Seven Steps to Surfing Chaos in Your Life and the World (Part 3) 

Seven Steps to Surfing Chaos in Your Life and the World (Part 3) 

Concluding this three-part series on surfing chaos in your life and the world with more collective wisdom from the MMSNorCal Collective professional and life coaches who share their own techniques to keep themselves centred, calm, and mindful.

In this final article, the coaches talk about how to embrace each new wave of chaos and disruption, how to build trust in yourself that you will survive and thrive; and, finally consider getting professional or life coaching to up your resilience.

Read the previous articles here;

As always, consider sharing with friends and family so they too can benefit from the teachings in contained in this series of articles.

Step 5. Breathe and Embrace Each New Wave

After we have fully done our part, we need to once again accept that we may not be in control of what happens next. 

  • “I remind myself that nothing is permanent, like a wave, this time will pass and take everything with it, and each new wave will bring both joy and heartache. I believe in nature’s balance and when things are good, relish in them, and when times are hard, I know it won’t last AND I know that life doesn’t give you one without the other. Somehow, having that perspective has helped me survive some pretty hard things.” – Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier
  • “Tomorrow is another day, and you always can change, adapt, transform and get better.” – Coach Charles Vivier
  • “I acknowledge this difficult time and remind myself that others are challenged in ways that we may never know. So, kindness is important now. Letting go when someone is rude, or judgemental. We are all suffering, so I think of what small things I can do to make people feel heard and seen.” – Coach Michelle Hayden-Marsan
  • “Focusing on my breath reminds me that all the answers are within. In the midst of chaos, deep breathing brings us back to our center.” – Coach Brandi Richard Thompson

Breathe to Detoxify

As per Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig, “To breathe is the body’s most natural ability to detoxify, calm and ground. With every exchange of our breath, we breathe in the life giving force of oxygen, and with every exhale we release carbon dioxide. This ebb and flow of our breath is our body’s natural way to stabilize and find its center.”

She uses pranayama (breath of life) techniques throughout her day to more quickly activate the state of being that allows her to increase the gap between stimulus and chosen response.

When we come from a more grounded state, we are better able to respond versus react to any given situation.

Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig

Three Breathing Exercises

Coach Mueller Ihrig offers three of her favorite breathing methods which she use first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

breathing to detoxify exercises

Balloon Breathing.

Breath in and out of the nose and envisioning your stomach as a balloon, inhaling slowly and filling and expanding it with air, holding for just a second at the top of the inhale, and then slowly exhaling while pushing your navel all the way towards your spine.

Alternate Nose Breathing.

cCose your right nostril while breathing in through your left nostril first, then hold the left nostril closed while exhaling through the right, then inhale right and exhale left and so on. Breathe in for a count of 6 or 7 and exhale for a count of 7 or 8.

Deep Inhale and Hold.

Take a deep breath in and expand your stomach holding your breath for as long as is comfortable. While holding your breath, focus on listening – to your body, to your external surroundings. Awaken your senses, awaken your awareness. Ask yourself, what do I hear?

Step 6. Trust and have Faith All will be Well

Coach Charles believes in the power, energy of the universe which wants the best for itself.

He surrounds himself with people who care for humanity and the universe and want the best for themselves and others. “I am grateful everyday for my life and my choices, my loved one, my fortune”, he says. “Trust is an ongoing process. Trusting myself is an ongoing process as well as trusting others, starting with my loved ones and the Universe that we all are doing our best to live our best life.”

“My trust has come from a mantra that I love which says: “I grow through what I go through” says Coach Hayden-Marsan. “Any major difficulty that has brought me to my knees in the past has eventually paved the way to believing this too will pass. Sheer grit and determination has given me the tools to move forward and having done so, I know that I am never alone; even when I feel otherwise.”

Coach Brandi admits she doesn’t always do a great job. “When I am at my best, I remember that whatever is going on in the world or in the meeting, it’s really just about me and God. When life gets unbearable, my faith reminds me that no one or no thing can harm me without going through God first”, she says.

