Here’s a simple idea I’ve learned to calm down anytime and be at our optimal best.
Imagine a pendulum that goes from left to right — left being “past” and right being “future” (west ↔ east motion).
So, if the pendulum is in the center, then we are in the present. If it is towards the left, then we are in the past. And if it’s right, we’re thinking about the future.
Now, imagine another pendulum that is perpendicular to the previous pendulum. Meaning it goes back and forth (north ↔ south motion).
For the second pendulum, if it’s in the forward direction, it means we think something positive. If it’s in the center, we are neutral. And if it’s backward, then we are thinking something negative.
Imagine both these pendulums merged in the center, like a cross.
So, if we are thinking about a past event, which is positive in nature, then this dual pendulum is somewhere in the southwest. Likewise, if we are thinking about some future positive event (say some reward we are going to get), then this dual pendulum is somewhere in the northeast.
The idea is to use this dual pendulum as a guide to understand where our thoughts are and slowly bring them to the neutral-present position.
Neutral-present is the position we want to be in, i.e, when we are completely calm, that is when we can do our absolute best. When our focus is on the current moment, naturally, we will do the current activity with complete concentration.
Slowly, we can make it a habit to occasionally check where we are at the moment using this dual-pendulum analogy. Being aware is the first step. The next step is to figure out how to bring the dual pendulum to the center position.
Here are a few example activities that we can use to come to the center:
- Listen to some favourite music
- Simple breathing exercise — observe breath for a few moments
- Writing down current thoughts
- Go for a short walk
- Staring at the sky