Pressing the Reset Button
You know what it’s like. You start the day well.
Your coffee kicks in at just the right time. You’re feeling prepared and your hair is even cooperating.
And then it happens.
Something out of your control comes out of left field to throw the proverbial spanner in the works….Your client cancels at the last minute or asks to reschedule……Your flight is delayed causing all meetings to be pushed out…Your car malfunctions…
Like Lloyd Braun (George Costanza’s nemesis in Seinfeld) you cry out: Serenity Now! You start to curse the sky as a conspiracy to keep you from your goals and your day starts to spiral down…you spill coffee down your shirt, you miss the parsley in your teeth and then forget your pen at a meeting…then you’re cursing the traffic on the way home!
Without vigilance for our thoughts, it’s easy to continue on the trajectory downwards. It’s one thing for outside events to hinder our progress; it’s another to stop ourselves from internalising them and actually encouraging our brain to look for more! Because it absolutely will…unless we take action.
I call this the RESET Button. When things go wrong, as they will from time to time, use situations like the ones I’ve highlighted as opportunities to take a few minutes out and start your day again fresh from that point forward.
The first time I heard this, it was like a revelation to me, but why it hadn’t occurred to me before that, I’m not quite sure because it is such a simple concept and one that has major positive impact. You can start your day again and again if need be, and it helps us to be conscious and present.
So, how can we do this and what are the benefits?
ONE: Write down 5 things you’re grateful for
Simply journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10% (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005) Regular gratitude journaling has been shown to result in 5% to 15% increases in optimism (Amin, 2014), meaning that the more we think about what we are grateful for, the more we find to be grateful for! This is because it strengthens the reticular activating system in the brain to look for more things to be grateful for. A literal reset button in our brains!
TWO: Listen to relaxing music
Several studies have shown that production of serotonin is elevated in the brain when a person is engrossed in the music. The soothing vibe that you feel around yourself is the outcome of serotonin which is released under the effect of classical music. Scientists also say that, classical and ambient music can bring down the levels of hormone cortisone, whose excessive presence can cause anxiety, stress and depression.
THREE: Take 5 minutes
To focus on a spot in the distance and gradually allow your peripheral vision to take in all aspects of your surroundings including movement, sounds and smells. Doing this regularly on a daily basis reduces the size of the amygdala which is responsible for the stress related fight or flight response, enabling us to respond more than just react.
But you don’t need to wait until something goes wrong to reset. Showing up in a calm, centred manner at work especially will help to improve the quality of our decisions, the quality of our relationships and the impact of our communication.
What’s not to like?