Steps on Building Faith

Coach Mueller Ihrig builds faith by practicing and embracing three things:

  1. Counting her blessings
  2. Adopting an attitude of gratitude
  3. Building awareness and awe of the perfect ecosystem that is our natural world, which is so much larger than ourselves and works in complete harmony”

Trust is the foundation for any flourishing relationship, including that of ourselves. When we realize we are a part of this grand ecosystem of life, we can appreciate all the abundance in our lives and how the greater universe is in support of us. 

How to Reflect Thoughtfully

  1. Count your blessings by taking a moment of pause before your meals and acknowledging the nourishing food and company you keep. 
  2. Track your gratitude in a journal before going to bed or first thing in the morning. 
  3. Grow your faith and trust in yourself, humanity and the world by taking pause throughout your day to notice the beauty of nature around you and all the miracles it presents. 

A wonderful quote, “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished,” is a simple reminder of how we might live life with more meaning, peace and purpose by taking time to notice the tiny inspirations that exist everywhere.

This happens when we step outside our busy minds, and into the present moment and power of now.

Pause, look, what do you see?

Step 7. Train to Surf the Waves and find a Professional or Life Coach

We live in uncertain times and the waves of change do not stop. Surfing chaos is a practice and like every practice, a coach can be your sounding board, a coach has your back and a coach can help you get back on track. 

During the pandemic, Coach Sarah E. Spencer observed how the entire global education sector was severely impacted, with thousands of professionals losing their jobs. She came to terms with this unexpected challenge by redirecting her time and energy to the Global Leadership League, an organization she founded to support newly unemployed leaders.

Coach Sara reflected on how she loved her new role in supporting leaders that she became a certified MMSNorCal professional coach!

Come to Terms that Life Changes Constantly

Coach Mueller Ihrig feels she has come to terms with the fact that life changes on a dime.

She says, “The best way to navigate changes in the tides of life is to learn to grow along with it by following our interests, intuition and raising our awareness by being more present in the moment. By being more present we quickly become aware of what is working and what we’d like to change. We can then decide to change our perspective about situations which we cannot change and find joy and opportunity in the now. This is my practice and I am so grateful as a coach to be able to help others walking their own paths.”

You can become successful at surfing chaos in life and the world!

Whether you are looking to improve your health and wellness, working on relationships or looking to advance your career and fulfill your dreams, you will find an MMSNorCal coach who is committed to being by your side.

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10 Practices for Rejuvenating Your Body & Mind Through Better Sleep

10 Practices for Rejuvenating Your Body & Mind Through Better Sleep

As a leader or a professional, if you are looking to maximize your potential and achieve your vision, you need to prepare both your body and mind to be at optimum. And, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, recent research shows that sleep, that is, getting adequate and quality sleep, is key to learning and retention, building memory, and acting with the right motivation, judgement, and perception. Research further shows that the right type of sleep is key to a healthy body. 

Therefore, the first step to achieving your goals and vision could very well be to focus on restorative practices that can help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. 

This article describes 10 practices that can help you to build a regime that works for you throughout the day and night and create a calm and positive presence in your work and life.

1. Mindfulness in the Day eases Sleep at Night

If you spend your day always on the go and perhaps, in a frazzled or agitated state, then it will be that much more difficult to relax and go to sleep at the right time and for the right duration. 

A very powerful technique that you can use during the day to stay grounded, calm, and in the moment, no matter how stressful or busy you are is Mindfulness. 

My favorite definition of mindfulness comes from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, which defines mindfulness as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”

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Here are my two tips to practicing mindfulness throughout the day:

  • Focus on what you are doing right now, right here. Do not think about what you need to do in the next hour, after lunch, or in the evening. Give your full attention to the task at hand.
  • At least once an hour, take a couple of minutes to straighten up, stretch, and take deep breaths to center and ground yourself. Let go of any emotion that you are feeling.

SUMMARY

Mindfulness is a practice; the more you practice, the better you will become at being calm and proceeding with intent throughout your day. You will find yourself recovering quickly from unexpected challenges, stresses, or disappointments. In fact, as you become proficient at mindfulness, don’t be surprised if you start to sleep better, accomplish more, and with greater ease!

