Keeping Your Cool During Mercury Retrograde

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Every once in a while, people and situations can test us. Whether you believe in the chaotic energy of mercury retrograde or not, there does tend to be something about this time that gets people a little collectively frazzled. Despite all of this, and as much as sometimes you’d like to, you can’t just go around throwing hands (or chanclas for that matter), so it’s important to learn to find our zen. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to find your zen in any situation, planetary influence or not.

Take deep breaths

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Take a moment to practice deep breathing. It’s well-established science that the act of deep breathing activates your body's relaxation response. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat several times to calm your nerves and find your center before you snap. Deep breathing is one of the most simple yet underrated things you can do to effectively get from 100 back to zero (or as close to zero as you can get to, depending on the situation!).

Count to ten then back to zero 

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Just like deep breathing, this may sound too simple or silly to work, but it does. Counting to ten and back down to zero can give you a moment to pause and regain control of your emotions, which can make the difference between a rash decision and taking the high road. Take slow, deliberate breaths as you count, allowing yourself to calm down before you figure out what to do next.

Use positive self-talk to ground yourself

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When you feel like you’re at your wit’s end, it’s easy to be swept away by negative thoughts. Instead of doing that, use positive self-talk to ground yourself. Reassuring statements like "I can handle this calmly" or "I choose to respond with patience and understanding" can pull you from the edge, shift your mindset, and reduce anxiety.

Focus on the present moment

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One way to stop your emotions from escalating quickly is to bring your attention to the present moment. If you focus on the thing that’s testing your patience, you’ll just unravel. Especially because the future is usually not within your control - only the present moment is. Instead, use your surroundings to ground yourself. An easy exercise to help with this is to give yourself things to find. For example, look for all the blue objects in the room. This simple task will distract you enough to calm down, and then you can figure out how to respond to what’s happening.

Use visualization

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Visualization can be a powerful tool to find your zen, but you have to imagine positive outcomes. It’s tempting to imagine other outcomes, we know, but do your best to visualize a positive resolution to what you’re dealing with. This will help you not only reduce feelings of anger and the desire to throw chanclas, but also come up with a more peaceful approach to solve the issue at hand.

Practice muscle relaxation

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Your fight or flight system is activated during stressful situations. Tensing up is the first thing that happens to our bodies when we get angry or feel negative emotions because your body is ready to react to what it perceives as a potentially dangerous situation. This tension builds up, which is why you feel the urge to do something physical to release it. To avoid that, practice muscle relaxation. Just purposefully tense your muscle groups and then relax. Besides helping to release the tension in your body, it also helps you recognize where you store your stress. When you actively shrug your shoulders, for example, hold, then release, you realize that you were already shrugging your shoulders without even knowing it.

Listen to calming music

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If you have the chance to excuse yourself for a moment, this is another easy way to find your zen. Putting on headphones and listening to soothing music or nature sounds can bring your emotions down. Music has a powerful effect on mood, so it can be a quick way to focus away from any anger or frustration you may be feeling. Then, you can face the situation with a cool head.

Remove yourself from the situation

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Sometimes, you won’t have the space to allow yourself to find your zen. In that case, the best thing you can do is to remove yourself from the situation and find the space you need. Take a step back and go to another room or find a quiet space to collect your thoughts and emotions, and practice any of the strategies we’ve discussed so far.

Take a moment to meditate

A woman meditating sitting on the floorPhoto by JD Mason on Unsplash

Another great thing you can do is to take a moment to meditate. This won’t be possible in every situation, but if you can take a moment to do that, it will be incredibly helpful. Meditation will allow you to observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment, which is an effective way to avoid impulsive reactions. There are hundreds of apps, videos, and audio files that offer guided meditations for free.

Seek support if you need it

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Sometimes, we can’t process things on our own. If you feel like that’s the kind of situation you’re dealing with, finding your zen will help, but you’ll also need to find someone to provide support and guidance. That’s where your support system comes in! Reach out to a trusted friend or family member and talk to them. If you need professional help, this resource list in the Luz Community can help you. There are many free resources available. This will help you unburden yourself while also getting much-needed perspective to tackle the issue in a healthy way.

Remember that throwing hands (or chanclas) can feel like the most satisfying solution, but it’s really not. Try these strategies to help you choose healthy outlets that will ultimately help avoid escalating any situation and making it worse.

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