Mad to Mindful in 60 Seconds or Less
Mad to Mindful in 60 Seconds or Less
Push Your Own Buttons for Calm
by Lois Grasso
Searching for relief from the stress and anxiety of living a fast-paced life in 2018? Much of that stress is the result of having too many “buttons” that other people can easily “push”. When they do push our buttons, the brilliant part of our brain puts the brakes on, the fear center shifts into overdrive, and we peel out into fight, flight or freeze without conscious thought. This autonomic nervous system reaction is now recognized as the root cause of most physical and emotional discomfort and disease. It’s also what makes us blow up at the ones we love most, ruining our peace of mind and self-esteem—and perhaps theirs, too.
The question is, how can we take charge of our own buttons? You may have heard that mindfulness is a good antidote to this phenomenon. Mindfulness can be described as a mental state achieved by focusing our awareness on the present, while acknowledging and accepting our thoughts, feelings and sensations.
“That sounds just like meditation! And who has time for that?” If that’s what you’re thinking, join the club. As soon as we could talk, most of us were trained (unwittingly) to ignore our feelings, emotions and bodily sensations—so who wants to dive into that lonely abyss? Hang on, we’re just getting ready to fly.
Here is a low-maintenance, free vehicle that can get you from mad to mindful in 60 seconds or less. You have a shiny set of magic buttons that only you can push. When you do push them, the fear center of your brain (aka “amygdala”) calms down and the center of your brilliance (the pre-frontal cortex) kicks into gear.
These magic buttons consist of 10 acupressure points and the belly button. It takes 60 seconds or less to take three deep, diaphragmatic “belly button breaths” followed by tapping your fingertips on a series of acupressure points, while talking about what’s bothering you. The process is super-fast and easy to learn.
Wondering about the science behind it? Just like mindfulness, many studies have shown that both diaphragmatic breathing and tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) are each effective at calming both the fear center of the brain and the autonomic nervous system. It’s a fast track to mindfulness and, even for children, stress disappears while clarity and higher functioning quickly appear. But when you discover your magic buttons, there’s no need to develop the skill of sitting still—extra tough for kids—and redirecting the mind over and over again.
Here’s an example of how well it works with children. While reading the book, Maven and the Magic Buttons, to teach these skills to a class of second graders, young Danielle volunteered to help demonstrate how it was done. Her concern was that her little brother always bothered her when she was trying to do her homework and she was not able to concentrate. Her schoolwork was suffering and she didn’t know what to do.
After breathing and tapping with Danielle and the whole class for about a minute, she opened her eyes and smiled brightly. She had suddenly realized, “My brother just loves me! He wants my attention.” She was obviously feeling much different about herself and her brother, and said, “I think I’ll play with him for a while before I do my homework!”
Founder and director of the non-profit OxyGenesis Institute since 2003, and author of Maven and the Magic Buttons, Lois Grasso’s mission is to empower adults and children with skills and support for natural health, happiness and self-esteem. For more information on her plans to empower elementary school students, visit MavensMagicButtons.com. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 33.