Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Coping techniques

In my Spirituality and Healing group today, we talked about Christmas. For many people (myself included), Christmas is pretty stressful. There are some people out there that find Christmas a wonderful time of year - for me, it's a time that is usually associated with stressful situations and tension. So today, our group leader gave us a five-step technique to use when things seem unmanageable (to center oneself and to remain present in the moment):
  1. Breathe: Breathe deeply into the belly, and draw your awareness from your mind into your belly.
  2. Relax: Keep breathing, and scan the body to find tension. Deliberately let the tension go. Consciously relax the belly, face, neck, and shoulders.
  3. Feel: Instead of suppressing whatever emotion you're feeling, ask yourself what you are feeling. Take your awareness from the belly to the feeling. Don't judge the feelings. Maintain your breath and relaxation.
  4. Watch: Shift your consciousness (in a "witness consciousness" sort of way - let your consciousness witness what's going on without judging you). Observe what's going on in a detached sort of way. Let your consciousness be your friend, coaching you and saying you are safe and that nothing bad will happen to you.
  5. Allow: Allow your feelings to wash through you. Let them go. Use your consciousness, that is still giving you comfort, to help make this transition.
Obviously these steps won't work if you're being immediately physically threatened, but they might be helpful in dealing with the bad emotional stuff that can happen when people get together. I think that they probably need some practice to be able to do them quickly; but if I can't do stuff like this quickly, then I can always lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to do this :)

The best part of these steps is that they mentally take you out of the difficult situation and into a place where you can be more emotionally comfortable and centered. Once you've done that, you can come back to the situation in a better frame of mind. Of course I've no idea whether they'll actually work for me - but they're worth trying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I become familiar with this kind of centering when the works of Jon Kabat-Zinn were recently recommended to me.

In his book Full Catasrophe Living, he explains why daily meditation practice helps. Every time you just notice your physical or emotional discomfort and continue meditating, it trains your mind to respond rather than react. And once you 'respond', even for a millisecond, it changes the situation for you.

It's still very new for me and I haven't had to test it in any really stressful situation yet:) Hopefully by Christmas I will have a better grasp of it all.

I would definitely recommend his book and meditation cd's if you want to further explore meditation.

Love, Mom