Wednesday, July 28, 2010
There’s that old saying that goes; “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” Well, LOL, yesterday, at the end of my blog I offered to share with anyone who was interested in the process I used for relaxation during my “me time.” I thought I’d get two, maybe three responses at the most. So many of you were interested in what I did and how I did it that if I tried to answer all your Spark Mails it might be sometime Saturday before they all got answered.
I am going to try to explain what I do and how I do it. If you got an email from me please disregard it. This blog will go into much greater detail.
I use relaxation techniques to center myself and to get rid of the stress or negative feelings I may have about something or someone. I have found when I do this consistently that my emotional eating will dissipate. Different people use this technique for different reasons. I have a close friend who uses it as an opportunity to pray and discern God’s will in his life. Another friend uses it as a visualization tool to see himself doing the things he enjoys doing well. Regardless how you use it I will tell you this:
It’s not magic and it takes an investment of time. It can be frustrating at first but if you stick with it, I have found amazing results especially as it relates to calming and centering.
First get comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting up or lying down, just get comfortable. If you have to adjust during the relaxation don’t worry, the most important thing here is that you are comfortable. It’s self-defeating to try to relax when you are in pain or uncomfortable.
In order to get myself into a state of what’s called “complete physical relaxation” I use a yoga breathing technique. It involves taking a deep breath through your nose and counting “1-2-3-4-5” As you do this you should visualize filling your lungs from the bottom , through your rib cage and then to the top of your lungs. I try to visualize my lungs as a balloon filling up. Once filled up I hold the breath for a count of “1-2-3.” Then I slowly exhale through my mouth, counting “1-2-3-4-5” as I do. It’s in through your nose out through your mouth.
I use a track a friend gave me called Meditation Yoga – Sounds of Nature. I am not sure where you can obtain it but there is music and a person guides you through the relaxation process. If anyone knows how I could share this by uploading or any other process I’d be more than glad to do so.
This part takes the longest to master because as you concentrate on your breathing your body will begin to relax. In the beginning this takes the longest to accomplish. Just be patient. A lot of people give up after a few days because they aren’t seeing immediate results. It usually takes ten days at about ten minutes per day to get yourself totally relaxed.
One you are relaxed you can use this technique to do a number of things. Because I am an emotional eater and my moods, attitudes and feeling affect what I put in my mouth, I use this time to brush away any negative thoughts I might have about myself, other people or situations in my life. I may simply be stressed or over whelmed and I use it to decompress and relax. It does always give me a boost of energy and I often use it before I go to the gym or do my C25K.
Once relaxed, I stay in that state for twenty minutes. Don’t be daunted by this. I have been using this technique off and on for close to five years.
The music I use is as follows and it is available on ITunes:
Quietude by Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai from the album Migration
Winter Walk by David Nevue from the album Overcome
Ocean Shores from the album Ocean Dreams
Another option would be to use Pandora Radio on the internet. It is free and I sometimes use a station called New Age Mix. You can access Pandora Radio at www.pandora.com
Finally, I will see if I can do a video blog incorporating what I wrote about here and walk you through a meditation. I know you all don’t have access to video blogging so any other technological suggestions would be appreciated.
Hope this helped
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I am an emotional eater. A lot of you reading this probably are too. Food is our drug of choice. Anxiety, depression, fear, any gamut of emotions sends us scampering towards a tube of cookie dough and we don’t quit eating until, exhausted and guilty, we sit in our chair, feeling worse than before we indulged. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a self-defeating cycle. It can put up a wall so thick that we simply throw our hands up in disgust and walk away from all our health plans. We are addicted.
I spent yesterday reviewing my last month. What did I do well? Mostly that fell in the exercise category. Where did I slip? That one took a bit longer, LOL.
One thing I have incorporated into my regimen that has suffered recently is “me time.” Some folks may call it meditation or relaxation or creative visualization but regardless, I use it as an opportunity in the middle of my day to disengage from everything. My stressed out time is the middle of the afternoon. It’s the time when anxiety, boredom, weariness and a host of other emotions creep into my mind. To fight them off I eat. When I eat I feel guilty and when I feel guilty I eat more because what’s the use, right?
That’s the time I use for “me time.” This isn’t a planning or a goal setting activity. There is no thought process involved here. I am taking a break. It’s time to let everything good, everything bad and anything else drift away.
I had stopped using this balancing technique for over a month. So yesterday afternoon, I sat down, closed the door and dimmed the lights. I got comfortable, the position doesn’t matter. I know some people who do it lying down and some who do it sitting straight up in a chair. I have play some music that is soothing and relaxing and once, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. I let my body and my mind relax. I concentrate on my breathing. I slowly inhale through my nose, hold my breath for a second and then slowly exhale. The combination of the music and my breathing creates a deep relaxation that restores me.
Remember when you started Spark? Remember how you were asked to be active for ten minutes a day? What’s your activity level currently? I started my “me time” at ten minutes each day. It takes some getting used to just like walking, running or cycling does.
No one teaches us to relax. No one teaches us how to remove negative distractions from our lives. This technique allows me the time to purge those self-defeating and destructive thoughts from my mind. When I open my eyes I often find I have a new surge of energy that carries me through my day.
I was surprised to find that when I opened my eyes yesterday I had been relaxing for well over thirty minutes. It helps me create a much needed balance in my life.
I started this blog by talking about being an emotional eater. As I learn to balance my life I find that I have less of those episodes occurring. I get sloppy sometimes, but I think that’s different. My emotional eating has a lot of sources, LOL, and one of them is lack of balance.
Along with diet, exercise and rest it is important to me in maintaining that balance.
If you are interested in knowing more and what kind of music I listen to and the breathing technique I use send me a Spark Mail and I’ll be glad to share.
So many of you have helped me in so many ways, I am trying to return the favor.
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