Finding Balance in a Time of Chaos
Perhaps one day we will all look back on this time in our lives and smile or chuckle because we recall it as a time when we learned a lot about ourselves and our world. Living in the present, there are some days that feel as though we will be lucky to make it to tomorrow or next month, or next year. Everything feels uncertain and we feel the pressure and the stress of our thoughts and feelings, as well as those of our community and the world at large. We have thoughts of escaping to the less populated places of the world, trying to find some form of distance from the constant pressures of the day, trying to escape the negativity of what is in order to regain some hope for the future. Somehow, "reality" seems to seep back in and we find ourselves on an emotional, physical, or spiritual roller coaster day in and day out.
What if there was a way to balance it out? To achieve some sense of peace within while remaining focused and action-oriented on the outside?
When we feel out of balance, it is because our energy fields aren't flowing. Chi (ki) in the body work exactly the same as electricity moving from an wired outlet to the light bulb in your lamp. While it sounds 'new age' it is an actual process. Accupuncturists use the tiny needles to change the flow of your chi; those who practice sound healing change the flow of energy with musical tones at specific frequencies because there is an associated vibration with those sounds that moves the energy differently. As a Physical Therapist, I use muscle-stimulators, E-stim, and TENS to activate the neuromuscular interface or to trigger a neural receptor to change the flow of energy in conductive tissues in order to reduce pain and edema, or to increase the muscle's ability to fire more consistently. There are many other examples of scientific, medical, and activities that change the flow of energy in the body. When we can change the flow, we open ourselves to a new framework of being. When we can integrate this change in energy flow in the mind, the body, and the spirit, we open ourselves to a new state of living and thriving.
Engaging the mind in this process is the key to changing your energy holistically. Holistic refers to 'taking into account the whole', meaning the entire person. Basing interventions on the whole person, means that we address all energies in ourselves, including those created in our mind. Our mind is a marvel of thought, emotion, inspiration, drive, and more. To engage the mind as part of the energy balance process, means to balance thoughts, emotions, and feelings, opening up a way to ease stress, anxiousness, fear, and hopelessness. Meditation is wonderful practice that makes energy change possible for the mind, and it can be as simple or as extensive and you choose.
Meditation can be many things to many people. For some it is the lotus position and repeating mantras; for others, it is simply specialized breathing techniques that can be repeated at will when needed; for others it is a part of a yoga class; or it can be as simple as visualization, relaxed concentration, or a guided experience using a recording. There are so many methods for achieving a meditative state, and anyone can find a method that works for them.
Try this: simply sit on a supportive chair with your feet on the floor and your arms resting on your lap or the arms of the chair. Close your eyes and allow yourself to sigh. This will release any breath that you are holding, and allow the muscles to begin to release tension. Now take in a deep breath, breathing in through your nose and allowing your belly to fill. Hold the breath for 3 seconds, and then slowly release the breath through your mouth as though you are blowing into a balloon or a straw. After three cycles of this, begin drawing the breath in over a count of 4 seconds, hold the breath for 3 seconds, and then gently release it over 5 seconds for another 3 breaths. Then, breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 5 seconds repeatedly for another 4 breaths. You just completed your first meditative breath session!
Once you have mastered the meditative breathing, you can add another layer by using visualization. As you breathe in, target the breath to "move toward" each region of your body, starting with the head and neck. As you breathe in, you 'move' the breath down the body- head and neck, then shoulders, arms and hands, then chest, then belly and low back, then hips, legs, and feet. This method allows you to concentrate on each area of your body so that you can release the tension stored there. This is called progressive relaxation using the mind to direct the body.
By taking the steps to release tension and to oxygenate the tissues of the body and using the mind to direct this activity, you can begin a meditation process that can become a regular part of your day. Try to be consistent by doing this daily for at least 7 days in a row, reflecting along the way about how your stress levels are changing, how your body feels, and how other parts of your day are impacted by your meditative process. This will help you to determine your own results and how you want to grow or maintain this practice. There are several great apps available for meditation that will help you to grow or maintain your practice, as well as meditation teachers and Hypnotherapists- like me- who can work with you to customize your practice and hone your skills.
Finding inner balance helps us achieve outer balance. If more of us had inner balance, think of how much better the outer world would be. It's never to late to change your habits and your perspective.
At Vortex Wellness Concepts, LLC,we want to help you Change your perspective and Change your MIND!
L.A. Campbell, PT, DPT, MBA, MSCS, CHt is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist. Her practice focus is on holistic wellness and assisting all persons with mind, body, spirit integration techniques for self-empowerment, self-direction, and self-awareness.