Health and Humanity are at the heart of everything we do at Relyf.
Health is a broad term that we break down into 3 sections, the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Part of having a healthy mind is by expanding it with the knowledge that challenges us and helps us grow as individuals.
In this article, we share the steps Dr. Yashar, Chair of Reyl's Medical Advisory Board, uses to manage emotional challenges, and develop a sense of high-quality compassion for himself and others.
Dr. Yashar - I am always trying to find new and better ways to help my clients, and myself, work through emotional challenges in a productive and empowering way. This requires each of us to learn how to train the brain into a more helpful and healthful state by directing our attention and intention.
We all can rewire our brain’s activity by self-directing practices in the form of selective internal focus – by actively choosing a series of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
I created the acronym B.R.A.I.N. to help people manage their brain’s response and work through challenging emotions. My goal for creating B.R.A.I.N. was to help individuals connect to their pain or challenge in a manner that is soothing, insightful, and instructive.
5 Steps to Manage Emotional Challenges
When facing a challenge, be sure to go letter by letter and fully engage as best as possible with each step. If the emotions feel very strong it is appropriate to return to step 1 or “B”, until you are ready to continue engaging with the other letters.
Activate the parasympathetic nervous system (your rest, digest, recovery nervous system), by slowing down and softening the breath. This activity should not feel awkward or demanding.
An example of this breathing would be inhaling for 5 seconds then, 5 seconds to exhale.
Always remember though, there are many different types of breathwork and you should always start with breathing techniques that feel most comfortable to you.
It is important to note that emotions are stored in the body as electrical/chemical messages. Our brain interprets and narrates these sensations to create a “story”, and what we call a “feeling”. Therefore, we want to build our mind-body muscles by actively focusing on where the emotion is stored in our body, versus getting distracted with our “feelings”, or “narrative”.
Ask yourself, wherein my body is this sensation felt? Examples of areas of the body that are commonly stressed include the neck, back, stomach, throat, chest, etc.
This is a good indication that your sympathetic nervous system has been activated therefore entering a fight or flight response.
Attend to this area of your body, to this emotion, as a great friend would.
This is your time to connect to yourself before you correct yourself. This should always be done with gentleness and courage. Therefore, your goal at this stage is to be present, and not judge yourself. This is your chance to build your self-compassion muscles.
At this point, with non-judgment and balanced breath you can start understanding what these sensations are trying to teach you (worth, safety, money, time, attachment, etc.).
You can start unpacking the patterns, details, and misplaced emotions.
Asking yourself questions like:
What is the obstacle within myself that caused this to come up?
What am I learning through this investigation? Do I recognize the pattern that is coming up for me?
Is there another perspective I can take that would be more helpful and healthful?
From this new vantage point, what is the first step I can take?
What is a more beneficial thought, feeling, or action I can integrate into my experience? Then take action on this insight. Take that first step.
The more we string these experiences (thoughts, feelings, and actions) together, the more likely we will encourage our brain and body to repeat a more healthful response.
Remember, we are all human, therefore the work never ends. However, by practicing B.R.A.I.N. you can become more effective and efficient at responding with hope, optimism, and resilience towards emotional and physical challenges.
Overall, this work boils down to developing a higher level of self-compassion for ourselves and the people around us.
Find more on MINDSHIFT NINJA
Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND, ACC is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) for Relyf and co-founder of MINDSHIFT NINJA, a Leadership Development company.