Recently, I’ve written about improving self-talk, celebrating tiny moments of success, resolving trauma, strengthening willpower, and many more. I’ve talked about how Behavior Creates Emotion, and devoted the FUN Class series to exploring behavior as a way to bring emotional resonance into our dance. And now 3 more ways to thrive.
These are just some of the methods we will use in Create Your Glorious Self to develop our personae and activate our agency. I love them because they are based in science–each of them has been studied many many times and found to be practical, repeatable methods–and because they work. Try them and see! These are methods you can start using right now. You can change how you react to challenges–and become more chill, relaxed, and present.
As you change yourself, your circumstances change as well. We are all engaged in patterns of behavior. Some of which are very old and may no longer serve us–but they are so ingrained as to be automatic. The good news is that patterns are a sort of fractal–when you change one element, the whole pattern gets interrupted, and there is a sudden opening for change and growth. So…
3 Ways to Thrive
1. Choose Your Own Adventure
It’s a pattern. My kid snipes at me. Annoyed, I snipe back. Huh. Not so helpful. What would serve me better than this conditioned response of joining the snipe-fest? And how would I put that into play?
The same goes for all of us. What is the pattern, the behavior loop in which we are trapped? What happens first? What next? Where is the gap into which we can insert an exit? Once the pattern is interrupted, there is an opportunity for everyone’s behavior to change. First, we choose how we want to be, who we want to be in any specific interaction. It could be dance, home, work, play–anywhere something is happening that we want to change. Where is one such place for you? How would you prefer to respond?
2. Mind the Gap
Between a “stimulus” (eg, our kid breaks a plate, or we see the audience all staring at us, or our boss ignores us again, or whatever), and our “response” (eg, scream at the kid, start panicking, shrink into a hurt-ball or whatever), there is a tiny little gap. A space. A breath. Literally. This is the place to pause, breathe, and choose. It’s small, so it usually flits past before we even notice. But it’s there. We can often find it in retrospect. Track back from the moment everything fell apart–there will have been a stimulus and a response. And that tiny little gap.
The first step is to become aware of it. To notice it. Once we see it coming it, we can use it. However we have decided to be different, this tiny gap is the place where our new tire has a chance to meet a new road. Where we offramp out of the old, and into the new.
Rather than speeding forward, however, the trick is to s l o w t h i n g s d o w n . . .
3. Take the Red Pill
Once we are in the gap, we can move way more slowly than everything around us. We can breathe. Observe. Make a choice about how to respond.
Slowing down our breath is a prime strategy here. Not only does it increase willpower (which we need right now), it also increases our presence and our options. It pays to practice in less dire circumstances, too.
So here is the Red Pill: Inhale slowly for 5-6 seconds. Exhale slowly for 5-6 seconds. Let the breath be so gentle it forms a circle, with no real beginning or end. Do this five times. Do it often throughout the day so it becomes second nature. If you want to get fancy, you can gently hold the breath at the end of each inhale and exhale for another couple of seconds. Celebrate after each breath session. Woohoo! This is a win!
Then, when you hit the gap in your challenging situations, breathe. Honestly, just pausing will break the pattern. Shifting into a present, ready state will break the pattern. So we are already ahead of the game just by doing this one thing.
I invite you to try the breath now. Take note of how you feel before you start, and after you finish. What is different afterwards? Please let me know! Comment here on the blog or email me.
Change Takes Effort
If you want change, you have to do things differently. That’s just how it is. Me, personally, I am an efficient person. I love wasting time for my own ends, but I like my workflow to be smooooth. Everything I’ve been sharing about habit formation, willpower enhancement and so on, all these things help. I’ve integrated all of it into Create Your Glorious Self, built it all in, designed the support and accountability that I’ve found over the years to e the most useful and satisfying for so many dancers. I’ve been teaching online classes for a long time, and teaching professionally for decades. I know what I’m doing.
CYGS will help you. What you get out of it will reflect what you put into it. It will also reflect what I’ve put into it–and that’s a LOT ; ). The tools I’ve been collecting for Create Your Glorious Self thrill me beyond measure. I so look forward to sharing the whole process with you! CYGS is all about designing your Glorious Self and having the support and accountability to bring them into your life.
If you would like to show up differently–more open, more assertive, more confident, smarter, kinder, better–as a dancer, creator, worker, parent, lover, or human being in general, have a look at this program. It’s outstanding.