Health & Fitness

Matters of the Mind: Recruiting the body mind and soul for relief from emotional tumult

Focus on the present. If your mind wanders into future worries or past regrets, it is okay, bring it back to the present moment. Recognise the present and orient yourself in the moment. Practice being in the now.

UPDATED: June 27, 2021 07:29 PM IST

Alongside deeper cognitive work, we need a few to-dos as a routine, a checklist, more rigour and more investment to help prevent further deterioration or progression of melancholia, anxiety, grief, frustration and most importantly, support remission. Following is a list that can be printed and used as a reminder in times to help us cope when we all understand that self-work and health are important but often find ourselves on the slippery slope of stress and sickness. A handy few tools to help us hold on, find and build on strengths and keep well.

Body (Behavioural)

*Practice meditation. Choose a focal point (visual imagery, sounds, tactile) and sustain the silence.

*Breathwork. Find a simple, sustainable breathing practice that resonates. For example, a simple energy and mood lifter inhales deeply through the nose for four counts and exhales through the mouth for six counts.

*Yoga, exercise, walk, treadmill, cross trainer, spot jog, whatever gets you sweating.

*Have a disciplined routine and productive, clear goals for the day.

Mind (Cognitive)

*Focus on the present. If your mind wanders into future worries or past regrets, it is okay; bring it back to the present moment. Recognise the present and orient yourself at the moment. Practice being in the now.

*Accept the agitation, worry, angst, discomfort as normal and not judge yourself for experiencing these. However, the experience and its manifestations become negative or intolerable because we label them so. We must allow such experiences to unfold as they do, without labels on them or ourselves for having to go through it or not prevent it; it is not the negative experience; it is our self-talk that is.

*Accept a lack of control as part of a “good, healthy, happy life” and not as an “uncertain, scary or out-of-control life”. A high need for control is often the cause of significant emotional pain. Being aware and accepting of life having an unknown element enriches us with a growth mindset, spontaneity, curiosity, and resilience.

*Allow the difficult emotion to tell you something about yourself. Our emotions are a result of our self-dialogue. The inner voice we each have is the source of meanings, perceptions, and significance of stimuli for us. Becoming aware of this self-talk can help us become self-aware, think, the meanings we are choosing of events, the perceptions we make of people. Self-awareness is the place where we can all take notes for growth, rationality and improvement.

Soul (Spiritual)

* The soul is hungry for learning and growth. These lessons have to be seeded out. Look at distress, challenges and pain as trying to give you a message, teaching you something that you would learn only this way.

*Be gentle and loving towards yourself. While busy with a thousand things in a day, one forgets to be compassionate to the core of one’s own being, the self. Our demands and expectations take us down a road, away from awakening to our reality, authenticity, who we are. Reminding ourselves of tenderness towards the self is a crucial daily spiritual goal.

*Forgiveness is a remarkable virtue–for the self, for all the mistakes we make, for all the times we fall. I do not insist on forgiving others because I do not believe I am in any such grand position to do so. I am no one to approve, disapprove, begrudge or forgive anyone.

*To practice oneness with all. Being one with ourselves first, then others we see, those we do not see or hear, and further with the community and the world profoundly impact our mind and health. Absorbing our existence’s enormity and our mere atomic significance, our collective compounded strength, and yet the humility to know our minuscule impact, to love others and add value to others as a service for ourselves are just some deep and meaningful nourishers for the soul.

*A daily gratitude practice keeps us aware of all the good things in our life. This can be practised anywhere, anytime, verbally, mentally or by writing in a journal.

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