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Learning to adapt by developing internal harmony

written by Sarah C.

Adaptability is a trait I have endeavored to achieve in my life. Since the world around us is always changing it is this trait that allows me to more peacefully flow through life. So I thought I would share a few of the tricks that I have learned in hopes of helping others to also "go with the flow" - adapting harmoniously to new situations and continuously changing circumstances.

1. First mentally prep yourself everyday by letting go of expectations and projecting acceptance. You can't be disappointed if you haven' built up expectations - instead just go with the flow and trust in the journey. Find the upside of a situation - for instance, say your flight is delayed, use the time to do those things you don't usually have time for - watch a movie, read a silly non-intellectual magazine, or even take a nap.

2. Meditation is the key to calm and focus and it can happen anywhere. Meditation is like this portable resource you carry around with you - a moment to simply be. You don't have to close your eyes or pull out any equipment - instead, just take a short moment to return to yourself, breathe and focus on each breath.
For a short meditation, you can do very simple things, like feel your breath - take in the actual sensations of your normal, natural breath. Find the place where the breath is strongest for you. Maybe it's at the nostrils or in the chest or the abdomen. Now, lightly place your attention there, and simply feel the tingling, vibration, warmth, coolness, and movement - whatever it is. This practice can help you to drop into the moment in a very distinct way.

Or maybe you just drink a cup of tea or coffee mindfully. Enjoy your drink without checking your email, talking on the phone or doing something else at the same time. Feel the warmth of the teacup and the heaviness of it - the smell of what you're drinking and the taste of it.

3. Breathe Deep in moments of chaos or unrest. Take a deep breath count to four while filling your lungs and belly with air. Hold that breath for another count of four, and then exhale to another count of four. Repeat a few times allowing yourself to refocus and become clear in any situation.
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4. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is a way of life but sometimes when everything is moving and changing all at once, the best thing to do is just concentrate on one piece of your never-ending "to do" list. Push all the other parts away from your mind and work on just the single task.

5. Take a walk - walk at an average pace but concentrate on feeling your feet touch the ground: touch, touch, touch. Look at your surroundings - really see them but without judgment - just notice the plants, concrete, cars, etc. Normally, when we walk - say, on our way into a meeting, we're consumed with thinking about what's going to happen once we get there. We're not experiencing what's happening all along the way. When we have that touchstone of our feet on the ground, we can continue to have a creative thought or a conversation if anyone comes by, but we have an anchor that helps keep us in the present moment.

6. Be Nice - Soundlessly. In order to change my own state of mind I force myself to smile - even if I am unhappy and annoyed with everything. It may seem that this forced act would never work, but the smile ends up forcing my internal response to be kind, and eventually I actually begin to feel happier.

7. Find the Upside of the situation (No matter how minor) Instead of seeing a flight as a hassle, look forward to having time for things you might not let yourself do on a regular day - like take a tech "detox" from e-mail and the like, or enjoy a power nap.

8. Yoga is simply stretching and your muscles will thank you by releasing tension. Try clasping your hands and lifting your palms up toward the ceiling, giving yourself a stretch from the waist up. Or, while sitting extend your legs up, pointing and flexing your toes while squeezing your quadriceps. Try a twist: Hold on to one armrest of your chair and turn your torso, head, and neck; stretch your eyes, too, in the sockets, as though you were trying to see behind you. Then do the other side. Start with these small stretches and if you want to learn more you can go to the next level by taking a yoga class or doing one of the Mindful Body videos (learn more…)

I hope some of these tips can help you, as they have helped me, deal with the unexpected and adapt to an ever-changing landscape.

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