David Scammell here. I’m a psychotherapist at Helix Healthcare Group. Just as you can (unknowingly) train your brain to be in a hyper-stimulated state, you can also (purposely) train your brain to be calm in the face of the storm.
I work with many anxious and stressed clients who find sitting still and working to calm the mind to be a challenging task, even though that’s what they their body needs the most. It’s not so much that they are hyper-active or suffer from an attention deficit disorder, their brains haven’t been taught how to access a calm state, and like most things, it takes practice.
We can’t expect our system to know how to relax if we haven’t taught it how, right?
In many cases the solution is simple: create the space and time to devote to a mindfulness or other form of meditation practice, or mindful yoga practice. After all, it is called a “practice” for a reason.
It may be a struggle at first to find that sweet spot of relaxation, but over time the brain/body becomes familiar with the drill and will move towards relaxation and stillness more quickly and easily. This is especially helpful in times of extreme stress or after traumatic events, to be able to self-soothe and return to a familiar state of calm.
“Who has the time!?” you might ask. Ten, fifteen or twenty minutes a day is all you need to start the process (which you have already discovered using our thought stopping exercise). I personally make use of my transit commute to the clinic everyday by taking a few breaths, check in with myself, focus on body sensations or breathing.
Here’s my personal secret: I often use a Waking Meditation, which I am going to share with you right now. You actually don’t need to be lying down in a quiet place with your eyes closed. In fact, it works behind the scenes to calm you when you can’t physically take a mini escape:
Here is the link to the Waking Meditation
In addition to the above, mini “check-ins” can be done throughout the day, for example when waiting in line, pausing at a stop light, or even during commercials (or that 15 second gap between the next Netflix episode). So, start your practice now, and you will be rewarded with the ability to return to a feeling of calm and stillness, which is an asset to have when you need it most.
Wishing you tranquility,
David Scammell, Registered Psychotherapist
P.S. If you need an extra bit of support right now, please give us a call at 416.921.2273 or email [email protected] to book a FREE 1-hour consultation a member of our clinical team.