Balance. Harmonious balance within ourselves includes emotional, mental, and spiritual elements. For me, becoming more spiritual has meant letting go of control, being willing to “go with the flow”, and learning to appreciate the little, surprising things that come my way when I’m able to be in the moment. So, I’ve been working on meditating. Since I’m not going to be able to spend months meditating at an Indian ashram like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love(which, no, I haven’t read), I decided to invest in some relaxation exercise CDs.
Today I finished the Journey on Relaxation exercise. For me, it began with a flashback to junior high physical education class (truly not the highlight of my life). That was the first time I remember working through this type of relaxation exercise, lying on the gymnasium floor on my back trying to visualize and relax – in the same place I was bruised by smashing dodgeballs. A rough start!
After I got over the inital flashback (which included a body heat wave and slightly sweating palms) and began to focus on the speaker it was a very nice exercise. The mind’s ability to change blood flow patterns and relax the body is incredible. Focused breathing is amazingly relaxing. It only takes a few minutes each day to focus on the breath. Be aware of the sound as you inhale, the feel of the breath entering the lungs, the way the body loses tension upon exhale. Yes, I got a little bored. But, I acknowledged the thought, let it go, and refocused on the breath. By the end, I felt invigorated to tackle my daily projects.
A study in Psychological Science showed that those who meditated regularly for three months had longer attention spans and performed better at detail-oriented tasks. Researchers from Stanford found that this daily practice of working with the breath helped people deal with anxiety. Hopefully I can continue to develop this mindfulness.
I am reminded again that we are not able to control what happens, but we can decide how we react and what kind of person we are. So maybe junior high wasn’t my highlight. I’ve come to terms with that. And I’m proud of the person I’ve become and will continue to evolve in my search for balance.
Due to copy writing laws I can’t provide the exercise I experienced but here are some interesting ones to try https://members.kaiserpermanente.org/redirects/listen/.