2. Stick to a Schedule

Your body’s circadian rhythm is a natural timekeeping clock that functions on a set 24-hour loop and it aligns itself with sunrise and sunset. Having irregular sleep patterns can alter your circadian rhythm including the levels of melatonin, which signal your brain to sleep. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality. One study noted that participants who had irregular sleeping patterns and went to bed late on the weekends reported poor sleep.

If you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm.

SUMMARY

Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.

3. Get More Sun

Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy.

rejuvenating with sunshine

Sunlight improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.

In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration and also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%.

A similar study in older adults found that 2 hours of bright light exposure during the day increased the amount of sleep by 2 hours and sleep efficiency by 80%.

While most research involves people with severe sleep issues, daily light exposure will most likely help you even if you experience average sleep.

Try getting daily sunlight exposure or — if this is not practical — you might consider investing in light therapy by using an artificial bright light device.

SUMMARY

Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia.

4. Exercise Regularly — But Not Before Bed

Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health. It can enhance all aspects of sleep and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.

One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night. In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18% 

Although daily exercise is key for a good night’s sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.

This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline. Do keep in mind that some studies show no negative effects of late evening exercise, so it clearly depends on the individual.

SUMMARY

Regular exercise during daylight hours is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.

5. Eat Healthy

A balanced and consistent diet made up mostly of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and meat is important. I go by Michael Pollan’s advice: “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” And, his second piece of advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

You may also consider not eating right before sleep so you are not still digesting food while trying to sleep. Eating right before sleeping can also cause acid reflux which can keep you awake. 

Consider supplements such as magnesium, melatonin, or zinc that have shown promise in insomnia trials if you suffer from insomnia. 

SUMMARY

A balanced and consistent diet can help you get better sleep.

6. Limit Caffeine Later in the Day

Caffeine has numerous benefits and is consumed by 90% of the U.S. population. A single dose can enhance focus, energy, and sports performance; however, when consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.

In one study, consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality; therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3 or 4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping. If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, stick with decaffeinated coffee.

SUMMARY

Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.

7. Drink Fluids Earlier in the Day

Nocturia is the medical term for excessive urination during the night. It affects sleep quality and daytime energy. Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.

Although hydration is vital for your health, it’s wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.

Try to not drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed. You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.

SUMMARY

Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and try to use the bathroom right before bed.

8. Have a Light Dinner

Eating late at night may negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and melatonin. That said, the quality and type of your late-night snack may play a role as well.

In one study, a high carb meal eaten four hours before bed helped people fall asleep faster. Interestingly, another study discovered that a low carb diet also improved sleep, indicating that carbs aren’t always necessary, especially if you’re used to a low carb diet 

SUMMARY

Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.

9. Avoid Blue Light in the Evening

Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but nighttime light exposure has the opposite effect. Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep 

Blue light—emitted by electronic devices like smartphones and computers in large amounts—is the worst in this regard.

There are several popular methods you can use to reduce nighttime blue light exposure. These include:

  • Wear glasses that block blue light.
  • Download an app such as f.lux to block blue light on your laptop or computer.
  • Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone. These are available for both iPhones and Android models.
  • Stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights two hours before heading to bed.

SUMMARY

Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening. A lot of people take their phones to bed or sit in bed watching TV or reading. People who tend to fall asleep with the TV on or their cell phone in hand will likely get a light sleep compared to someone going without them. The blue light from the screens tends to keep people awake for longer and can lead to a low amount of deep sleep during the night. Moreover, if you take these awake activities out of the bedroom, your body will start to subconsciously view the bedroom as a place for sleeping. 

So, when you do go to bed, your body will already be preparing itself for sleep, making it more likely you’ll experience deep sleep.

10. Consider Cutting out Alcohol in the Evening

Having a couple of drinks at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns

It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.

SUMMARY

Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.

How a Wellness Coach Could Help You

Many times a coach can be very helpful on your wellness journey by helping you discover what works best for your lifestyle and suggesting options you may not have considered. A coach can also help you with accountability as you make drastic changes in your lifestyle. You might want to check out the MMS NorCal Coaching Collective which features coaches with many modalities, skills, and passions. 

Look for a future blog post on how to prepare for sleep.

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