A to Z inner-ing exercise

Human brains are wired to effectively process one linear thought at a time. Here’s an exercise that helps you in uplifting your mood and fetching positive outcomes, especially when you are feeling intense emotions like anger, fear, hatred, insecurity, guilt etc.

The exercise is called ‘A to Z inner-ing exercise’, and the inspiration of this exercise comes from the teachings of Abraham-Hicks (Law of Attraction). You may wonder why is it called the ‘A to Z inner-ing exercise’ Well! All of us started our learning journey with the Alphabets. Going from A to Z will give enough time (just the right amount – neither too less nor too much) to change our state from negative to positive.

Here is how to do this 5-step mindful exercise: Exercise on!

Prerequisite: Be willing and mindful!

Step 1: Deep breaths

In & out for 5 seconds. In your mind affirm “I am willing to do this

uplifting A to Z inner-ing exercise. I am all set.”

Step 2: Countdown, 10…1. Calm your mind and body.

Step 3: Mind Mapping

Give a leisurely glance to the wordlist(Handout 1) for 10 seconds. This is a list of power words. You can add to the list and write your own power words, any word reflecting the change in thought or state you are intending to bring about.

Step 4: Capturing your power Fill in the blanks and try to capture ‘10 power words in 10 seconds’. In Handout 2[P2], there are two columns. In the first column, the heading is “I feel excited”, and in the second column the heading is “to know I Am …”. Download the sheet and start filling on the right-hand side with your power words.

Example: Left hand-side reads “I feel excited” and in the right column I have fed the power word that came instantly to my mind. This is how my list looks.

P.S: Your mind would pick up those that it had been looking for.

P.P.S: Initially, you may or may not reach 4 words and that’s okay. But, with practise, words would start coming easily and more naturally. Also, if you are doing this exercise with a facilitator or in a group reaching 8-9 words is easy.

Step 5: Reiterate & Recapture

Read out ‘aloud’ the complete sentences on your sheet. Read the whole line from left to right, loudly like this, “I feel excited to know I Am… Dedicated, I feel excited to know I Am… Blessed, I feel excited to know I Am… Aligned” and so on, from what you have written.

Trust me, ‘A to Z inner-ing’ exercise helps in the holistic expansion – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Helpful Notes:

  • This exercise can be done with the help of a facilitator, or in a group. It may have more effective and positive outcomes. The facilitator can do the back counting 10 to 1, give out handout 1 to the participants, keep track of the time and ask the participants to read the whole list out aloud.
  • The power words can be NOUNS, e.g. – dreamer, believer, light, VERBS, e.g. – walking, exercising, re-claiming, ADJECTIVES, e.g.– big, smart, awesome or ADVERBS, e.g. – fast, effectively, efficiently etc. A reference list is provided to get you started.
  • You could try to use your non-dominant hand to fill the power words in the right column to do the exercise more mindfully.
  • If you are performing this exercise mentally, your mind may wander, it’s okay, even if your mind has picked up one positive word, you are better off than before. You may stop in between and think, until the words start coming easily and effortlessly.
  • To reap its benefits to the fullest, please follow this exercise for at least 21 days or more.

‘A to Z inner-ing exercise’ can also be practised:

  • intentionally and mindfully, as a 5-minute meditation round.
  • Especially when you are about to take an interview or about to write an exam etc.when there’s a tiny break-time (less than few minutes).
  • Here’s how to do:

a) Close your eyes and move into a comfortable position, whether you are at your desk or reclining on the sofa.

b) Take slower and deeper breaths and anchor your attention on the breath. Your mind may wander off, and that’s okay and natural. Gently, bring your awareness back to breathing.

c) Set an intention with these affirmative lines:

‘I am willing to be mindful. I am willing to connect with my inner-self. I thank myself for giving permission to relax…

d) Now, with every deep breath in, start thinking of uplifting power words. With every breath in, choose an uplifting, positive word with alphabets ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ till ‘Z’, sequentially or randomly- blessed, creative, abundant, worthy, inspired, grateful etc.

e) You would start feeling grounded, and the intensity of the thoughts slowing down and the breath beginning to get deeper than before.

Hints: You may also refer to the power words from this document.

