Mental Pivot

My contemplation for the week is this: When we come to expect change–and for us, this seems like a daily occurrence lately–it is less uprooting when it happens.  

Think back to the day you found out school was closing last March.  What were your though patterns.  Do you remember how it felt in your body?  What emotions came up for you?  

At that time we were not really well practiced in dealing with massive shifts and changes.

The institution of school had been a rock solid foundation in the fabric of our American society for 101 years (and in some states, compulsory education was initiated starting in 1852). Childcare and work lives were disrupted. New stressors were introduced to families of all shapes and sizes. Things felt like they were turned upside down. Life as we knew it was uprooted. 

Maybe you thought things like: “How are we going to manage?”;  “The kids are going to get behind.”;  “This is impossible.”

In education there is this notion of cognitive rigidity (stuck on a thought or perspective) and cognitive flexibility (ability to change thought or perspective).

As you may well know, our thoughts control our emotions. 

In yoga we take this notion of cognitive rigidity and cognitive flexibility deeper.

Mental pivoting: The ability to shift our thoughts from negative thought patterns to self-loving thought patterns. 

This is not about taking a Pollyanna view on everything, or seeing the world in rose colored glasses.  It’s about speaking kindly to yourself.

Today, I’d like to think we are all better practiced in handling stimuli (i.e., changes) that require us to mentally pivot. 

When changes come your way today, what are your thought patterns?  How does it feel in your body? What emotions come up for you?  Hopefully with practice, the thoughts, physiology, and emotions are less jarring.  My bet is, you are better able to process change than you were 6 months ago.  Celebrate that! Tell yourself how awesome you are! (You are awesome.)

And maybe, you even find space to laugh at your March 2020 Self before responding with neutrality, instead of reacting with negative self-talk?

The next time you get news of change (and it will likely be tomorrow!), I challenge you to Pause.  Catch your thought. Smile that you caught your thought. And reprogram your thought patterns to see change as an opportunity, instead of an inconvenience. A chance for you to prove to yourself that you are resilient, flexible, and capable of handling whatever change comes your way. 

Big changes are happening in our external world.  And they can be a catalyst for fostering change and growth in our inner worlds, too.

In Peace and Love,

Dr. Bennett

P.S. I first learned about the term Mental Pivot from my yoga teacher, Susan Ahley Hunt. You can read more about mental pivoting by  clicking here.