Imagery– Imagine a happy time, hurtful emotions draining from you, very relaxing scenes, etc.
Meaning– Find purpose in a painful situation
Prayer– open your heart and/or turn things over to God
Relaxing– Breathe deeply, yoga, drink hot milk, take a bath, etc.
One thing in the moment– Do one thing and focus on it
Vacation– No phone, go to a park or beach, get a magazine, eat candy…
Self-Encouragement- “This too shall pass.” Cheerlead yourself! “I can do this!”
IMPROVE: R is for RELAX, V is for VACATION
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
Will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 NLT
It’s okay to feel the sadness, grief, anger, etc. Bring it to God. Acknowledge the emotions you feel, for they are real. But remember, YOU can be good to yourself! You can be gentle with your sadness and grief. . and give myself some relaxation!
I used to relax in front of the TV all the time, in fairness I have to say that I still veg out in front of the TV, I just don’t do it all the time. I missed out on some things that I love, like reading and crafting because I was spellbound by the television. And not just any station, I’m talking the political ones. I found that I was not relaxing! Instead, I was getting all shook up by the reporting in the news.
I had to make a change, give myself a vacation from my own head! A hot bath with lotions and potions that smell good, along with candles and music works for me, but I can’t do that when I’m ruminating. If my mind is on the bloody hamster wheel I need to do something with all that action going on in my head, so I bought a jigsaw puzzle and set it up on the kitchen table. That was relaxing to me. And during a time when I thought all my smarts had vanished from my brain, I realized that I’m really good at crossword puzzles! I enjoy puzzles because they relax me, but also, I feel confident in my abilities, which gets me to lay-off the negative self-talk.
So take a vacation from your negative thoughts and from the constant chatter in your brain. Try some mindfulness activities. One of the goals of Mindfulness is to reduce suffering and increase happiness. That sounds good to me!
Don’t judge yourself for your negative thoughts and don’t hold onto them either. Instead, focus your mind on the exercise you choose. You can even be mindful when hiking, or singing or any activity, just by paying attention to this moment.
There’s a good exercise in the DBT manual (Dialectic Behavior Therapy). It’s called Stone Flake on a Lake and it goes like this:
Imagine that you are by a clear blue lake on a beautiful sunny day. Then imagine that you are a small flake of stone, flat and light. Imagine that you have been tossed out onto the lake and are now gently, slowly, floating through the calm, clear blue water to the lake’s smooth sandy bottom.
• Notice what you see, what you feel as you float down, perhaps in slow circles, floating toward the bottom. As you reach the bottom of the lake, settle your attention there within yourself.
• Notice the serenity of the lake; become aware of the calmness and quiet deep within.
• As you reach the center of yourself, settle your attention there.
I’ve found that one to be very centering. A relaxing vacation from my ever moving mind.