Benefits of A to Z inner-ing exercise:

  • It helps in accelerating the process of coming out of the fearful/anxious state easily and in less than 10-12 seconds. The more you do this exercise, the more easily the uplifting power words start coming to you. The more conversant and easy the exercise becomes.
  • You are building up your vocabulary with positive, uplifting, spiritual words.
  • It is a part of self-love practise that one can give oneself in a fun playful way.
  • The mind is usefully and consciously occupied looking for positive words (randomly or alphabetically whichever way you want to go with it)

Keep shining always!

Personal reflections on the New Normal – Part 2

Hello! Here, in this blog, you would get to know me better, my likes and dislikes, and a few uplifting words/phrases for you and me to munch on.

We begin with an acrostic poem which briefs us of the term ‘NEW NORMAL’.

Researchers say that a new activity takes 50 to 70 days to become a habit. In the first 21 days, the brain starts firing a new neural pathway, and the more often we repeat an activity, the more we begin internalizing it as a daily habit.  We did get 50-70 days, over the four phases of the lockdown in India. Let us not break the new healthy habits. New normal after the fourth phase is the time to reflect and see how much we have internalized what we practised during the past four phases.

And now my reflections on what my new normal would be – work-life, habits and routines I’d like to stay with, after having experimented with a mix & match of what felt good to do and what not, especially in the past three months.

Things that I have been practising since 2018 & would continue doing the rest of my life are mediation, gratitude journaling, writing or singing affirmations, practising mindfulness, eating frequent moderate meals.

Below is a list of things which I did for the first time out of nowhere and a few which I carried out more intentionally during the last three months:

  1. I am a person who’d not cook as an everyday chore. I was more in the kitchen at this time around. Many a times trying out new dishes. It actually worked as a therapy for me. I also listened to inspirational Karen Drucker and Tina Turner’s song to add positive vibes to the meal preparation time. Their songs are affirmation based or mantra chants. I’d love to try out new dishes more often in an ethereal way… Below is a collage of a few new food items, I made:

  2. Uncertainties of the time brought me to write more blogs for my website- She Narrates, more than ever before. I would keep at it as my new normal now. You would get to hear more often from me now. I made more posts public during this period. I was also sharing posts on Instagram from shenarrates.in handle more often, either musings or acrostic poems. Earlier I was writing as a hobby only, or I would write and not make posts public because I was somewhere not embracing my vulnerabilities of going public. I am a self-trained-extrovert person trying to shun my introvert nature. It is not natural to me, but I am getting better day by day. Cheers!

  3. I will be working from home until my son’s school reopens in September. Earlier, my son used to stay in day-care when I was out for work. The lockdown period saw me sitting with my son for his virtual classes, and it felt so good. Now, he is attending summer camp, and we are making craft-work memories together. He has made a few car models and contraptions. I’d continue with this practice rather than sitting with him only on weekends.
    Here is a collage of a few activities of my little one:

4. Take a nature walk daily. Be it for 5 minutes or 20 minutes. Observe nature mindfully using all the senses- sights, smells, shapes, textures, sounds. Listening to the birdsongs, watching shapes of clouds and greenery all around is actually uplifting.

5. Exercise at least 30 minutes 6 days a week and swing my body and free dance (Qoya dance) for body flexibility and stamina. I have become a regular with Qoya dance now. Yay!

6. My family and I were eating healthy most of the time. We are choosing to keep at it forever now, with cheat meals once a week maybe!

7. Sanitizing of groceries, washing hands frequently, increasing fluid intakes, wearing a mask whenever I step out of the house, returning to our Namaste culture of greeting people, maintaining a safe hand-distance in public, calling friends and family once a week. Most of these things are indispensable, to live with the new virus and might be followed by all.

8. Changing the look and feel of my workstation helped me look at things with different perspectives – in a positive way, of course. We all had the spikes of fearsome thoughts come and go, isn’t it?

9. I was also switching off the phone two hours before going to bed and check WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn after 10:00 am only- simply to be more present with family and at work. I’d maintain that as well.

10. Panic of grocery buying got me to declutter seriously and more purposefully. I had decluttered the kitchen and made an inventory of necessary things. Still, I could feel the extras of everything in my life. We were in a position to give away the extras to those who needed them.

