Gratefully, while in law school and up late into the wee hours, I ended up catching one of Tony Robbins infomercials. The guy is practically seven feet tall and monstrous with the energy of a small country, and probably the net worth of 10 small nations. I listened. Hey, I was desperate and in law school (just to remind you). Even though I loved the people I went to law school with, as well as some of the faculty and administrators at school, the experience was mostly about breaking the spirit and sharpening the mind. (Of course, I could never quite figure out how breaking the spirit helped sharpen anything, let alone a mind...In my case, it didn't work. I felt broken in every single sense of the word.)
Enter Tony and his large presence...Awaken the Giant Within!
Any quick and sudden movement can change thoughts. When I was upset, paralyzed with fear, feeling low/depressed or anything that felt out of balance, I would do one of several things. Negative thoughts were interrupted with "Stop! Stop! Cancel, cancel! Try it again, Hopkins!" The feelings of inertia were met with quick karate chops in the air with ridiculous sounding swooshing noises that came from my lips OR a quick one-two punch OR ten jumping jacks wherever I happened to be. Looking silly only made me laugh! In the morning, the Oh-my-god-I-can't-face-another-day-of-law-school-Let-me-stay-in-bed routine was forcefully put to rest with a quick jump out of bed, followed by applause. Clapping does wonders for the ego. It's even better when it's in front of the mirror with a smile. (I wholeheartedly recommend that you get an applause track for your iPhone, Android or MP3 player...and use it when you need a push in the right direction! I have three different versions of applause on mine...)
What changed most in law school is that I began to move my body as a counter to the negative flow of thoughts. I walked everywhere in San Francisco. I increased the distance and speed of my perambulations. Exercise became mandatory in order to get myself through the combative environment of law school. My "Tony add-ons" were the small habits of quick movements (like the jumping jacks, karate chops or dancing steps) that literally saved me. Post-Tony, the emotional paralysis I felt dropped off considerably.
These additions work well today, too! They are incredibly helpful. In fact, they are quite fun and don't require equipment, books, money or space. Try it in the street, in your car, on the sidewalk, in your kitchen, or in your bed! Right there. Right where you are! Come on, give me a big karate chop or one-two punch...
There ya go, champ...Now keep moving!