Have you ever been to a Tony Robbins event? Back in the day, he used to do sales seminars. He’s up on the stage, all 7 ft of him, screaming at a room of overheated sales people:
“You need to get into a peak state! GET! INTO! A! PEAK! STATE!"
This intense feeling makes sense when you’re rocking out to Michael Jackson and watching Tony …you could sell ANYTHING! You’re on fire, a superhero. But the real mastery lies in knowing how to call on the skills to transform from tangled up in stress, worry, anxiety, anger or murderous rage into grounded happy calm. How do you get out of an overwhelming emotional state without committing a crime or disowning your children?
The terror on discovering your teenage daughter snuck out a basement window. You have no idea where she is or how long she’s been gone. Anxious fury when you’re stuck in a four mile backup on your way to a critical appointment that took months to schedule. Murderous irritation when your ex-husband wastes your ear space complaining about your daughter’s lack of sensitivity to his precious toddler’s needs.
If you turn to your peak state toolbox, you can cultivate calm surprisingly quickly.
Dissociate. If you are in the car, put on an audio book, music or a meditation. Do not listen to the news. Let your feelings wash over you without judgment. As they do, you will slowly separate ‘you’ from your feelings. Pro tip—this takes a little time! Once you recognize that you’re the one feeling your feelings (rather than feeling that you are those feelings) you’re more than halfway there.
Pleasure Time. Take time for yourself. If it’s a stressful patch in your work life or relationships—it’s often not a quick a fix. Take yourself out to lunch or dinner alone with a book. Order your favorite cocktail. Be sweet to the server. Let yourself be treasured. If your energy is fragile and your boundaries are a little hazy the friendly anonymity of a restaurant is often exactly the right level of care + distance.
Cleanse. Clean the house or do the laundry. Three or four hours alone at home with a few loads of laundry and a kitchen to clean almost tops a ½ day at Esalen. Take pleasure in doing the task to its fullest, folding the towels just right. Organize the linen closet or a drawer.
Move. Not just a little—a lot. To quote one of my favorite yoga teachers, you need to ‘break through that layer’ to get free of your head. Set a course for a five or six mile walk and put on a favorite podcast. Take a yoga class.
· Reach out. Call trusted friend: Sometimes a quick chat with a solid pal can diffuse you right away, snapping you out of your funk with the reminder you are deeply loved. Call a friend who is funny. Sleep and laughter are the world’s most powerful medicines.
Try these practical easy tips next time you find yourself stuck in a tornado of emotion. Mix up the order, add your own. The key is to unplug your mind from your thoughts until the mind really lets go. Then re-engage with what’s on your plate from a refreshed place.