Superhuman Ability of Boundaries

Superman, Spider Gwen, Ironman, Wonder Woman, and every other superhero establishes a practice that helps them stay grounded and allows for normalcy in their lives.

This simple, yet profoundly helpful practice, is called [establishing and maintaining] boundaries. Yes. Boundaries. Imaginary walls around areas of your life that protect your heart, mind, and soul while you pursue your aims.

Establishing Boundaries

The boundaries that we erect in our lives are similar to the ones that we put up in the physical world. They serve the purpose of protecting the things on the inside from the stuff on the outside that may do harm.

As general of a definition, this may be, the goal of the boundaries is to place distinct separation of the various part of our lives. The superheroes that I mentioned earlier wear costumes and masks which are examples of a boundary that separates their personal and public lives.

When we are in complete pursuit of our goals and aspirations, there is often a need to erect boundaries between work and life, side hustle and parenting, public and private. This becomes increasingly muddy in today’s society where the physical separation of these polarities is no longer clear. If it wasn’t difficult enough before, establishing and maintaining boundaries is a skill that we must learn to have healthy relationships.

Here is a bit of a paradox…boundaries are as much for us as it is for others. In other words, they aren’t about simply keeping people out as much as it is to make life more enjoyable. This is done by establishing what is and isn’t acceptable. Boundaries allow you to understand what your limits are which reduces chances of confrontation, frustration, anxiety, and stress. Boundaries support your well-being.

Here are 8 benefits of establishing and maintaining boundaries:

  1. Creates you to be more Self-Aware: Being self-aware is the ultimate superhuman capability that is the art of recognizing your needs and feelings as completely your own and not those tied to another person or your environment. Creating your own boundaries is the manifestation of your self-awareness.
  2. Creates you to have better relationships: Your increased self-awareness creates in you an ability to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others. As a result, you are likely to have better relationships. What’s more, as you set clear boundaries you can have more engaging relations without fear or concern of crossing a boundary.
  3. Creates you to have less stress: When we don’t create boundaries, we inadvertently create conditions that cause more stress. Stress is the foremost enemy of well-being so we must do everything to protect ourselves from situations that cause increased or unnecessary stress.
  4. Creates you to have more Self-Care: The most compassionate people who tend to give of themselves to everyone else often have the lowest self-care practice. When boundaries are established, then there can be more focus on your well being. And here is the best part – when you are taking care of your self, then you are well able to take care of others.
  5. Creates you to be a better communicator: It may seem easy on the surface to say what you want and don’t want but it can be a challenging conversation especially with those who have not respected the little boundaries you may have had in the past. Expressing your needs and wants are powerful declarations that provide unprecedented transparency.
  6. Creates you to be less frustrated: Nothing feels more frustrating than when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries…except, they didn’t know you had any. Establishing boundaries reduces emotions like frustration because of the level of transparency that you provide in how you want and need to be treated.
  7. Creates you to be more assertive: ‘No’ is a small word but can be a powerful boundary. ‘No’ has the ability to shape an environment that allows you to live more fully in your self-expression. And ‘No’ isn’t intended to close you off from life but to open you up to your priorities.
  8. Creates you to be more expressive: Since you are not bogged down with the needs of others, you are liberated to do the things you never had time to do.

Take the time during this quarantine period to discover the boundaries that you need to erect to support your well-being.

Coaches and Educators

Boundaries are increasingly important in this post-COVID-19 world that we find ourselves in. Support your clients and students by ensuring they understand what boundaries are and how they can be used to support their personal mastery and well-being.

How to Reduce Anxiety + Stress: 7 Paths Back to Center

Centering is far from a new concept. It has echoed through the ages in various forms and associations. Centering is a technique that focuses on staying stable and grounded. This is true in both the physical and mental aspects of centering.

In fact, in martial arts practices like Tai Chi and Aikido, centering is focused on the flow of energy attributed to the emotions you feel. Think back to the last time you were scared. It could be the anxiety around this COVID-19 pandemic. How does your body respond to this fear or anxiety? Likely, your muscles tense, palms sweaty, fast heartbeat, and rapid breathing.

Now think of a happy and joyful time? A fun weekend with the ones you love. Your wedding day. A hilarious joke you heard and couldn’t stop laughing. Your body reacts differently to negative and positive energy. Centering allows you to get back to a place where you feel secure and grounded.

In this world, it is important to establish a centering practice that can put you on a path back to center. Here are seven that you can begin practicing today:

1️⃣ Uncommon Meditation – Meditation is defined as leveraging a technique to train attention and awareness towards mental clarity and emotional harmony. To achieve this state, I recently sat down with my children and colored. This brought an unexpected calmness, attention, and clarity to what I was doing. Now I know first hand why adult coloring books became popular. What is something you can do to get the same results?

2️⃣ Anchor in Gratitude – It is more difficult to hold anxiety and stress when you are affirming what you are grateful for. Once you begin saying out loud what and who you are grateful for your entire mood shifts towards appreciation. This seemingly simple act calms the mind, releases tension in the body and releases happy chemicals from the brain.

