It doesn’t have to take a lot to knock you off your game.
You can feel great about writing your book then get a terse note from an editor that flares up your insecurities.
You can start off strong doing two Tiny Marketing Actions a day then hit a week where you do none.
You can start a year’s business development off strong and then get three rejections in a row from prospective clients.
You can get word from a long-time client that they are not renewing their contract.
You turn on the television on any given day and are met with frightening and overwhelming news.
Regardless of the source of the jolt, you can feel your internal wheel of momentum slowly grind to a halt.
You are the best judge of knowing which issues will require long, sustained actions to change your current dynamic like getting a new job after a layoff, addressing a deeper mental health issue like depression or recovering from a serious business downturn.
Smaller zings like a harsh comment on social media still feels big in the moment to your nervous system.
10 Tiny Shifts
These ten tiny shifts are great for gaining a new perspective, calming your nervous system, and giving you the energy you need to work on the issue longer-term.
1. Look at a calming picture
If you have a favorite picture on your phone, or one on your wall, especially that shows green spaces, sea spaces or fractals, a few moments staring at it can calm you down. Human or pet parents may find the same thing looking at a picture of a wee human or pup.
2. Smell something wonderful
Fresh flowers, a favorite candle or good-smelling herbs or oils, especially sniffed with your eyes closed, can make you feel immediately better. Plan to have such things on hand for tense moments.
3. Remember a favorite moment
Sit with your eyes closed and bring yourself back to a favorite moment. This could be a memory with a beloved person or a time by yourself where you felt unburdened and free.
I always flash back to riding my bike to Phoenix Lake at 7 years old, feeling the wind in my hair and power in my bike pedals.
4. Read an inspirational quote or favorite passage
I have a few books that are dog-eared with favorite passages. Save quotes or passages that remind you who you are, and that contribute to a shift in perspective.
A quote I have held onto since I was an exchange student at 16 years old was from Anais Nin: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
I also like my friend Greg Hartle’s quote: “Your temporary situation does not have to become your permanent reality.”
5. Listen and Move
Music is powerful, and coupled with movement, can completely release the yuck emotions trapped in your body.
6. Call a Mentor or BFF
It is great to have trusted relationships with mentors and friends who get you. In moments where you really feel crappy, you need someone who is going to read the moment and give you encouragement and laughter, not unsolicited advice.
My Dad was the best at this. When I had a publisher reject a book or an editor critique my writing he would tell me a true and hilarious self-deprecating story from his own four-plus decades as a photojournalist. I would always end the call with a big smile on my face and renewed energy to take to the page again.
7. Take a Nap
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a nap. Things usually look different on the other side of some rest.
If you have a life where things are always coming at you from oppressive forces and behaviors, you will really enjoy Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey.
Comics will tell you that comedy often comes from difficult experiences. Watch a favorite funny movie, check out the TikTok channel of a favorite stand up comedian, or go to a local comedy show.
9. Clean or Rearrange
Straightening up your outer environment will often shift your inner environment.
Growing up, when I felt stuck, I would completely re-arrange my room, donate uninspiring clothing and get a new plant. All done while blasting loud music, much to my Mom’s chagrin.
10. Be Still
While external or sensory movement can shake things up, sometimes the best course of action is to find a comfortable spot to sit still and observe your mind. If you already have a meditation practice, this will be easier. If you don’t, it is a great time to start. Dr. Romie has a great primer here.
Using any of these quick techniques will not immediately solve your problems.
What they will do is open up some space for curiosity, possibility and movement. When you practice them on a regular basis, you will be more adaptable to the bumps and knocks of life.
You got this.