August Theme: Meditation
Taking brief moments for inner peace
by Krista Jarvis, LPC
Do you ever find yourself feeling unfocused, stressed or exhausted? Though our work can be rewarding, it is common for us in healing professions to take care of so many others in a day that we neglect to recognize our own needs. Recognizing this can be overwhelming, but the good news is that it need not take hours of focused self-care to gain a sense of peace. There are ways to use brief moments and small opportunities to “re-source”, or tap into your own place of inner peace and infinite wisdom. Here are a few ideas:
Come Back to Center
When we talk about returning to your center, it just means to come back to the fundamental truth of who you really are. Taking a brief pause to just be quiet within oneself. This can feel difficult if we are used to a never-ending task or worry list running through our minds. An easy way to return to center is to simply turn your attention to your breath, which will not only calm the mind, but also the body. To do this allow yourself to take a deep breath in to a count of four, sending breath down deep into your belly, allowing it to expand like a balloon, then just as deeply exhaling it all out to a slow count of four. Do as many rounds as feels helpful. As you inhale, you might intend that you are breathing in calm and as you exhale you are breathing out stress.
Through a practice called mindfulness, we can better focus our minds so that thoughts and emotions are acknowledged, but not allowed to completely run the show. In our line of work, there is so much to take in and accomplish at any given moment. The capacity to multi-task is necessary. Briefly think about a baby or a dog. For them there is no concept of past and future, so they are capable of completely living in the present moment. As we grow up and begin to understand time orientation, we become time travelers. We bounce around between pondering events that already happened while worrying about what’s next. To stop this completely is unrealistic, but a real power can be found in learning to take breaks from it. To practice mindfulness is very simple. All you need to do is to direct your mind to focus in on your five senses. What can you see, hear, smell, taste, and sense through touch right now? As you take any moment in a day and bring your full awareness to your body, you are being present.
Begin to allow yourself to just observe your experience rather than feel you must process and interpret it all. Being fully present releases you momentarily from the automated feedback loop that is the mind. This can bring a greater sense of purpose and even joy to just about anything.
Go to Your Favorite Place
Another way to achieve calm very quickly is to briefly allow yourself to daydream about a place that feels incredibly relaxing and peaceful to you. As you get into it, just let your senses again take over to get the feeling of being there. What is the landscape like? Is there beauty you see in the ocean, or mountains or architecture? Allow yourself to fully take it in visually, in full color. What do you smell here? The fresh scent of a forest? The smell of your grandma’s pie? Can you taste anything, like the saltiness of the sea air? What do you hear? Wind through the trees or birds singing? And what do you feel? Grass on your feet, or sun on your skin? Take it all in. The more you focus on how good this place feels and allow yourself to release all fears and worries while you are here, the more you will be able to tap into instantaneous calm every time you think of it.
There are many resources available online for breathing exercises, mindfulness, and guided meditations. Take a pause to play around with these techniques and you will likely find it easier to achieve a sense of calm anytime you want it.
Krista Jarvis is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapist
in private practice. She lives in Hillsboro, Missouri with her husband and two
children. She enjoys learning about healing modalities both modern and
ancient and integrating them in ways that help people to come back to
themselves and get on path. Her website is www.kristajarvis.com.
In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much ... and forget about the joy of just being.
Provide email before you click submit
for FREE entry into Wheel Into Wellness
Trail Bike Giveaway!
Just the FACTS ...
8% of U.S. adults (18 million) use meditation.