Useful Tips for Better Daily Living #6 (2008 Newsletter Archive)
In this current issue of ‘Useful Tips for Better Daily Living’, I would like to offer a relaxation strategy that you will hopefully find helpful if you suffer from anxiety or irritability. It is a meditation called ‘Leaves on a Stream’.
This strategy may be particularly useful for those of you who have been affected by the state of the market and the world economic situation. But if that is not the cause of your stress, this relaxation technique will still help.
Leaves on a Stream is a meditation that can take only a few moments to help clear your mind.
When you are experiencing upset feelings such as anxiety, those feelings can be fueled by thoughts.
When you begin to notice thoughts, such as, “I am so stupid.” or “I am a bad person.”, take a moment for yourself and practice this meditation.
Whenever the moment strikes, it can be helpful to sit down, however, it is possible to meditate standing up if necessary (for instance, in the elevator at work).
It may be helpful to close your eyes.
Now, imagine you are sitting or standing in the middle of a stream.
The water is flowing away in front of you.
Notice if there is any sound from the running water.
Notice if there are any trees, etc. on the banks of the stream.
Now see leaves floating down the stream away from you.
They can be any shape, color, or size.
As the negative thoughts come into your mind, be aware of what the thought is, and then place it on a leaf.
Now watch it float away down the stream.
Do this with each thought as you notice it and for as long you like until you feel better.
As you acknowledge each of your thoughts, you do not need to hang on to them. There is no need to become attached to the thought.
Just acknowledge it and then place it on a leaf.
By watching it float away, it loses its hold on you and its intensity.
By paying attention to the here and now by observing one’s thoughts without being critical or judgmental is what many people call Mindfulness.
This term describes observing your thoughts, and by doing so, you are no longer your thoughts. You can notice the thought and make a choice to realize that it is separate from you.
If you find this meditation helpful, it might be useful for you to also investigate other types of mediation, relaxation strategies, or Mindfulness techniques.
Please keep in mind that learning a new skill such as this takes some practice.
Be patient and compassionate towards yourself as much as you can.
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