People do various things to achieve a state of meditation , flow, relaxation or anything you like to call the practice of switching off the internal voice and just ‘being’.
My way to do this is practicing Hot Bikram Yoga which I’ve been doing for about 5 years now. It’s great for me because I have to concentrate so hard on staying still in poses in a boiling hot room, that there’s very little space for my to-do list!
However, it’s quietening the inner voice can still be a challenge and today, I allowed my inner monologue to be ‘triggered’. It started well – I placed myself in a great spot – near the windows (just in case the teacher takes pity and opens them), and with a clear view of the mirror so I could see if I was wonky. We started the class…so far so good. Then, halfway through the first exercise, the lady diagonally in front of me moved her mat. Directly in front of my mat. She then proceeded to have quite a difficult class with a lot of wobbling and getting up and down – we’ve all been there and it’s completely understandable, but tricky to concentrate when someone’s flapping directly in front of you!
My justice button had been hit, and off went my internal monologue. It was a very good loop of the following statements. ‘Why would she move directly in front of me when there’s plenty of other space in the room. The teacher asked her not to move in the pose but she still did. He hasn’t noticed that she’s slap bang in front of me. Now she’s wobbling and I can’t concentrate.’ Etc. etc.
Have a Word!
For the first time, in quite a long time (as part of our NLP
training we learn to diffuse as many of the things that ‘set us off’ as we can), I had to have a word. With myself.
The first question I asked was very sneaky; ‘How long do you want to carry on ranting about this inside your head for?’. ‘Not long’ was the answer, it wasn’t exactly fun and was definitely spoiling my class.
Second question - ‘What are your options?’. ‘Er…well…To move myself and disrupt the class, to ask her to move and disrupt the class, to shut up and get on with it and enjoy the challenge.’
It was like speaking to a five year old. I quickly agreed that there wasn’t anything I was going to actively do to improve the situation, so I’d best get on with it. I then challenged myself to stay still in adversity and ended up having an incredible class. By the end of the class all feelings had dissipated and I had a huge smile for the wobbly lady – I have had so many classes like that and I know how it feels!
It’s funny - internally ranting at or about someone or a situation does very little to the offending person or situation and manages to work the ‘ranter’ up into a negative state. Whether it’s rehearsing an argument with someone who’s stood to close to you on the tube, or thinking about what you’d like to do to the driver of a car that’s just gone through a puddle and ruined your best outfit, the longer you rant, the more impact it has on your day and consequently your mood.
Some top tips for shutting yourself up:
- ask how long you plan to have said ‘rant’ for, and allow that time if it’s reasonable.
- look at your options for action.
- take one of them. Simple!