The Next Step
An important tool for switching gears that is taught in recovery is that of focusing attention on “the next indicated thing.” The idea being that if you’re overwhelmed, caught in a negative spiral, tempted to do or say something you may regret or simply confused, that you take a moment to center and ground, tuning in to “the next indicated thing.”
That may be getting a glass of water. Or lighting a candle or some incense. It may be exhaling, or expressing gratitude. It can be something very small and simple (and often is just a step) that gives space and room for clarity on how to proceed (or if to proceed) on something larger. It might be a pause and “reset” with a shower or a nap, or some downtime in prayer or meditation.
Along those same lines is the concept of H.A.L.T. — stopping if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired — as you’re more apt to do or say things that you will regret and “the next indicated thing” would have you focus on self-care to address those needs. Then it’s much easier to come from a place of choice and responsiveness versus reactivity.
If you find you get caught up in emotion or negative spirals and have a lot going on, having a box or basket to grab that has a selection of things to ground and center can be helpful. Generally, I recommend a selection of items that addresses all the senses. So some favorite music, something soft or textured, perhaps a crystal or other meaningful objects and some essential oils or whatever smells good to you. It can be a small box with small items, but having that as a quick go-to can assist in shifting focus to the present moment, calming down and discovering “the next indicated thing” that will move you towards that which you ultimately want.
But seriously, serenity and greater effectiveness lies in focusing on that which you can control and are responsible for, which is yourself. And finding more tools and practices to nurture and tune in aids in seeing beyond the current circumstances. Peace begins with each of us.
May peace and peace and peace be everywhere. — Upanishads