3️⃣ Connect Daily – Connection is a powerful force. It reminds us that we are not alone in this world. Solitude can be beneficial but when we are not prepared, it can be damaging. Connecting with nature reminds us how huge this world and universe really is and connects us to the transcendent experiences of awe. Oh and of course – connect with your love ones near and far. The feeling will remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.

4️⃣ Pause + Breathe – When energy is flowing it is nearly impossible to slow down on its own. There has to be something that interrupts it. When we are feeling stressed and anxious, we are holding tension in our body. If we take a pause and begin focusing on our breathing – breathing in slowly and exhaling just as slow – then we can interrupt the negative energy. From here, we can begin to see a clear path to alternatives.

5️⃣ Imagine Grounding – When practicing my Tai Chi, there is an exercise where you focus on how your planted feet are grounded to the very structure of the building, to the earth beneath, and how that earth is connected to the waters across the globe. This practice helps calms the nerves, releases the day’s tension, and allows focus for what at hand.

6️⃣ Heart Breathing – Similar to the above, when you focus on your heart beats and imagine breathing through your heart then this practice has the effect of redirecting your energy. It is also a great reminder of what’s important as you focus on the heart beating and the blood flowing through you.

7️⃣ Written Expression – Dump it all into a journal. All of your emotional highs and lows and allow the journal to carry that weight. The act of journaling and expressing your emotions can allow you to get back to center quickly and it is also a great practice to establish self-mastery.

Like anything else in life – centering is a skill that takes time to master. Some practices, like the ones I shared, are easy to start and have immediate effects. Find a practice(s) that works well for you and you can rely on in your most stressful of situations.

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Coaches and educators:

During this pandemic response, there is a need for everyone to have some practice that they can leverage every day…including you. Your clients depend on you to arm them with the information to support their trajectory.

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Finding Silence in the Noise

Summary:

Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. In this episode, we cover the surprising benefits that silene can bring to your life immediately and the side effects of living in too much noise. You might just be surprised how you can find silence in the noise. 

Article/Transcript:

My children are ages 6 and 3 and like most 6 and 3-year-olds they make a ton of noise. Crying, screaming, playing, singing, acting, dancing, everything you can imagine and often for no reason at all. I don’t think it could get any louder in my house. Well, maybe if we added a few more 6 and 3-year-olds. 

Either way. We were sitting down for dinner and the kids just finished their meals. There was no background noise, no TV, no Pandora, nothing. It was blissful. So much so, that my son made the comment that it was so quiet AND that he liked it! Could you believe it?! It was like the pot calling the kettle black. The very person who generates all of this noise is confessing that he loves the quietness.  

Of course like most 6-year-olds, especially with his sidekick 3-year-old sister, this blissful silence didn’t last for long. Here is what I learned from this experience and frankly my very short time as being a parent. I’ve learned that one, my wife is a great inspiration for these episodes as well since she gave me the title for this episode and two how to find silence in the noise. 

So I found myself drowning out the noise that my kids were making. I think that this is a superpower for most parents. I slowly removed layer by layer of noise – my son talking loudly, my daughter singing a song, the noise from the kitchen, and the cars outside driving by. Now of course, I still heard them but they were not in focus. In this instance, I was focused on enjoying my dinner. I enjoyed this silence for a few moments before I was snapped back into reality. 

And although this is a superpower of parents, this is not a unique skill. Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. Do you recall studying for exams, working in a cubicle farm with noise from every direction, or having a conversation in the middle of noisy sporting events? The same skill of focus that you used here is how you can find silence in a world of noise – albeit short-lived, these moments of intense focus and its resulting silence is refreshing.

Here is what I mean. Research has linked noise pollution to increased blood pressure, sleep loss, and heart disease. These results have led to even more research on the long-term effects of noise. Sure drowning out noise even for a few moments may not sound like much but if you think of the feeling that you gain when you are able to do so, it should lead you to want more noiselessness. 

In recent research about various types of noise, it was found that silence actually provided rather interesting benefits. 

First is the growth of new brain cells – Duke University regenerative biologist Imke Kirste found that silence for approximately two hours a day produced new cells in the part of the brain associated with memory. 

The next benefit is the activation of the brain’s memory – Our brain is a tenacious organ. Even when we are in complete silence, our brains never stop working. It retrieves memories of song and lyrics, conversations and experiences. This allows your brain to exercise the memory portion of the brain. 

Lastly, silence encourages self-reflection – This as you might have guessed is my favorite benefit. There is much to learn about yourself and the world around you through the gift of self-reflection. Without the demands of the world on your brain, silence allows your brain to wander and in that wondering, you may find yourself able to reflect on the past week or day or a particular experience. If you practice mindfulness or other well-being practices, you can be more direct with self-reflection and learn how you can become a better version of yourself. 

You may not have two hours a day to find silence, I know that I don’t, however, finding a few minutes here and there throughout my day has given me huge well-being benefits even in the midst of noisy kids.