A few months ago, the world changed. Taking a break from my writing, I captured a precious moment outside my window. With all the global fear and confusion, I felt a longing to stay in that moment. Here is that moment, and the poem that it inspired.
Can I Stay Here?
Time stood still; I was held in a bubble of joy.
Through a window, I watched our feathered friends survive.
All thought slipped away.
I became part of this simple act of nature – being.
For a few priceless moments, the world changed.
I lived with flowers, seeds, water, birds – life.
Precious moments, no threat, no fear.
In those exquisite moments, I experienced pure being,
no threat, no fear, no pandemic.
Can I stay here? Can I just Be?
Hi there! As a former practising qualified psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I invite you to experience the calming techniques on this recorded session. I am sure these techniques will help relieve the stress and tension of our times. They certainly helped so many of my past clients, and now you too can benefit from an hour or two of calmness and yes, serenity, as you listen to them.
The more you practise these techniques, the more you will relax in any trying situation. I will offer more techniques on this page in the coming weeks. They will help you to deeply relax at any time.
The Recorded Session
Please take some time to visit my website, where you will find a gallery of my art and photos, contact details, and details about the many books I have written.
Facing the threat of the Coronna Virus we find ways to overcome fear and stress. Home isolation and social distancing increase the trauma for us all, but courageous people are fighting back in so many ways.
I am so glad so many found support and inspiration from these sessions of calmness and serenity.
The first blog post in this series explained the importance of correct dynamic breathing. It also took us through the proper breathing techniques for the health of the mind and body.
The second blog post concentrated on Awareness, which involved a short pleasant daydream. The reverie helped you become aware of your body and accept its sensations without judgment.
Now Session 3: RELAXATION
We have practiced the first two Pillars of the Breath and Awareness and can now enjoy taking control.
There is a simple way to peace and calmness in your life. In these traumatic times, you can overcome the fear and stress. and also help lessen a dear relative’s or friend’s fear and anxiety.
First, let’s think about the word ’Relax.’ It’s all very well someone telling you to relax, but the big question is, ‘how?’. ‘How do I relax?’ What techniques can I use to become – relaxed? An easy way is to replace the word ‘relax’ with ‘loosen.’ The mind will readily accept that latter word.
Find a quiet time and place; maybe your loved ones will join you in this exercise. If not, find some small space. We live in a time of lockdown, so space can be sparse with a family around you. I can speak from experience as until eleven years of age I lived up in a one-bedroom flat with my parents, sister, and a lodger. So I know how precious space can be. So let us begin the journey to peace and serenity.
Once you are in your quiet space, close your eyes, and breathe deeply using the belly breath. Let all extraneous noises just fade away. Think of nothing but your Internal Dialogue, spoken within you not out loud. By the way, when you want to move, do so, don’t question it.
Once comfortably settled, breathe in using the belly muscles, and as you breathe out, say to yourself inwardly not out loud. ‘I am now loosening the muscles in my scalp. I am calm – relaxed – confident. Here you can now understand the word ‘relax.’ Now bring your attention to your forehead. Say the words inwardly, ‘I am now loosening the muscles of my forehead. I am calm – relaxed – confident. Let your thoughts drift down to your eyebrows, your eyes. On the out-breath say, ‘I am now loosening the muscles of my eyes. My eyes are relaxed. I am calm – relaxed – confident. Remember to breathe in through the belly and on the out-breath. Now loosen your cheeks, say to yourself inwardly, ‘I am now loosening the muscles of my cheeks. I am calm – relaxed – confident.’ Now Let your mouth open slightly, letting your lower jaw drop loosening your chewing muscles. Say inwardly, ‘I am calm – relaxed – confident.’
Speak to the various parts of your body in the same way. the shoulders, upper arms … elbows … forearms … wrists … hands. Be aware of your fingertips and loosen them, feel a sensitive pulsation under the skin. Do this for the rest of your body, your chest … diaphragm … belly. Be aware of the gentle rise and fall of your belly with your breathing. Now bring your attention to your buttocks … upper thighs … calves, ankles … feet right down to your toes. Do keep instructing your body using the repeat the words ‘I am calm – relaxed – confident after each section of your body. You are taking control of your body and your mind as you ‘loosen’ the muscles and instruct your mind with your Inner Dialogue.
Now bring your attention back to your spine and loosen up all the muscles in your back using the same methods.
Again, always remember to repeat the words, ‘I am calm – relaxed – confident.’
Now you have reached a state of calm and peacefulness, we can repeat our visualization exercise, used in the two former sessions. Imagine a scene that is pleasant to you, maybe the forest suggested in the photo above. Imagine you are entering the forest, see the sun dappling the path, feel the warmth of the air on your cheeks. If you wish, look up as you become aware of birds singing in the branches above you. See the vibrant color of their feathers.
In the distance, there is a quiet glade. You see a log, a comfortable place to sit in the sun. Become aware of the quietness of the forest; feel you are a part of that peace and serenity.
If you fall into a slight slumber, that’s okay, enjoy it, as you will awake to feel refreshed and alert yet calm and serene.
I hope you enjoyed this Third Pillar – ‘Relaxation’ Here you may cease judging as you become a parent to your mind and body. You can begin to love yourself as you experience a depth of calm and confidence through using your own mind and body, your Self. As this happens, so that love flows out to others without judgement.
