Recently, my husband and I were taking a motorcycle ride on a quest for peace and beauty on a sunny afternoon.
The farms and fields of southwestern Wisconsin were a bright, vivid green flourishing from a recent rainfall. The sun shone on my face and the warm breeze danced against my cheek. As we rode, the sky began to turn a dark gray and the pavement looked slick under the tires. A large, gloomy rain cloud perched right above us and I began to worry.
As the temperature began to drop, I started to shiver and could feel my muscles tighten in attempts to keep me warm. Drops of rain fell on my face. I started to feel disappointed and frustrated. The weather forecast had shown no signs of rain! My frustration turned to anger as I realized I had no rain suit and there was not a shelter in sight.
It was at this moment, I took a deep inhale and on my exhale I looked to the horizon to see streaks of sun cascading through the clouds.
I continued to focus on my breathe, relaxing my muscles slowly and gradually, knowing this storm soon shall pass.
Just as in life, when we predict things to go smoothly a sudden storm cloud may come over head and jolt us into a different direction.
At this point, I had a choice....I could have continued to allow my thoughts to alter my mood in a negative way or remind myself that rain storms always end, especially when you can see the sun.
According to Anne Harrington, Professor of Arts and Science at Harvard University, “…ideas about stress, about positive thinking, about the health benefits of techniques like meditation — help to bring a person’s suffering into focus, help it to make sense, and offer ways for a person to have some perceived direct control over their experience.” (2008).
Acknowledging and honoring the bodies responses to our thoughts allows us the ability to change how we physically and mentally respond to stressors in our lives.
Not sure where to start? Learning a new skill can be hard, and putting that skill to use is even harder! I recommend starting with guided relaxation where someone else's voice can help you get into a deeper state of relaxation and give you a chance to benefit from that mind/body connection.
I recommend iCope Audio Relaxation Methods as a place to start! It might not work for you, but don't let that stop you = find a podcast, an app on your phone, a class, anything that will give you the time and space to practice this new skill.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Liza, you can reach her
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call our intake line: 608-709-6972
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]