Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sorta like meditation, but not really... but yes it's meditation...maybe

The author of this article I came across calls it "a basic exercise that will help you learn about the process of thinking". It's a technique whereby you simply be aware of your thoughts for ten minutes, becoming a passive observer of your own mental processes. To me, it sounds a lot like meditation, but nowhere in the text does the author mention the M word. I thought I'd share the link with you, because it sounds like it fits in with what I suggest to all my clients.

I am a big proponent of incorporating awareness and relaxation techniques into your day, no matter how busy you may think you are. Often times people get busy, they get overwhelmed, they feel miserable, they get irritated by everything, they hate their lives, and only THEN do they decide that it's time to pull back a bit and find a way to relax. By then, they've long since forgotten what it feels like to be relaxed, and so they fall back into their same old self-destructive ruts of allowing themselves to be overwhelemed. It feels normal, it feels right, it brings sympathy from others, and it seems "noble" to be be busy all the time, because they're making "sacrifices".

If this sounds like you, then the time to break the cycle is now. See, people all too often try to relax reactively, meaning they wait until they feel ovewhelmed before they put in any effort to slow their lives down. I suggest something different and decidedly un-American: Relax and reflect proactively. In other words, don't wait until it's too late; relax early and often, before things start to build up in your life.

The idea here is that you prepare for what happens in your life, so that you don't have to escape from it. Make sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way, knowing how you will handle every single situation, and then nothing will throw you off-kilter.

Do this: Start every single day with 20 minutes of quiet reflection, relaxation and/or meditation. Take the time to go over the various scenarios you will encounter and some that you may or may not encounter. Tell yourself you will handle every situation that may arise in a calm and confident manner. Use your imagination to see yourself calmly dealing with the various situations as they play in front of your mind's eye like a movie. Decide exactly how you would like to perform in each scenario, and rehearse it that way. Plan for your life, and then live the plan.

You'll find that your life becomes easier, simply because your perception of it is different. You enter your life in a relaxed, prepared, and confident manner, so all situations are dealt with sensibly and efficiently. You never have to reduce your stress, because you never feel stressed in the first place!