INTEGRATE THE WORK
A new take on self-care. Play with an activity or two, something you ‘desire’ from your heart, distinguishing from activities that emerge from ‘should’ statements.
Set an intention: Practice a clearing/stress mitigation tool to integrate when you notice cortisol rising (dissociation/anxiety/physical discomfort). This clearing work promotes self-compassion and non-attachment. Self-compassion enables us to feel our emotions as they are, tending to them, and then when ready, letting them go. Non-attachment enables us to creatively and confidently use our resources to navigate and reframe challenges.
Mindfulness Tip: If you are keen to try sustained mindfulness (meditation) but struggling to stay focussed/enter into a relaxed state try Binaural Beats (head phones required!) to promote relaxing brain wave states (great for busy minds and evidence-based). There are many versions available via streaming apps, youtube, or free online sites. Link to an example
***Traditional sitting meditation is not for everyone. Some need more tangible activities (walking/running, sweeping, washing dishes, etc.) to enter into brainwave states that are conducive to meditation practice.
Suggested guided meditations to try on:
Relaxation body scan cultivating loving kindness – 20 minutes (Affirmation Pod with Josie Ong)
Controlled breathing techniques improve mental function, support our ability to focus, heighten mood, and reduce cortisol levels (Ma, Yue, Gong, Zhang, Duan, Shi, Wei, & Li, 2017; Perciavalle, Blandini, Fecarotta, Buscemi, Di Corrado, Bertolo, Fichera, & Coco, 2017). Below, are examples of controlled breathing techniques that can have a variety of benefits, including interrupting the sympathetic nervous system/stress response. Breathing in these ways requires concentration, enabling an ability to step back from self-destructive thoughts and triggers relaxation by both interrupting the fight-flight-freeze response and releasing beneficial hormones that relaxes our muscles, lowers our heart rate and blood pressure. It is common to feel dizzy when doing these techniques, so remember to start slow and to avoid doing during certain activities, such as driving. Try each one and determine which one’s appeal to you.
We will not embrace a positive orientation unless we engage a positive emotion to accompany the change in perspective. Gratitude is the most effective way to re-orient a negative emotion. Rather than thinking about what you need/want in the future, think about how far you have come and about the blessings you have received thus far. Writing these things down can help with focus and concentration, enabling you to immerse in the positive emotion. The more you immerse, the more effectively you can interrupt negative through rumination, cultivating a more optimistic perspective (this improves your ability to creatively manage/resolve events rather than feeling threatened by them).
Practice a loving-kindness exercise when irritation/threats emerge (visualize them with you and send them a blessing…may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free of suffering, or you can filter the emotion through the heart/transmute it to light and send it their way, etc.)
Generating Compassion: guided by Steven Hickman UCSD) – 15 minutes Cultivating Compassion
As we drop into our inner worlds, we often have to work through wounds from the past, which can bring up difficult emotions and a resistance to staying in the inner world. A useful tool, enabling us to work through our pain, rather than avoid it, is the RAIN acronym. RAIN helps us stay open to the inner world, despite the unhealed trauma we encounter there. It has four steps: 1. Recognize what is going on; 2. Allow the experience to be, just as it is; 3. Investigate your inner experience with kindness, while 4. Non-identifying with your experience. Tara Brach’s website provides more details and some useful guided meditations (link to Tara Brach).
Freezy Business Podcast by Organic Intelligence
The Free Unified Mindfulness Training helps to Re-orient by Bringing our Thinking into Congruence with the Environment
Binaural Beats, MUSE/EEG Meditation Headbands (neurofeedback, promoting relaxation states), Breath Counting (as noted above), Chakra Clearing (Greg De Vries version), Mind Valley’s 6-Phase Meditation with Binaural Beats (headphones are ideal to get the benefits of binaural beats).