11. Cosmic Writing was something new for me. I had never done this sort of writing before; this was the first form of journaling activity I picked up to get back to writing. I gave myself a 21-days challenge for this as a beginning for my writing spirit. I have discussed this in a separate blog. Coming up here.

Things that I would like to cut down on or eliminate are:

  1. Eating outside every Sunday: This had become our Sundays’ ritual. My family is cutting down on this purposely.
  2. Junk foods: We are considering less-junk and canned foods. We may keep cheat meals; otherwise, it would be like going too harsh at one go.
  3. Social media: Cut back on social media time and frequency of visits. Use social media more purposely.
  4. Screen time: less screen time, less watching TV for all.
  5. News: I’d refrain from watching the news all the time.

Uplifting Phrases or Words that kept me going are:

  1. Treating the quarantine period as the ‘Gift of time’,
  2. Taking the ‘leap of faith’,
  3. Reviving of the new (Reawakening),
  4. The word ‘discipline’ changed to ‘orchestration‘ for me,
  5. Slowing down helps in increasing the number of productive hours, and it was much relatable at this time for me.

I hope the above reflections may help you in making your list. Please feel free to share which new habits would you like to keep, in the comment section below.

Thank you! Stay happy, calm and healthy!

Reflections & the generic New Normal- Part 1

In this blog today, I am reflecting on my experiences of staying home from Ides of March 2020 (15th March 2020) till the culmination of the fourth-phase (i.e. on 31st May 2020) of the nationwide lockdown period. I am also reflecting on what was the NEW work-life amidst the stressful pandemic period. We also have a definition and an acrostic on ‘new normal’ in this blog, a term that has again become generic in our conversations these days. Towards the end, we have a list of requisites on behavioural changes to keep-up with, after the pandemic quake. We close this blog with gratitude to all the essential co-workers who have always served us selflessly. So, stay tuned till the end!

I begin by asking, haven’t we all discovered new things about ourselves, looked out for new ways of healthy adaptations, discovered new ways of running businesses, customized the delivery/deliverables by virtual means, orchestrated to new-work-life balances?

Many of us also learned new skills, indulged into long-lost hobbies, leaned into our creative talents, explored different work opportunities, experimented new ideas, looked for ways to grow spiritually etc., isn’t it?

Precisely! This period was and is about being resilient, anti-fragile yet lively-spirited in adapting to the new ways and protocols, most wanted, even after the coronavirus quail.

Now, I want to acknowledge and share my experiences here. Like many of you, I too found myself being more purposeful and productive. I too witnessed the change. I was also handling both my personal & professional life- all happening under one roof- much differently. I’ve also customized my day to day chores- resized my personal and professional boundaries. As a freelance writer, I re-defined my work commitments, revisited my work proposals, redrafted all the templates.

Sometimes, it feels so surprisingly resplendent, and then I pinch myself to ask was it the magic wand tool*, the one that I use in the Adobe Photoshop for pixel selections, played out its role in real-time! Joking! When I reflect today, at the dawn of the containment period, I see that I was choosing only important chores in the past three months to stay happy, calm, and resilient in the new setup of life. My endeavours are to keep at it to the best of my abilities and capabilities.

My blessings served me too! My partner has been a prayer answered, domestic bliss, in helping me manage the household chores.

Besides, there are a few practices and rituals that I kept maintaining (religiously since 2018) helped me bounce back quickly and miraculously. There are some of the habits I eliminated (or cut-down on) from my everyday routine and lifestyle because they were not serving me in my highest good then and at present. You would find those reflections here.

I remember, initially, it was like alternating between mixed feelings of anxiousness and spur, in adapting to the new lifestyle of working from home and doing the household chores without helpers. Also, the fearsome thoughts were tiring my mind and body unseeingly. First 15-20 days, I wasn’t able to bring myself to any positive or comforting thoughts. I was mostly choosing to sleep through the days. I’d hear the affirmative songs of Karen Drucker and 101 power thoughts by Louise Hay, play them on, and go off to sleep listening. After almost a week, I slowly seemed to pick myself up. I started journaling twice a day (sometimes even more), re-joined the book reading members, started meditating, and so on.

