What does the word ‘serenity’ mean to you?
Describe serene with all five senses:
● How does serenity/peacefulness look to you?
● What does it smell like?
● Do you hear anything?
● Are you aware of a particular temperature or sensation on your skin/hair?
● Is there a taste in the air that is palpable?
Once you accurately understand ‘what’ serenity means to you, you have a reference point anytime you’d like to feel calmer. You see, your emotional state is a product of how you feel on the inside, rather than external circumstances. Sure, there’s a lot you can do to disturb your emotional state through environment, but ultimately how you feel is up to you.
You have control over your own feelings, even when they appear to automatically shift; at any moment in time, you have the ability to consciously decide to feel a different way. However, you need shortcuts, cues, and entrainment to get there.
Some of my best tips for influencing emotional, mental, or physical state include:*
● Smell — I’ve trained myself to perform with Boom Sticks. They look like chapstick containers and have a berry smell inside. When I sniff one of these things, I am more articulate and focused, which is useful before recording a video or speaking live on stage.
● Sound — I’ve trained myself to listen to Jack Johnson and write. Over the last year or so — to add variety — I’ve expanded my ‘sound-based’ state-training to include reggae, Hawaiian music, and other soft beats for the same result.
● Sight — I’ve trained myself to see an element of nature and be able to access a state of higher consciousness, or a more ‘guided’ state. This has been useful in helping you, in that I act more as a hollow bone while writing than supercomputer.
● Feeling/Touch — instead of having to actually feel something on my skin, I’ve learned to imagine feeling the same thing for a similar response. For example, I might imagine a gust of wind on my skin, or mist from the ocean coming up to the middle of my forehead and making contact, or beams of sunlight hitting the top of my head and flushing my body.
● Taste — one great way to keep yourself grounded is by staying ‘in’ your body. Taste is a great way to know you are fully present, here, and now. Great tastes to experiment with — either in thought or physical form — for grounding include: salt, pepper, lemon, vinegar, and sugar (fruit).
*NOTE: In order to ‘state train’ one of your senses to a particular action or circumstance, simply practice combining that sense with a particular activity or outcome every day for six weeks. For example, you might slowly eat salt while working on art; after six weeks, it will be easier to get into your ‘artistic flow’ state.
In summary, using your senses — physically or through your imagination — makes it possible to quickly and easily change how you feel in any circumstance. Over time, you’ll be able to influence how much of life you perceive to be peaceful.
Today’s thought exercise: Might it be worth writing a list of memories that make you feel at peace and then linking them to one or more of your senses?
Sent to you with love, compassion, and gratitude,
Originally published at drkareem.com on December 1, 2017.