These are things you can do in a minute or two to feel more relaxed. As you start, take a moment to do a simple check-in of your emotional state, your thoughts, and what you are feeling in your body. Just notice what is happening, without judgment or expectation. Abdominal Breathing Abdominal breathing is the one of the most effective ways to relax quickly. By breathing with your diaphragm you will immediately signal your autonomic nervous system to relax. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Take some slow, deep breaths into the belly. It’s helpful, but not essential, to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. If you are doing abdominal breathing correctly, the lower hand should move as much or more than the hand on your chest. Continue this slow, deep breathing for a couple of minutes, imagining the breath calming your body and clearing your mind. Notice how you feel. Cook’s Hookup With legs extended, cross your left ankle over your right one. With your arms outstretched, cross your right wrist over your left one, then turn your hands so the palms are touching, clasp your fingers, and twist your hands down and toward your ribs, and rest them on your chest. Hold this Once you have learned the technique, you don’t need to use the hands if you prefer not to. position for two minutes as you breathe through your nose. On the in-breath, push your tongue against your upper palette, and on the out-breath push it against your lower palette. When the two minute period has elapsed, take a minute to notice what you experience in your body. Quick Tensing and Relaxing Tense your feet and lower legs and thighs and buttocks, pelvic muscles, abdomen, and lower back muscles. Hold them tightly for a few moments and notice the tension. Then release the tension completely and let all those muscles soften and become supple and relaxed. Tense your hands, forearms, upper arms and shoulders, belly, midriff, middle and upper back, and facial muscles, and take a breath in so your rib cage is full extended. Notice how that feels, then release the breath and soften all those muscles, letting them become supple and relaxed. As you continue to breathe, focus on releasing, softening, letting go. Let the tension continue to flow out with every out-breath. Creating a Symbol of Relaxation When you are practicing relaxation, choose an image that conveys peace, comfort, or mental and physical letting go. This image can be anything you choose. You may think of the seashore, or a favorite spot in nature. It may be an image like the sun, a rope untwisting, ice melting, or a soothing color. It may be the face of a pet or of someone you love. Every time you do relaxation, call up that image as you are becoming relaxed. Allow the symbol to grow and fill your awareness. Let all of the qualities of that symbol come to mind, and imagine them moving through your body on the rhythm of your breath. As you practice this more, you will be able to close your eyes anywhere and relax quickly by calling up your symbol and filling your awareness with it for a few minutes. * This resource was produced at the Trauma Center, with the funding of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA), under a federal Anti-Terrorism Supplemental Grant (ATSG), to aid Victims of and Responders to the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. It is not intended to supplant professional support.
If we are ever to achieve peace and harmony in our lives and the lives of others we must begin by working from the outside in. Prayer and meditation can influence our state of mind, which then have an effect on our state of body. It can help with anxiety, sadness, blood pressure, sleep, digestion and breathing. It also can influence thinking and change the brain activity and ultimately the subjective and objective experiences of us in the world. People who engage in prayer or meditation on a regular basis have a change in the frontal lobes, the area that controls concentration and focus. When one is in a state of deep prayer, the parietal lobe's power goes down, which can contribute to a sense of transcendence. There are different types of Prayer. The major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, prayer is more focused on something "outside of the self," so they pray to God. Mystical traditions of these religions like Gnosticism, Kabbalism and Sufism, are more focused on the "inside of the self" aspect of the prayer, believing that we all have a divinity inside of us. And Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Hinduism, focus on mediation rather than prayer. Engaging in Prayer If you feel like prayer or meditation may be beneficial to you, a few points that you may want to consider while praying: Set specific times and a safe and clean place that makes you feel good and helps you concentrate. If you are doing a personal or an individualistic prayer, focus and work on connecting to your higher self rather than functioning from your ego. Be clear with your intentions and why you are praying so there are no disappointments. The more self aware you are, the more aware of your intentions you become and the more profound the result of your prayer would be. Expand your experience with mixing different methods of prayer and meditation that seems closer to your heart. As always, you have to learn the content of your heart by knowing who you are before you know what may work for you. Twelve Step Prayers using the text from Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Serenity Prayer written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr God grant me the serenity to Accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things Right if I surrender to His will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. Third Step Prayer: God, I offer myself to Thee – To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them May bear witness to those I would help Of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always! 11th Step Prayer/Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love where there is injury, pardon where there is doubt, faith where there is despair, hope where there is darkness, light where, there is sadness, joy. 0 Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled. as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Most of us have been deeply conditioned by fear and for the most part we have avoided directly exploring its nature. Because we are not aware of its workings, it is often an unconscious driving force in our lives. This practice can be used when fear arises, whether it is fear of pain, fear of certain emotions, or fear of death, the meditation helps us explore and understand fear itself. Meditation of Mindful Loving Awareness Sitting in a comfortable place close your eyes and think about a place where you feel safe – your childhood home, in front of a fireplace, your grandmother’s kitchen. ▪ Take time to explore that place - What does it look like, smell like, feel like? ▪ Once you have visualized the place for yourself start simply. Begin to notice the fear, what caused it to arise. Name it softly and experience what it does to the breath. ▪ Check into your body. What are the sensations in the body? Where are they located? Notice your heartbeats and how it affects the heart. ▪ Notice what you are feeling. Then name the feeling – be it “fearful”, “angry”, “anxious” or “frustrated” – and practice being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Observing and accepting, but not identifying with the distressing emotion calms the mind. ▪ Notice how long it lasts. Be aware of the images. Notice the sensations and ideas that accompany it, the scary stories it tells. Fear is often an anticipation of the future, an imagination, often unfounded. Each time you go through this process of looking closely at the variety of experiences that cause fear to arise, to understand its true nature. You will begin to see that fear is also a passing conditioned experience, and then it becomes much more workable.