Living on the Edge

It’s evident that the last few years of financial fear, worry and uncertainty has taken its toll on human emotions. Where once we found solutions through calm reasoning, now we suffer higher levels of reaction, anger and disquiet.

There’s a mindfulness exercise we teach kids and teens called ‘What Lit The Firework’, it’s a process that allows them to recognise the point at which their emotions overflow and explode over a small thing.

Many people now through social conditioning are living on the edge – with small (and mostly insignificant things) causing them to react with disproportionate rage. It’s a bit like driving your car at almost maximum revs all the time, it won’t be long before burn out happens. In ancient eastern practices like Qigong, emotion is one of the biggest blocks of energy that leads to illness and dis-ease. It is believed anger and anxiety damages the liver energy and fear damages the kidney energy.

Because it’s not visible, the constant outbursts and carrying around of negative emotions can be hard to detect until, that is, a full stop hits your life (family breakdown, ill-health, etc).

If you feel the weight of the last few years with squeezed household budgets, uncertain job prospects and an anxious future then you’re not alone. But you have a choice as to whether you react or respond to things (and there’s a huge difference between them).

Mindfulness is the first step on your journey for gaining back control of your emotions, because it increases awareness of them. Notice how you breathe, notice how you feel, notice the things you’re about to say and then STOP!

Place your hands on your stomach, breathe in through your nose and take your breath down into your stomach, feeling it expand into your hands. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Now notice your thoughts, not with any criticism, judging or labelling – just awareness.

Then take your attention back to the situation and make a conscious choice about how you’d like to respond.

Other people might be living on the edge, their rev counter pointing to explosive tirade at any moment – but you don’t have to join them.

Remember you have the ability to make that choice. With practice you can live more mindfully, balancing emotions and managing things proportionate to the situation.

By Ian Fox