One of the most challenging symptoms of anxiety and depression, or just managing the chaos of an ordinary day for that matter, are the barrage of thoughts talking and sometimes yelling inside our heads. It may start with an ongoing ‘to do’ list: call so and so, pick up the laundry, change the oil in the car, and on and on. On it’s own, this can be stress inducing, but when anxiety, depression, or anger intensify, so do the thoughts. If you have ever caught yourself berading yourself with statements like: I’m a failure, I’m hopeless, you don’t do anything right, you’re ugly; then this is for you.
The reality is there are several ways to address that harsh voice within who insists on scolding us with a slew of negative beliefs. I work with my own from two directions. One is to take note of some of the core negative beliefs I hold and consciously choose a more acceptable belief that still feels true. You can refer to the previous blog on Tapping to explore how you might strengthen your ability to embody these beliefs.
A second way, and the focus of this blog, is to take our attention out of the brain and our thoughts and into another part of the body. As a Somaticist, I have spent countless hours exploring the ways my thoughts and emotions shift simply based on where, in my body, I place my attention. You may have found certain schools of thought that provide a body map of our emotions pinpointing where we hold anger, sadness, or joy. These provide a good starting point if you are wanting direction, however I encourage my clients to put the map aside and see for yourself. After years of exploring myself and sitting with others, I’ve come to trust in our own unique experiences. I don’t believe that there is one way that emotions are held within our bodies. I do believe that if you’re willing to explore and practice you may be surprised by what you find and you may just quiet that monkey mind of yours, at least for a few minutes.
The following link, Heart Meditation 2, is for a guided meditation into the space of your heart. You can practice this meditation sitting up or lying down. Set yourself up in a supported position you can hold comfortably for about 10 minutes. Pay attention to how you feel as you begin. Note the pace of your thoughts, your emotions, and any sensations that stand out. You may want a journal or notebook to record your experience, noting again how you feel at the end of the meditation. Are you able to drop into the experience of your heart? Note the pace of your thoughts, your emotions, and any sensations that stand out now. Please know that there is no ‘right’ or expected way to feel at the close of this meditation. The intent is that you soften into your body experience and your emotions, and that will likely look different for each of us. It may also change each time you delve into this meditation.
I love to hear your experiences so please report back! What’s the experience in your heart?
If you’d like to delve deeper into this work I have just opened up an extra day and am accepting new clients. You can come to my San Francisco based office or meet via Skype.