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A Merry and Mindful Christmas

My Christmas wish for you:

With Christmas in a couple days, we are checking our mooring lines and developing our Buddy System. Now, let’s take a deeper look at our safety system thought ladder.

When learning how to use my safety system, I found it helpful to have examples of what my thoughts and feelings might look like in the different stages of this safety system ladder, so I made this diagram to give you some examples. Understanding which thoughts place you where on the thought ladder will help you identify your trigger points.

A personal story: There is a lot of traffic around this time of year and as you now know the safety system ladder is an active relationship. I know that being stuck in traffic and being late is a trigger point for me, I think it’s because I feel trapped in traffic…

TOP TIP: We are constantly moving up and down this ladder, the trick is to catch yourself before you fall off it! You can, with awareness, moving yourself back up the ladder.

I simply dislike being late! (Ha, it’s not a very Swiss thing) Often when I find myself stuck in traffic, I can feel the panic start to set in. Before I was working with my nervous system, I would slide straight into mobilisation mode and when I arrived at my destination it was as if I was trying to herd squirrels. The day usually only got worst and ended with me frazzled and feeling like I “need a drink” to destress!

Now with my awareness, I know being late and traffic are a trigger and when I find myself in this situation and thinking “I am going to be late,” I immediately start focusing on my breath which allows me to re-centre myself. This stops me from sliding down the ladder into mobilisation and disconnection.

It helped me to know, and be aware, where these particular thoughts will lead me if I let it continue. I can stop myself on the ladder and walk myself back up it with a more reasonable thought process (examples):

  • “This is out of my control, lets breath.”

  • “I can let the people on the other end know I going to be late.”

  • “Remain calm because I don’t want to end the day feeling like a need a drink.”

  • “Okay, so what is within my control in this situation? Let’s focus on that”.

Finding myself stuck in traffic and feeling like I am going to be late no longer “stresses” me out like it used to. I now spend my time in traffic controlling what I can:

1. Focusing on my breath.

2. finding another route if possible.

3. contact the people I am meeting if I need to.

4. making adjustments to my schedule if I can.

5. making a mental note to leave a little earlier next time if possible.

Blog post written for the sobriety community within Best Life - Sobriety through connection and featured in the Mindfulness and Meditation Group within the App. Download the app here: 

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