Do practice. Years ago, I needed to find peace within myself. These techniques worked for me. The Fourth Pillar, dealing with ‘Positive Thinking’ – ‘Releasing the Negativity’ is coming soon. If you liked this post, please visit my website. Love, Katy
Some of you wanted to know a little more about this article on awareness, so I have added a few points for you. I am so glad you are so interested in the information given here.
In these traumatic times, we can greatly reduce our stress as we mold our minds and bodies. We can do this with our breath, dynamic action, positive thinking, and relaxation. You may well think this is easy to say, but with the right exercises it is very possible, and such methods have changed my own life. You can help yourself and those you love to overcome fear and stress, and perhaps, hopefully, experience some joy and happiness in these grim times.
In my last blog post, we covered the correct BREATHING for anxiety relief. This exercise, which can be used in conjunction with the first article, covers AWARENESS. To be aware of our bodies is to have a sense of a solid base from which we face the world.
It is vital to breathe through your nose during this exercise. This way of inhaling is important to our wellbeing; mentally, and physically. You will feel refreshed, and will not suffer the dryness associated with mouth breathing.
It is better for you to do this lying down on a bed, comfortable couch, or a recliner. You should not attempt this standing up. As you do this exercise, be aware of your breathing, but don’t force it. Just let it happen naturally.
This exercise is performed preferably with your eyes closed. Once in a comfortable position and using the belly breath, let your mind pass to the skin and muscles of your forehead. Be aware of and become interested in any sensations in the skin. But, don’t analyze – don’t judge. Just let them happen.Maybe you have never been too conscious of the sensations on the surface of your skin before – how it works, quietly interacting with your brain, sending vital messages crucial to your wellbeing.
Allow your mind to flow to the muscles beneath the skin. What are the feelings? Again, just observe them, don’t judge. In this pleasant reverie – or ‘daydreaming’ state – let your mind drift to your eyelids. What are the sensations in the skin of your cheeks, your chin, the neck, your shoulders? Again, without judgment, feel the sensations in the surface of the skin, then the muscles. You should begin to relax and be aware of your very being.
Let your mind gradually drift down to all the parts of your body, right down to your toes. In this pleasant ‘daydream’, you may slip into a state between consciousness and sleep. This is known as the Alpha state, physically, mentally, and emotionally relaxed.
Now visualize a pleasant place; one that is attractive to you. Or perhaps you could visualize yourself achieving something important in your life, or even a treasured memory. At the same time, always be aware of positive thoughts and your breathing.
As you do this exercise, your anxiety and stress should diminish. Do practice this regularly, setting aside quiet time, or when you are feeling anxious or fearful. It may take time to master this technique but the benefits are worth the effort.
I hope you find this awareness exercise useful and pleasant.
Now you can practice for the next article, the basic complete relaxation. This will help you in your journey to overcoming fear and stress.
If you want to find out more about me and my work, then visit the Katy Walters Website. Please keep yourself safe. Love, Katy
Understandably, there is much fear and anxiety suffered due to the terrible Coronavirus spreading across the globe. The threat is real and you should respect all safety precautions. However, the fear and anxiety can be controlled if not fully eradicated.
Here is an easy breathing exercise to help you through this time of fear and anxiety. First, it is okay to be anxious. I was, and still am at times, but I managed to deal with it using techniques from my many years as a psychotherapist.
Feelings of fear and anxiety can sometimes be lifesaving. They are nature’s way of alerting us to act physically and mentally to real and perceived threats. However, we can use techniques to overcome the fear, feel calm, and still act in a way appropriate to the threat – in this case the virus that is impacting our lives in so many ways.
You, your partner, family and friends can start using these techniques today. kids especially love it. Practice with them, and watch them reap the benefits.
Ideally, you should practice when lying down, but even by sitting in a comfortable place you can achieve beneficial results. Use the floor, bed, or couch. Once settled and relaxed, rest your hands lightly over your belly – or ‘six-pack’ for those with more lean and muscular physiques. Your hands will serve as a check as to whether you have taken the full breath correctly.
Many people have got into the habit of breathing air into the upper chest then unconsciously tightening the chest muscles. Wrong! Just like these exclamation marks, this heightens anxiety!
Instead, breathe deeply through your nostrils, not your mouth, and take the breath through your chest and as if down into your belly. On the full breath (see diagram below) you will feel your belly rise beneath your hands. Gently push your hands up. You will feel the sides of your bottom ribs expand. This will prove to you have made the full correct breath.
Next, gently breathe out from the belly up. Don’t collapse your chest; just allow the breath to come up from your belly, up into the chest, along the throat, and out through your nostrils. Repeat, but never strain.
This form of breathing is calming and works wonders for your mind and body. You may have to practice a few times, but you will benefit greatly once you’ve mastered it.
Do this gently. Do not hold your breath or strain. People with respiratory problems or hypertension should be particularly careful. Also, do not try this whilst standing since the relaxation may lead to a fall.
This style of breathing will come naturally with a little practice and help lower and control your blood pressure. The rewards of correct breathing are remarkable, and can reduce anxiety, aid digestion and bowel movement, and sometimes improve memory function.
I hope you find this simple breathing exercise useful. Over the coming weeks, I will post more professional advice on how to cope with the stress of this troubling time. If you want to find out more about me and my work, then visit the Katy Walters Website. Please keep yourself safe.