Mindfulness meditation? What are you – out of your mind?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2013-03-25 13:39:43 -0500
Started 2010-10-12 18:26:24 -0500


As I make my tour through the posts on Diabetic Connect, I have noticed that I often run into the word ‘stressed.’ Often, I noticed that people are stressed about something, like their numbers or their diet, or both. Other times, they are stressed about issues like relationships.

As you probably know, constant stress can affect us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Who needs that? So… what are you doing for your stress?

Have you tried using relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation?

You’re probably asking: "Don’t we have to get out of our minds, or at least the jumble of thoughts and feelings that we all carry with us, if we are going to have any peace? I can’t sneak away and pretzel-ize myself into a lotus position!" Actually, the benefit of meditation is to learn to be with – and not avoid – what goes on inside our minds as well as what goes on around us, and to be more aware of what’s important.

Meditation actually helps you to calm the inner clutter in your mind – fear, anger, jealousy – so that you can participate more fully in life, with compassion and understanding. With meditation, you train the mind to stop reacting. That can make all the difference in a moment of stress.

Start with a Body Scan. When you find yourself about to become overwhelmed do a mental scan to see what parts of your body you are clenching, like your fists or your jaw. Relax those muscles. This will send a message to your brain that you aren’t mobilizing for a battle and, chances are, you’ll feel some relief. If you can, try to step away for a moment.

Watch Your Breath. Literally. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, start out by simply watching your breath. Soon, you’ll notice yourself breathing more slowly, calmly, and deeply. Count your breaths from one to ten. Then backwards. Then start again.

Don’t Fight Your Noisy Mind. Our minds never stop their activity. Don’t fight yourself! Let’s say you have a memory of something that happened during the day. Don’t push it away, but instead say something like: “Yeah, that guy really got in my way. One (breath in, breath out on each count). Two. Yep, I’m annoyed. Three. Four. I can’t control anyone else’s behavior. Five. Six. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Life is good.”

Your mind may still be bang-banging for action. If you have to return to the source of the stress, remind yourself that you can be in the chaos but you still don’t have to be part of it. Tell your mind to quiet down. After all, meditation is a discipline.

Wake Up! Learn to relax when that urge to control takes over, and you’ll find that there is more to you, and the world, than you ever imagined. You may even feel as if you’ve been sleepwalking.

Any experiences with meditation or other stress reduction techniques? Please share!

28 replies

Kaiyle 2010-10-17 17:56:43 -0500 Report

We are so on the same page with this!!! It is so soothing for me to take a load off of my feet and mind by putting on my favorite, soft music while breathing slowly in and out, visualizing my feet tucked in the warm sands of Hawaii and hearing and seeing the blue waters running melodiously over the white rocks. I can't wait to get back there, but until then, I'll just keep the visual going. Thank you so very much for sharing.

bicker68 2010-10-20 23:49:20 -0500 Report

I will have to try this, My most favorite place is back HOME in Newfoundland Canada, going down to the Bay and walking on the Beach at sunset, or just drive and take in all the Beautiful scenery, it's the most beautiful place in the world it's nickname is The Rock.
I also enjoy writing poetry.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-18 09:25:35 -0500 Report

Fantastic! I can't think of a better visualization! And thank you for letting me know that that this is also working for you.

Pynetree 2010-10-16 11:06:21 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary…thanks for the above post. I had been not utilizing my mind/body connection lately…and needed this reminder to do some measured breathing and positive thoughts to quiet my racing brain and tight shoulders.

Guardianstone 2010-10-13 23:13:51 -0500 Report

Hi Dr Gary;
I'm back . . .
I try visulization using different locations, senarios, and people. Last time I was helping a friend. W e had a cup of tea, pedicure, home made cookies, music (jazz or blues), house cleaning, and cocoa. I hope it worked.
Tea sometimes works. I have tried visualizing dancing, painting, hiking, reading a bedtime story a bubble bath with a glass of wine and some relaxing music.
Each time I try a new vision. If I find something that works, I try it again. Maybe a minor change or two. It keeps the mind busy.
I try sharing a mental vacation with people here. I haven't heard anything from those I have helped.
Is there any problem with this solution?
I hope not.
Guardian stone

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-17 16:30:22 -0500 Report

Hi Guardianstone,

Nice to hear from you! Visualization is a great idea. It's like taking a few minutes to go to beach, have a quick moment of relaxation, and then coming back to the chaos feeling relazed and, who knows, even smiling. It can be also helpful to visualize a memory, maybe a good time with friends or family, what you did, what it was like, how you felt. Embracing that moment and those feelings.

