Retirement Happiness — Use Your ‘Psychic Armour’

One morning last week as I drove to the gym for morning exercise,  I listened to a short documentary about the importance of psychic armour.

I was intrigued.

I had never thought of psychic armour as a method of protection from the inevitable stresses or anxieties that can unexpectedly hit anyone at any time.

Whether its the stress from multiple competing demands, or anxiety from real or imagined fears, there are times when I would love the protection of a suit of physical armour or at least the comfort of an adult ‘blankie’ or shield.

Psychic armour — photo courtesy of Allef Vinicius

On most days some things go wrong. Stuff happens.  It might be little things or BIG life issues that create excitement, frustration, or nervous reactions. Perhaps it’s a comment from a friend that feels brusque. Perhaps it’s bad news about the health of a family member. Often it’s the action of a stranger who cuts you off in traffic or makes a crude remark. Whether its a small thing like burning the toast or a worrisome financial setback, stuff happens.

Instead of getting upset, wouldn’t it be nice to put on a shield and get a dose of psychic armour?

What is psychic armour?

Psychic armour has been described as a type of imaginary protection. Unlike the cumbersome medieval suit of armour, psychic armour is an imaginary shield that surrounds you.

Psychic armour might be a secret method of resisting stress and reducing daily anxieties — perhaps in the form of a mantra or a visualization or a silent prayer. It might be a breathing exercise. Psychic armour might involve the common defence mechanisms of fight, flight, or freeze.

In response to stress, the body has natural reactions such as increased heart rate, shallow breath, and negative thoughts. While daily anxieties don’t require a full out fight or flight response, many emotional upsets can be quieted by a ‘freeze’ response when you take a moment to consider how best to react.  Often just letting things pass solves the problem.

Psychic armour can be thought of as a form of self love.  When you focus on loving yourself and being kind to yourself, you set limits on how external events or interactions with other people will deplete your energy.

How to use your psychic armour

Effective use of psychic armour begins with remembering that you are the person responsible for your reactions and your behaviour. When responding to an affront, either directly or internally, the affront is acknowledged. Instead, you can ignore what happened and move on to something pleasant. If a response during a conversation is essential, perhaps making a vague comment and changing the subject offers protection.

I’ve tried these techniques with success.  Ignoring someone beats getting angry or stressed. Walking away or taking a ‘time-out’ works too! The trick is remembering to chose a neutral response instead of reacting.

Another form of psychic armour is the ‘freeze’ and ‘breathe’ technique. It’s a quick mindfulness practise that gives time to decide on a response. Stopping to take a few breaths with slow,purposeful exhales helps restore equilibrium. It gives time to evaluate thoughts and feelings. Hopefully, it also gives enough time for the brain to correctly process the event and prevent an over-reaction. Some people find a short mantra effective during ‘freeze and breathe’ moments. This is a tough prescription for someone, like me, who usually responds too quickly — with later regret!

As I grow older, I depend more on my inner voice or inner wisdom. The inner voice is an intuitive warning signal when outside sources intrude too much on my life. When something is wrong, internal body signals such as constricted breathing or accelerated heart rate, occur.  That’s the time to freeze and search for the inner wisdom, or the 6th sense.

Using psychic armour means leaving behind the beliefs and admonishments about what you could have, should have, would have done. It involves forgiving yourself when you fail. It involves understanding that some things will cause fright and upset. Using psychic armour also involves practising new habits.

Is there a relationship between wellness and psychic armour as was promised in the short radio documentary I heard? Perhaps………at least it will let you back away from some of those life stresses that rob daily happiness.

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8 Replies to “Retirement Happiness — Use Your ‘Psychic Armour’”

  1. Thank you. absolutely amazing. you cleared stuff up for me.

    1. If I’ve inspired you and cleared up something that you have been thinking about, then the post was worth writing.
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  2. Jeanette, I became relaxed just reading your blog on “psychic armour” Now to practise it and move forward.
    I look forward to reading your other blogs. Keep up the good work.

    1. I’m happy to hear that reading the blog post provided relaxation. Psychic armour provides a much-needed adult ‘blankie’ from time to time!

  3. Interesting discussion of this concept. When I was going through a divorce, my counselor suggested that I adopt the idea that I had a teflon shield, and when I received nasty communications from my soon-to-be exhusband, I should put on my shield, and then he could not hurt me.

    P.S. The last line of your post needs editing.

    1. Hi Rin,
      I like the suggestion of a teflon shield as a method of letting things go. It’s difficult not to feel offended, stressed, and angry when nastiness comes our way. Too often, I’ve reacted in kind to an affront — to my later regret.

      Thanks for the ‘heads up’ about the last line of the post. I’ve corrected the grammar!

  4. Well said, Jeanette. We have a mutual friend who always reacts without thinking and it’s a challenge to make her understand there are better ways of dealing with life’s problems or to persuade her to don some ‘psychic armour.’

    1. At times all of us react quickly and then have to pick up the pieces! Sometimes we have to live through many difficulties to learn how to move away from upset and protect ourselves. Getting older seems to help!

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