Now, as we have almost come to the end of this blog, I’d like to quickly take you through the definition of ‘new normal’ with an acrostic. We all know that we have completed our 4-phase of the nationwide lockdown, and the business operations other than the essential services have also picked up its pace; let us be more careful and self-reliant now.

Here’s, the definition-

New Normal is a term used in a business which refers to new norms and new financial state of affairs to adhere to after the depression phase of a business. This term became standard after the global economic turning point in the fiscal year 2007-2008, followed by a recession period of four years. This phrase has become generic again, during this time of COVID-19 pandemic. This term is used in a variety of contexts. During the financial crisis, the term new normal is used by the economists and policymakers of the industries and companies to discuss the new state of affairs. In the COVID-19 situation, the term New Normal refers to the human behavioural changes adopted after the pandemic quake to live self-reliantly safe, and healthy.

Reflections & the generic New Normal- part 1 - image 1

On behalf of my, She Narrates writers’ team; I take a moment to salute the healthcare workers, bankers, our police departments, all the essential care workers who were helping us day in day out to keep us safe at the cost of their lives. Jai Hind! And a prayer to those who have transitioned!

Reflections & the generic New Normal- part 1 image 2

Now, every individual, post 31st May’ 2020 is wearing the title of a warrior, front-liner, unsung hero etc. along with our essential care workers, isn’t it? Such a proud moment for all of us! So, let us co-operatively continue to live and maintain our physical, mental and social well-being. Here is a list of human behavioural requisites as our new normal, after the pandemic quake:

  • stay home as far as possible,
  • rework your ‘essentials’ definition,
  • avoid travelling, especially those in the state-wise containment zone
  • wash and sanitize hands frequently,
  • wear face-mask correctly,
  • wear the mask while outside and at work
  • keep up at healthy eating habits
  • drink water frequently; hot water helps
  • follow the Namaste culture of greeting people,
  • maintain a safe hand-distance in public,
  • diligently follow the grocery sanitization process to contain the spread.

The number of corona positive cases in India is still rising. Yet, together we can contain the spread by choosing to stay indoors and maintaining our safety.

Please feel free to share your experiences adapting to the new lifestyle during the quarantine period of last three months. I would be happy to hear from you and extend my help if I can, in any manner.

Thank you! Be blessed! Always remember that the Universe has your back!

P.S.- *Finding the closest tolerance value is the key function of this tool in Photoshop.

“When fear feels real … what to do? Fight or Flight” – Part-2

Image Source: Oracle cards deck by Kris Carr

While researching on the science of human emotion- fear, I stumbled upon nuggets of gold. The valuable resource list here helped me reflect upon my fears and venture into the magic of unknowns. It helped me restore my faith in myself. & I hold the same vision for you, dear reader.

This blog is an assorted collection of information and links to the article, books, tools, techniques, with dashes of my takeaways, to help you take the leap of faith into the unknowns. The list discussed below is not exhaustive but empowering. And, I am confident it can guide you significantly in moving through your fears and self-doubt in a creative, simplified and magical manner.

This blog also intends to ease you on your research time and furnish you with the best information available on practical self-help tools to move through fears.

Loosen up! Be willing to move through fears!

  1. Article by KidsHealth: It is an educational article. It covers the fundamentals of human emotion- fears, the science of the emotion, its type, causes, reasons, physical symptoms, ways to overcome them, and relevant examples on fears. To a certain extent, it also covers when to take a therapist’s help. I am usually curious to know the science behind any emotion, so this article was enlightening. Follow the link, click.

    A few of my takeaways from this article is: a. Fear is a defensive response that signals the person of the dangers, threats and insecurities. It can also be triggered in certain startling or unexpected situations like the sound of a sudden sneeze, a car honk etc. b. Fear is also a learned behaviour to respond in a particular manner to certain situations or objects, which can be unlearned by gradually facing the fears.c. The only most difficult part of overcoming fears is getting started. It only takes a willingness to overcome fears or phobias. Keep ‘Do it anyway’, ‘befriend fears’, ‘chat with the friend’ or ‘have a cup of tea’ attitude with your fears!d. Amygdala is the fight/flight/freeze response centre in our brain.