When you are really feeling stressed out, you might try visualizing a calm and relaxing scene while you place your hand over your heart. This is a way to calm yourself down and experience a moment of healing. Have you tried this?

Thanks again for checking in. Please stay in touch!

Guardianstone 2010-10-17 20:40:38 -0500 Report

Dr Gary m' lad;
Happy hearing from you. Yes I have just gotten back from a 'V' trip to Ireland. Scotland will be next, then Stonehinge. Germany looks interesting, and Iceland might be in there. I've seen the Northern lights in Michigan, so an Alaskan V-trip might work. It might not help relaxing, but it can be fun.
My migrane is at a +5. The vacation didn't help, but I liked the trip. Good thing about having movies, you get the feel of other places.
The grand canyon, mount rushmore and the st. louis arch are also on my trip plans.
Take a vacation and have fun.
Guardian stone

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-20 21:50:08 -0500 Report

Sorry to hear that the vacations didn't make the migraine go away. I hope you have been able to find something that does. But glad you are having some fun.

GabbyPA 2010-10-14 12:34:23 -0500 Report

You know, I used to do this for friends of mine. I love to write (as many of you may have guessed) I used to write virtual trips for them, mostly based on many of my travels. I never thought about doing that to relax myself. I always enjoyed doing it. Hmmmm

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-17 16:31:29 -0500 Report

Gabby, this is actually a great idea, especially for someone who has trouble coming up with their own visualization.

GabbyPA 2010-10-18 09:21:39 -0500 Report

Actually, reading a great book does the same thing. Takes you away for a while to a different place. Funny, how so many of us have forgotten how magical a book can be.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-18 09:28:30 -0500 Report

Yes, I am afraid that more and more people are unaware of the benefits of sitting down with a good book. Why not let a writer do the visualizing for you! With a little patience and concentration, it's all there on the page.

Guardianstone 2010-10-13 23:20:31 -0500 Report

I cannot create these special vacations for me and mine. I use old tried and true stories I create for others. It is frustrating to the extreme not to be able to create for my family.
I hope you find answers that help. I'm gonna play poker with the gang. That might work. It has before.
Guardian stone

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-17 16:32:23 -0500 Report

Now, playing poker with the gang might also be a fun visualization when you are feeling stressed. Nothing like having a good time with your friends to calm yourself down!

Guardianstone 2010-10-18 02:00:03 -0500 Report

I once wrote a chapter about a doctor who liked playing cut-throat poker when she got mad. I liked her idea.
Guardian ston

GabbyPA 2010-10-12 20:26:47 -0500 Report

These are great tips. I appreciate them so much. I have been trying to teach myself about my charaka's and learning how to open and close them. I will be attending a class this month on it to get some hands on experience over the book learning I have been doing. I am looking forward to that. I think the thing that I need to do is make the time to have a quite time for myself every single day. I know I feel better when I do these things, but I often let other things in the way.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-13 16:14:02 -0500 Report

Thanks for checking in on this. I would just say: start where you are. Even five minutes a day will give you results. So often, people set really high expectations for themselves and then give up because they can't meet them. No need to make hard work out of relaxing!

bicker68 2010-10-13 21:59:12 -0500 Report

I have problems with my mind racing and not being able to fall asleep for a couple of months now, and my Dr. has started me on an exercise with my hands tapping on my legs oppisite each other.I find as I do this the tapping goes faster and what I was thinking about comes to a peak, and most times than not I can come up with an answer to my problem or it relaxes me enough to fall asleep. I praise my Dr. for giving me this technique to try.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-15 13:36:24 -0500 Report

Hi, it sounds like your doctor maybe using a technique called EMDR, or some variation on that. I have heard more about this technique lately. If it works, than that is great news!

Guardianstone 2010-10-15 02:06:56 -0500 Report

have you tried meditation, visualization, listening to a book on tape/CD, cup of chamomile tea, reading, watching tv, a slice of turkey, or . . . the list goes on.
When I can't sleep I come to this site and read something funny. When something else is needed I try taking a mental vacation.
I hope you find an answer that works for you.
Guardian stone

Shhh. I'm not here, go back to sleep.

bicker68 2010-10-15 22:31:57 -0500 Report

Guardianstone, no I haven't tried any of these but thank you for the different ideas. I will definetly try them, your advice is well taken. Thank you so much.
Take Care and God Bless You,

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-10-15 13:37:30 -0500 Report

HI, great post. Thank you. As you said, it really comes down to finding a technique that works for you. It's not one size fits all. But there are a lot of them out there.

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