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Well that got your attention. You are possibly thinking I am about to spin you a tale about oiled-up Japanese warriors in uncomfortable undies imparting some great piece of life advice regarding sumo and acupuncture. Not quite. I’m talking about the other SUMO…

Shut Up, Move On.

I can’t clearly remember when SUMO exactly entered my life. It was around the time I was working in Cornwall on an ‘arms-length’ project with Caradon District Council. We were a very small team that was charged with creating a new service to help people in crisis. It was a complicated and frustrating process as well as highly rewarding and frankly, a bit of a laugh. As a team we used ‘SUMO’ a great deal when various economic, procedural and colleague issues arose. We had to, there was no time for sitting and dwelling on our numerous operational problems, we had to deliver for clients and funders.

Since those days I’ve used SUMO to help weather the things in life that are sent to test. I regularly tell my patients to SUMO and it proves to be a liberating mantra when we get caught up in lifes’ trials.

I still have the privilege of working with people in crisis. As I am sure you are aware, acupuncture is more than just a pain treatment. I firmly believe it helps nourish the human spirit also. How? I’m not entirely sure exactly how, but I see it happen all the time. Mostly it’s receiving support from someone who is on your side, listens without judgement and can be trusted. In combination, the needle part then allows the body to relax and the mind absorb new perspectives. Frankly, I do not spend too much time over thinking the ‘how’, more the ‘how can I do it better’ for the next patient through the door.

The crises we face vary greatly, but some of the things we can employ to help mitigate them do not. I have put together a hit-list of things we can do to SUMO when things get tough. It is a list as much for myself as it is for any other. I genuinely use these tips day to day.

When the going gets tough, try these..

  • Use mantras. I do this all the time, with my fav being SUMO. I also use ‘I choose peace’ if feeling anxious and ‘F*ck It!’ if frustrated. I say them out loud as a constant reminder to break negativity and try and take a better path in my mind.
  • Watch who you spend time with. Do they radiate positivity or spread doom? Minimise the doom-mongers if you are feeling off.
  • Get rest and breathe. Deep breaths help release tension, feed the brain oxygen and lower heart rate, overall making you feel more chilled.
  • Axe the unnecessary. When you are up against it, cut out the unnecessary activities. Crisis can bring along a lot of extra work and so some of the regular tasks need axing. It is not possible to ‘do it all’, so don’t even try. Prioritise, by making a list of the most urgent and necessary tasks.
  • Asking for help is a skill that few people possess during difficult times. Have some compassion for yourself and let others muck in. In most cases helping others is a rewarding experience, give them a chance to feel useful.
  • Flip-think. This is a new one I am learning about. It kind of falls into the ‘silver-lining’ Ven diagram of disaster! Instead of concentrating on the downside to the crisis, thinking about what this time of perceived turmoil might be bringing in terms of new possibilities, new paths, new opportunities, reviewing existing plans, meeting new people, learning about yourself and others.
  • Guillotine the guilt. Humans seem to be drawn to guilt. It creeps into all kinds of situations and takes hold without us even realising. Take time to try and recognise its’ existence. Analyse why you are feeling it, then cut its’ flaming head off. Guilt is mostly a total waste of time. It’s often a self centred emotion that tries to make everything about us. Well, newsflash, unless you have done something truly vile to someone else, it’s a waste of time. If you have done something vile, then tough. Maybe this dose of guilt will teach you to be a better person!
  • Try and laugh. Seeing the lighter side of life can be a real tonic and humour helps us put things into proper perspective and enables us to deal with tough stuff. Seeing the lighter side is not disrespectful, but a way of diffusing intense emotions. Have a little titter with trusted friends, just be careful who you do it in front of! Raucous laughter at the expense of others can be damaging, so have tact.
  • Put the kettle on. Make tea. Be British. When it all comes down to it, a nice calm brew can work wonders. Plus, it’s what we British do best.

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