©2017 by Alex Stalberger

with Alex Stalberger

Minneapolis, MN, USA

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The Art of Substitution: Neutral Zone

March 5, 2018


Making big changes can be overwhelming and not sustainable long-term, while little substitutions over time creates big change !


We are primed in our culture to go 100%, all in, succeed or fail, black or white. When realistically, those rules simply do not exist. 


Making little changes cumulatively over time packs a big punch. A punch that you can feel, taste, love, and crave!



The substitution I'm talking about this week steps away from the breakfast table... even though I am a huge fan of breakfast, (Check out my suggestions of how to incorporate more maple syrup in your life over highly processes refined white sugars here) small substitutions in the name of balance happen all across our lives. 


This week I'm talking about how you use your car. Your car can be your neutral zone for all the crazy things that can get thrown your way over the coarse of a day. As often as I think that ending each of my days at my favorite yoga studio surrounded by dim lights, essential oils, and soothing music would basically be the bomb-diggity... It's not always top priority. I am proposing that a calm and neutral space is within our grasp, and it could be much closer than you think!  Our vehicles can be our personal, portable, customizable, place of zen.

Traffic is often so forgivable (usually) and out of our control! So what if we sub our mindless transit and our side order of frustration with spending intentional time doing what we need to recharge. Car time is not wasted time! Creative use of your neutral space can have surprising benefits! Here are some ideas:


Take the time to deeply breathe. ok - so I'm a little weird, but I like to make a game out of this sometimes. You may or may not be aware that when we take a really deep belly breathe, we activate our vagus nerve. When stimulated with a breath, it naturally slows our heart rate and "flips" our stress switch from on to off - physiologically speaking there is no in-between. I dare you to try it. Next time you are in the car, note your shallow breathes, your tight shoulders.... breathe so deep you push the lap belt away from you and feel victorious when you heart rate lowers.


Forget commercial radio. We are being sold things all of the time. Create a space that is building you up! Discover a new podcast series that is educating and/or empowering, or intentionally listen to a new record. 


Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. It's safer anyway, right? Don't do more, do it differently. Any conversation you have can be done outside the car with a lot more brain-power to back it up. 


Use voice-memos. Ever wonder why you have your best ideas in the shower? You aren't disturbed! It's a sacred place for you and your thoughts... What if your car could be transformed into a similar space? It can! Associate your parked car for a place of creative inspiration, get out voice memos and talk out your latest idea, inspiration, fear, or hesitation!


Manifest your next interactions. If you aren't already aware, your thoughts are POWERFUL. Use the time driving to imagine, or manifest, yourself killing it at your next meeting, your rehearsal, performance, pitch, call, whatever it might be! It's like practicing to succeed. It's preparing your way to success. Who doesn't want that? Beware of worrying or playing out negative scenarios in your mind while driving. Catch yourself and commit that you do not accept that reality and simply imagine your new and better one. 

We are a sum of what surrounds us, including what is in our cars! Join in the conversation about how YOU creatively use the space in your car to propel you toward success and balance in our Facebook community, Twin Cities THRIVE, and be a part of a community of influencers dedication to holistic wellbeing. 



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