This week we are weighing in with ways to address stress in this challenging time. You’ll find many tools to use now, and even when life returns to the new normal–whatever that may be. From mindfulness, to breathing, and even what you eat can make a difference in your experience of daily life. You can take in the entire newsletter here.
For a mindfulness meditation moment, we have a wonderful offering from our trusted colleague, friend and patient, Dr. J. Zink. He’s been a master counselor and psychotherapist to countless corporations and executive families for over 30 years and an author of this wonderful book, Upbringing: Raising A Responsible Child. We’re thankful for his contribution to the health of our LWI family!
WHEN MIND AND HEART RACE
J. ZINK, Ph.D., Psychotherapist (Ret.)
Here is a helpful exercise to reduce stress in these times of Covid-19 and quarantine challenges.
Imagine you are in the place where you were the happiest and most peaceful in your life.
Rather than remember it, or worse, try to remember it, close your eyes, take three deeply inhaled and slowly exhaled breaths, and go there. Discover or rediscover as many specific details as possible. Engage as many of your senses as you can for this de-stressing exercise. Taste the experience. Savor individual odors, and listen again sharply for the ambient sounds of the place, sounds you may have once heard and possibly forgotten, but now give yourself permission to remember again. Reap as many delicious details of the experience as you can and be in that moment, enjoying more fully the moment, than you did when you first experienced it.
Done effectively, this self-hypnotic experience, if only for a few moments of re-focus and relaxation, can lower your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, and allow your mind and body to experience one thing to the exclusion of everything else that is yelling at you for attention.
I was fortunate enough to spend about twenty minutes backstage with The Dali Lama about twenty years ago and the above exercise was nearly the entire focus of our conversation. I had asked His Holiness how long it took him to learn to clear his mind.
“Oh, Jay” he said. “It was twenty years.”
I was hoping, of course, that he could offer me some tricks or short cuts. He saw immediately my disappointment. Before he could come to my rescue, I said, “What about learning to focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else?”
That is when I got that beatific smile he is famous for as he said, “of course, that is the basis for self-hypnosis, isn’t it?“
So. Give yourself permission to experience this altered state of deep relaxation. It is especially effective when you wake up anxious at 3am and your mind, and heart, start to racing.
Make it happen.