When thoughts go in several directions at once or when you feel disconnected from what you are doing in the moment, do yourself a favor. Pause for a moment to center your emotional energies.

When you are not centered, fear has overwhelmed the balance of the body, and thoughts feel scattered because the emotional part of the brain is flooded. Your subconscious mind has stopped cooperating with your conscious mind, in fact, it has hijacked all the systems of your body, as happens, whenever the stress response of the body gets activated.

Whether you are worrying about the future or a problem that needs to be fixed or just entertaining anxious thoughts, in effect, you are unwittingly throwing off your body’s balance by entertaining worrisome thoughts that focus your mind on anxious images “out there” somewhere in the future. Since the power to make choices resides in the present moment, this can leave you feeling powerless, or even overwhelmed.

What happens to throw you off balance or make you feel disconnected? Conflict. Tense moments. Triggers.

What do they have in common? They activate painful or unpleasant emotions inside, and the body’s “fight of flee” response.

Emotions are signals, important messages that the mind of your body sends to your thinking brain. “It is through ‘molecules of emotion’ that our brain, glands, organs, and immune system are in constant communication,” says Dr. Candace Pert in her book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine. Unfortunately, if you’re like many, you’ve been conditioned throughout life to deny or numb, ignore or dismiss painful emotions.

Avoiding or denying your feelings, however, is a temporary solution that backfires somewhere down the line. Taking a few moments to center yourself is a great option, as well as a kind loving gift to yourself.

What does centering yourself mean? It is a process that involves tuning into what is going on inside, your feelings, thoughts, needs, wants, etc., so that you may be fully present to your experience of self in the moment. This allows your conscious mind and subconscious to work together.

Since your conscious process, it involves making conscious choices. More specifically, you can choose to gain the cooperation of your subconscious mind, the part of the mind that runs all the systems of the body. Here are five fast and easy ways:

  1. Set an intention to do so. One of the first steps to take, when you notice you are off balance, is to simply set an intention to restore calm to the energies of your mind and body.
  2. Practice slow, deep breathing. Prompt yourself to, “Breathe,” and take long, slow, deep breaths, from deep within your belly. Focus on your breathing, with every inhale, breathe in a sense of calmness and confidence. With every exhale, let go of tension or stress. If you follow the ebb and flow of your breath, you will find this easily restores your balance.
  3. Notice what’s going on inside. Observe what you are thinking, feeling or needing inside. Consciously let go of any judgments, give yourself empathy, and validate your emotions with an affirmation, such as, “It makes sense that I’m feeling anxious. I’m scaring myself out of sharing my feelings with worrisome thoughts, such as ‘I will hurt people’s feelings if I tell them how I feel.”
  4. Affirm words to yourself that are calming. Confidently remind yourself that you can handle unpleasant emotions, and think of situations in the past when you have. Make calming affirmations, such as “I feel anxious. I can handle this. I have in the past. I feel confident in my ability to remain centered and calm.”
  5. Visualize the outcome you want. If possible, sit down for a few moments, close your eyes, see your entire body relaxed, put a smile on your face, and picture yourself as calm, confident and centered. Now imagine the most positive outcome to some problem. See the picture vividly, hear the sounds, feel the feelings. Enjoy the sensations this image brings to you.

Use these five tools daily, as needed, to center yourself in the present moment.  When you are fully present to your experience of life in the moment, you have access to vital resources inside, core powers of awareness, intention, and breath, etc. This optimizes your ability to make informed decisions.

Don’t be surprised if, with practice, your ability to regulate and center your mind and body helps you to energize key relationships in your family, even the intimacy and relational rapport with your partner! Enjoy!