For me, I remembered it was swimming in a pool. It's a very slow motion with delibrate strokes. The length of the pool was not olympic size. One lap, I would use free-style and the return, breast stroke. I would concentrate on my breathe, using Anthony Robbins way.
Breathe in deeply on a count of 4 when the head is up above water and breath out, release the air slowly until you feel inhaled air has been release on a count of between 6 to 8. The oxygenated cell in my brain does help my mind relax. When I was concentrating on my breathing, my mind was clear.
Little did I know that it was actually a form of meditation. When I was concentrating on my breath, my mind was not thinking, I was focussing on my breathing and relaxing and I could swim all nite. I wasn't swimming to build muscles. The Universe has been pretty kind to me, I had no idea that meditation which is the current popular thing to do is to stop our incessant thinking. Not that we are thinking of positive things! How many of us think positive thoughts all the time, more of the negatives and the past and worry about future.
I didn't know about how meditation and exercise could help overcome stress.
That was the time I was going through a relationship break-down. There was no outlet where I could seek appropriate advice. Counsellors are good, but even if you see counsellors, they could not hold your hands, check on you regularly.
And anyone would tell you that when you have all the negative emotions, feeling helpless, its a long slippery road. Not careful, one can go down the rabbits' hole.
Positive thinking can help you temporary, one has to take actions to break the imaginations/thoughts that is like a pattern, keeps repeating itself. A vicious cycle. We have blind spots.
Any form of exercise helps. Oxygenated cells are healthier, blood circulation change our mood.
GET A BUDDY
And if you can get a buddy or accountability partner, having someone to talk, to motivate each other is very helpful. Or to have a shoulder to cry on.
THE BUCKET LIST!
In 2007 The comedy-drama movie
Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers, until fate lands them in the same hospital room. The men find they have two things in common: a need to come to terms with who they are and what they have done with their lives, and a desire to complete a list of things they want to do before they die. Against their doctor's advice, the men leave the hospital and set out on the adventure of a lifetime.
In my bucket list was a 5km and 10km marathon. It sounds daunting. And it is! Fortunately, that didn't deter me. I set bite size goal first. I joined the parent support group race in the school, if I remember correctly it was a 3.2km. First, is to increase my stamina. I started to jog and within 10 minutes I was panting! The next run I added 10 more minutes, at the same time I was listening to my body too. I think I take calculated risk.
Mentally, I told myself that I aim for the top five winner. I was the fifth on the first year, on the second year, I aim for top 3 and came in 2nd. I didn't prepare well and didn't sleep well too. At the last part, I felt nausea and made a decision not to push for it. My children were in the same school. It made sense to be active in the Parent Support Group, I get a chance to see them and have them know that I cared and kept abreast with the educational system.
If you have not got a bucket list, how about write one?
The 5km Terry Fox Run, the 10km Marathon. To do that, I knew I had to take more actions. I started to aim to climb 20 stories. Again, its a few stories at a time. Then I gradually added jogging, swimming and climbing. It's not easy to find someone with the same mindset. I did most of the exercise alone. The determination to overcome challenges in life has helped me develop resilience.
Looking back, I am very glad I did it. It's the momentum and the increasing confidence developed over time. Unconsciously, I was creating a pattern, a new habit, a positive mindset, new found confidence!
The cumulative effect actually built my physical, emotional health, and most importantly, my mind muscle! To concur naysayers, one has to know why we do what we do. As long as it is a goal you aspire, do preparation, check that you are healthy. Not to do it to prove to others, not from a place of ego, but from a place of loving yourself. For me, it's also to bond with my children.
All these were done to overcome my stress. Back then, I didn't know that I was meditating in the pool. I didn't know about the dopamine my brain released. No wonder, I could release those pent up negative emotions. Somehow, it was a good way to regulate my hormones and release negative emotions.