Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Manage Stress with the Waterfall Technique

Stress is a powerful influence on how we feel, emotionally, mentally and physically. This powerful technique can be used anywhere to help you relieve stress and relax. All you need is two minutes and a quiet place where you can close your eyes.

You’re stressed out – admit it. Everywhere you go, you are subjected to stress. Your boss at work, standing in line at Starbucks while the lady in front of you tries to make up her mind (how can she not know what a mocha is?), and sitting in traffic during rush hour. That’s enough to get anybody’s blood boiling!

Why do we get so stressed out? Are we really in that much of a hurry? Are we that worried that we are going to look bad? Are we overstimulated? Are we too busy trying to cram everything into our lives that “somebody” thinks we should be doing?

That’s part of it. But realize that much stress is related to events from your past. Emotional stress from the past plays a big part in your blood pressure readings. Here’s why.

Your subconscious mind is the part of you that manages your emotions. It creates them and then you feel them in your body and your mind. But what happens when you don’t feel the emotions – what if you don’t process them? For instance, if you have a lot of emotion all at once, and you still have to take care of life events – like when someone close to you dies, or you get into a car accident…you don’t have time to process all the sadness, grief, fear, shock, guilt, anger and other emotions that might be present. So what happens to them? We’ve all heard of stuffing emotions, right?

Your subconscious mind will be kind enough to store the emotions for you. It’s just doing it’s job – protecting you from being overwhelmed. So it might store the emotions along with the memory that created them. It’s easy to tell if this is the case – when you access that memory, or think about what happened, you will feel the emotion – even though it may have happened years before. Or the subconscious might store that energy in your body somewhere – in effect blocking other energy and possibly causing physical issues. Especially excessive stress.

So, here’s a technique you can use, pretty much anywhere you are. It’s a visual exercise, but don’t worry if you are not visual. Just imagine or pretend…it works just as well.

Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for a couple of minutes. After a little practice, it will only take you seconds to do the exercise, but for now give yourself plenty of time. And since your eyes will be closed – don’t do this while you are driving…

Close your eyes and take a couple really deep breaths. Breathe all the way down to the bottom of your stomach, filling your lungs completely, and exhaling all the way. As you breathe, mentally will all of your muscles to unwind – imagine that you are a bowl of spaghetti, and mentally untie all the knots in your muscles and let them go loose.

Keep breathing, and as you do, imagine yourself walking along a beautiful stream. As you walk, pretend that you can hear the birds, frogs and crickets around you as the stream rushes by. Imagine that you can feel the wind cooling your face and the sun warming your back. Take a moment just to visualize it…to feel it…to really internalize how that would feel.

Now imagine that you see a gentle waterfall. You can feel the mist on your face and hands as you approach it, watching the water bounce off the rocks at the bottom. You might even see a rainbow as the sun glistens of the mist. Raise your hand and put it into the waterfall, and feel the perfect temperature of the water, refreshing and cool. Imagine stepping into the waterfall and feel it splash down around you, gently rushing over your head, your neck, your shoulders and down over the rest of your body – it feels wonderful. Now it occurs to you that this is a very special waterfall, and as the water rinses the stress from the surface of your body, the energy from the waterfall penetrates deep inside you, rinsing away negativity and old emotions that are simply not needed anymore. You look down at your feet and see a darkness from your body seeping out into the water as the energy from that intense, cleansing waterfall rushes over you. Let it go…let it all go. The stress, the worry, the anger, the fear, the guilt, the shame, the sadness, the grief. Watch with amazement as it is rinsed out of your body by that cleansing, pure waterfall. Let it all go. And as the water at your feet begins to run clear, feel yourself begin to fill up with a wonderful sense of peace and well being. Breathe it in to every cell in your body. Allow yourself to feel it – give yourself permission to really feel good, relaxed and peaceful. Let it resonate with your deep inner being, with your spirit, your soul. Notice how good it feels.

Take another deep breath, and step out of the waterfall, feeling refreshed, cleansed, optimistic and objective. Open your eyes when you are ready.

As you use this visualization, you will be able to imagine it more and more intensely, and it will get much faster for you. Soon you will be able to use this technique for relaxation even if you just have a few seconds. The more you use it, the more powerful it will become for you. You are training your mind to let go and relax. Use it often, and enjoy!

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