Rituals and anchors

Design or refine your daily rituals to help create and embed a positive mindset. In the early days of being (mis)diagnosed with ALS, I wanted everyday to be a day that I could be present with my kids, and if I was going to do that, I needed to be in a good space.

I used a number of ‘anchors’ to achieve this. An anchor is a sensory stimulus linked to a certain internal state and when triggered, the anchor helps create that inner state. For example, if you play a certain piece of music to help you relax, then this is called an auditory anchor, which for you is linked to that feeling of being relaxed. When you play it, it helps you slip into that relaxed state.

These are the anchors I used, mostly in the morning as I started my day;

  • (Self-talk) “Live what I love” – I used this as a daily mantra to remind me to focus on and do the things that energised me.
  • (Music) “Follow the sun” Xavier Rudd – This was the soundtrack to go with my mantra. Lyrically it was perfect for the simplicity that I was bringing into my life, and the important things that I was placing at its centre.
  • (Exercise, fresh air) Most days I took time-out with my wife to walk the cycle track that runs along the southern boundary of our property. Movement does great thins for the brain and helps insight. It also created space for us to talk, set the tone for our day and support each other’s space.
  • (Parasympathetic exercise) Heart Chi Kung and Iron Shirt Chi Kung, old practices of mine that I revived, not only to challenge the areas of my body that were losing strength, but to oxygenate my brain and build internal resilience.
  • (Visioning) Despite the diagnosis, I was determined to be around for a longtime yet, and so I developed a strong image of myself in a healthy body framed way into the future. I find that partnering this technique with taking action, is on it’s own a powerful combination to embed a positive mindset.
  • (Mindfulness) Taking time to stop and notice my surroundings. We’re fortunate to live a small block of land, and so for me it was about noticing the light on the Tarrarua hills, beads of dew on flax leaves and birds on the garden – slowing down, meditation!

There were more I used and you will have your own. Making them part of your day can keep you in a centred and healing state.

About these strategies

Welcome. These strategies are for people who’ve been diagnosed with a terminal or life threatening illness. If that’s you, I’m sharing them because I know something about what you’re going through, they helped me and so maybe they can help you too.

Click here to learn more about the purpose and background of these posts.