Monday, November 15, 2010
Our thoughts create vibrations of energy within the body which the body immediately responds to. The energy of our thoughts then manifests from the inner universe of our bodies out into the greater physical world around us. In essence, we are what we think.
Consider sitting at home watching a very scary movie on TV. The things we watch on TV create thoughts that gear the body up into fight-or-flight mode, but we’re not really threatened. We’re sitting there safe and comfortable in the living room, where our thoughts alone are creating the dramatic change in our body chemistry, and causing the fearful response.
Our bodies react to our thoughts in this way throughout every moment of our lives. Worry or fear-based thoughts trigger a stress reaction in the body which can have long-lasting effects on our health and well-being. Over time these effects can become chronic.
In the same way, we can use our thoughts to trigger a relaxation response in the body. Our thoughts can actually be a vehicle for health and healing, and for enhancing our quality of life.
One very effective way to use our thoughts to positively affect our bodies is through visualization. When we make a conscious choice to hold in mind thoughts that are peaceful, grateful, joyful, or whatever we want to have in that moment, our bodies respond automatically. When we can add a picture in our imagination to our thinking, the effect on the body is enhanced.
A simple visualization technique is as follows:
1. Sit quietly with eyes closed and begin to focus on your breathing. Take a few minutes to allow your breathing to become comfortable, deep and regular.
2. In your mind’s eye, begin to visualize yourself in a place that is very peaceful and relaxing. It can be a place that you have been before, or some place that you would like to visit someday.
3. See this place in your mind’s eye as if you are there, filling in all of the details that would make it even more relaxing and enjoyable. Notice what is under your feet and above your head, and all around you.
4. Allow your senses to take part, noticing any sounds or smells that are there, or the feel of the wind blowing across your skin if you are outside.
5. Stay there in your mind’s eye for as long as is comfortable, and then open your eyes feeling at peace.
I teach this much-used technique in the stress management class that I lead at work, and also use it myself. Yesterday, as I sat for a time visualizing myself sitting on the shore of a small mountain lake where we backpack in the summer, I found my body responding to the incredibly peaceful feelings I have when we go there.
We are what we think, and we can use the powerful connection between mind and body to create peace in any moment.
May this tool be a blessing. . .