  2. Video by Mel Robbins: In this video, Mel shares a few facts on fears, takes us backstage to one of her many talks, lastly to her life-altering technique-the 5-second rule + anchor thought. Here, is the link, click.A few of my takeaways from this video is: a. Positive thinking alone worsens fears. As per the researchers, if a person does not de-program the fears instead (only) did the re-programming with positive words or affirmations, then one can exacerbate the fears. In other words: First de-program the fears to be able to re-program with positive words or affirmations; and not append the fears with affirmations. Otherwise, there would only be a clutter of fears and positive affirmations. Which, in turn, can make it difficult for the brain to process the thoughts fruitfully because our brain can only have a linear thought at a time. And this is a part of the information, I was missing during my preparations for the singing performance. Read part 1 of this blog here. I had not done anything to de-program (release) my fears. Mel Robbins discusses this in the video.

    b. Fear = Excitement. It’s interesting!
    c. 5-second rule: It is an instant actionable step to handle fears. Her 5-second rule has helped people around the world. (#5secondrule). The moment you get an impulse to act on a goal, the 5-second rule helps you jumpstart and take actionable steps before the thinking brain kills it. It also works during a high-stress situation, or to pass through procrastination.
    d. Her recent International Bestseller ‘The 5-second rule’ book is a good read too. I would soon be writing a review of this book.

  3. Louise Hay on moving through fears: The video link is here. Louise Hay, the ‘Queen of Affirmations’, offers soothing self-talk and shares affirmations to move through the fears in easy, and empowering ways.Tips: Listen to this recording for at least 30-days to move through intense or childhood fears. I had heard almost 45 days in a row. This recording also helped me transform my internal chatters and self-talks. I feel blessed that I can funnel the negative self-talk early enough now. I do not get drawn into the whirlpool of negative thoughts, and that’s magical.
  4. Book ‘Mirror Work’, Chapter-12- ‘Overcoming your Fear’ by Louise Hay: In this chapter, Louise Hay talks about the root causes of fears, shares affirmations, her signature mirror work, a journaling exercise, a heart thought, and at the end, a meditation. Tips: To download the meditation, please follow the link here. Product ID- 1516 and the download code is ebook.A few of my takeaways from this chapter is:a. According to Louise Hay, the cause of fears is the lack of trust in oneself and self-love practises.
    b. Mirror work helps in internalising the affirmations quickly.
  5. Nick Ortner’s 3-minute tapping solution on the end-points of meridians: You can find the video link on how to do tapping here. I have tried this healing method many a time during the stressful period of the global pandemic, 2020. Few of the well-known personalities like Late Louise Hay, Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor, Jim Kwik, Marie Forleo vouch for tapping solutions technique.My takeaway from this physical self-care tool is:It helps you send calming signal to the amygdala by tapping at the endpoints of the meridians. Research shows that the cortisol level reduces by 44% by tapping on the meridian points. Constant cortisol high levels in stressful, fearful or life-threatening situations, can cause chronic illnesses.
  6. Book ‘My Friend Fear’ by Meera Lee Patel: Through her personal letter in a book form, Meera takes us into the land of unknowns and exposes us to our inner powerhouse in an artistic way. She handholds us into the dark corners of our mind to shine our light on them through the fusion of thought-provoking questions for reflection, inspirational quotes, artwork and personal anecdotes. She helps us befriend our fears. If we befriend and trust our fears, then we can easily loosen up to close the gap with our inner-child fears. Fear and freedom (from fears) are at two ends of a stick. So, first melting away the distance/resistance by befriending our fears is essential. Then can the fears open the doors to freedom, to unleash our potentialities, to let our light shine. She strongly believes that our fears can help us find magic in the unknown, with love, trust and support. I would soon be writing my reviews on this book too.Tips: Notes and Bibliography at the end of this book is also a great resource to educate oneself on the science of emotions.

Over! Cheese!

In the comment section below go give a shout out to any tools, techniques or books that worked for you in overcoming your fears. What dreams are you inspired to take up next?

Let me also tell you that moving through fears is an ongoing process, especially the intensive ones (also known as phobias). I continue to work on one of my fears of public speaking till date through mirror work, journaling, the 5-second rule and tapping technique sometimes. I dovetail the processes or go with what feels right to do. The difference is I now live my dreams, with the help of these tools and support.