Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Feeling Disconnected? Here are 6 Ways to Get Connected and Feel Better About Yourself!

We live our lives disconnected.  We are disconnected from what is going on in our bodies until it is too late and illness makes us pay attention.  We are disconnected from what our brains are up to - as discussed last week, we are running on auto-pilot.  We are disconnected from Spirit - what brings meaning?  What brings faith?  What brings joy?  We don't have time for that in a day!  Not only are we

disconnected from these aspects of Self, but we are disconnected from others.  Oh, we might have a few people around that we are interacting with, but nothing with depth and meaning.  This is NOT good for mental health!

True, some of us have some really good reasons to disconnect.  Those with traumatic histories often disconnect from the body, because bad things have happened there.  Same with the brain - who wants to spend time there when it is so negative?!  No one has time for spirit and what the heck is it anyway?  And, the complications of relationships.....let's not even go there.  It is too much!

Guess what though?  This disconnectedness is ruining your mental and physical health.  Having a good working relationship between the brain and the body is paramount to healthy living.  And, good relationships to others help alot too!  It is all manageable and we can manage deeper more meaningful connections in all aspects of our lives.

1)  Cognitive Behavior Therapy:  Finding meaning is super important to living a happy life.  It's what kept Viktor Frankl alive through the Nazi concentration camps and afterward he created a theory of psychology called Logotherapy described in Man's Search for Meaning.  Do the following exercise on paper or in your head:   Every day ask yourself "What/who made me feel amazed today?"  "What/who am I grateful for?  What/who caused me to feel joy?  These kinds of questions clue us in to spirit and what feeds our souls. After about 30 days of recording, make your daily goal to get more of these fulfilling aspects of life into your daily life. 

2)  Power Pose:  I chose Warrior II pose this week, because it is a powerful pose! Also, the story goes that the position of the arms and the eyes over the forward arm is the bow and arrow aim of the warrior (toward his rival, but let's be peaceful).  We will think of aiming toward another - maybe someone you'd like to connect more deeply with OR aim at some goal for improving your connection to a more meaningful life! 

3)  Relaxation:  Usually, we lie down for relaxation, but you can practice this version sitting as well.  This is a scan of each part of the body and can be started at the top of the head -down OR the feet -up.  Connect to each area of the body directly and purposely to relax.  Or, you can pick a part of the body that bothers you and connect to that space and stay there, not complaining about it or judging it for being so bothersome, but just paying full attention to it with your mind and your breath.  Seems counter-intuitive, but the fight not to feel something contributes to it's higher pain levels.  The same can be done with painful thoughts.

4)  Meditate:  Ahhhhhh, my favorite meditation!  Brings such comfort.  This meditation has books written about it, so the full teaching is simply not going to happen in a paragraph.  The benefit that we are looking for in the practice with this week's intention of connection is to connect to self and then to others with meaning and depth.  There are multiple versions, I am linking one here for you.  

5)  Breathe:  The breath is your ticket to controlling the nervous system.  It is your 
way of turning on the para-sympathetic nervous system and getting your sympathetic nervous system turned down.  We will talk more about these in the future, but for now, make it your goal to practice this full breath from the belly to collar bones twice a day (minimum) for 4 rounds.  It takes 2 minutes - seriously, you have 2 minutes!

6)  Chant:  This chant can be said out loud or silently in your head.  For the silent version, you will combine it with your breath.  On the inhale in your head, say "Ham (h-ahh-mm)" and on the exhale say "Sa (s-ahh)".  For the out loud version, take a full breath in and say "Hahhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmm-Saahhhhhhhhh."  Repeat 3-4 times or more.  This is a mantra for deep reverence toward and connection with Self.

Take time for this list of 6 every day, if you can or just one of the 6 - it can take you 2 minutes or more dependning on what you choose to commit to and have time for.  All of these practices are changing the relationship you have going on between your brain and your body for the better!

Contact me with comments or questions or to join a class or schedule a private session at tammysytsma@circleofstoneswellness.com

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