take note of themes that recur and observe emotions that come up time and time again. This leads you to have the power to disrupt the habitual reality that your external ego has constructed and allow your inner life, your soul narrative, to shine through.

For more insights into meditation and other mindfulness practices see my new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD)), which is available from Amazon.

 

 

Choose How You Confront Fear

 

FEAR.

It’s always there. It can either liberate or bury you. It all depends on how you deal with it.

Compare fear with the wind. When it is a gentle breeze against your cheek, you hardly notice it. However, when it turns into a howling gale you instinctively brace into it.

No matter its strength you only become mindful of the wind when you notice it, gently rippling over or buffeting your whole body. In that moment of mindfulness you can decide to enjoy nature or cower from its power.

Fear is always blowing. At times with ferocity.

Choosing how you confront fear puts you in power.

 

 

Want to Know What the Driving Force to Being Greater and Happier Is?

Think about this for a moment: we all want to be greater. We all want to be happier.

As Mahatma Gandhi, one of the fiercest, yet most compassionate, humans to have ever lived and a master of reinvention said, “We need to be the change that we want to see in the world.”

The truth is that we can only do this by redefining fierce, being brave and compassionate, and challenging everything.

Until the 16th century, fierce was synonymous with bravery. Yet in the 21st century we’ve become less brave, we’ve become more and more accepting of things the way they are.

And so today we are bringing fierce back, but tempering it with compassion.

The fact of the matter is that the word ‘fierce’ can be polarizing in the process of reinvention and so I want to be crystal clear what I mean by it.

Dictionary synonyms include “unbridled,” “uncurbed,” “untamed.” The word fierce evokes a duality of feelings: being somewhat unnerved and yet exhilarated.

And yet the good news is that this fiercely invoked fear can drive us to really know who we are and where we belong; it can help us discover our passion; it can help is connect this passion to our profession and it can help us to use this passion to increase our impact in the world.

A word of caution though: being fierce doesn’t mean being furious and releasing destructive emotions. Fierce is firm and tough on the outside while maintaining love, compassion, forgiveness, and deep insight on the inside.

The point? When we set out to reinvent our lives, fierce is the driving force to being greater, to being happier, and above all to not accepting the status quo.

In a nutshell, we live in a world that has much wrong with it.

Now is the time to be fierce, to challenge, and change everything. Go do it!

My new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD), 2nd October 2017) is now available from Amazon.

It Took a Near Death Experience For Me to Dare to Be Great

Smack!

A near death experience is like being reborn.

It hits you like a ton of bricks: it strips away all the conditioning; it strips away all the layers of inauthenticity, which have built up like plaque over the years; it reveals your naked self. No bullshit.

Let’s dig a little deeper. When I came back from my near death experience in 2014 I saw everything through fresh eyes.

Wham! I woke up to the reality that there is no future point to work toward; I woke up the reality that there is no delayed gratification in life.

What it all boils down to is that we must seize the moment: we must break through any fear; we must override our negative self-talk; we must live in the moment with compassion and love for both others and ourselves; and most importantly, we must do what comes naturally to us.

Unfortunately, it took nearly losing my life for me to become aware of how I was living: lacking spirituality; disconnected from myself; racing for the dollar at the expense of my health and my family. To make matters worse, I knew I wasn’t alone in living this way either: I saw it all around me in my colleagues and friends; I saw it in my community;  and I saw it in the wider world.

How many of us delay inner joy and instead chase after fleeting moments of happiness?

Addicted to the new, to the shiny, constantly on the move—flitting our attention this way and that—and all the time trying to drown out an ever-louder cacophony of negative voices, a growing sense of dread, and overwhelming sense of fear.

How many of us live moments away from burnout?  We lack resilience and feel like we are running on empty all the time.

And while it may be painful to acknowledge, how many of us don’t take personal responsibility for our situation and outcomes; instead blaming our conditioning, blaming our parents, or blaming our upbringing?

Here is the point: the only way we can make a difference and start healing ourselves and our world is to take personal responsibility for our actions and live in the now by mindfully and purposefully focusing on the present moment as it unfolds, without dwelling on what we have done or dream of doing. It is up to each and every one of us to step up, take more responsibility and assume a higher level of leadership.

So what’s the answer? The aim of my new book, Fierce Reinvention, is to encourage you and show you in simple practical steps how to reinvent your life and live it to the fullest, without constraints. By the end of reading it, my hope is that you will have found your soul voice so that you can be a better leader, and live a more productive and meaningful life, rich with unbridled joy and self-fulfilment.

In doing so you dare to become great.

Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success by Rand Leeb-du Toit ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD), 2nd October 2017) is available from Amazon and other leading booksellers.