As an educator, I teach and regularly use the Adventure Skill self-care and regulation activities with children. Why? Because I believe that mindfulness and self-regulation are like motor skills. It takes lots of practice to embody them, especially in a world so high speed and dys-regulated. So, the more kids play and experiment with these activities, one of which is using our imaginations to become “rainbows” or “mountains”, the better able they are to move into that state of being when stressed or wanting to do their best. It’s like mastering anything.
The same use of imagery can work for you. Try it on – imagine being a mountain or a rainbow and notice how it makes you feel inside. How does it shift your mind-body state? If you feel more present, open, relaxed, etc., then let it become your mindfulness practice throughout the day. As you cultivate this nature and imagination inspired “state”, you will also be strengthening your self-awareness, presence, and ability to sustain a positive inner state.
As a Family Constellation facilitator and a student of biodynamic cranial-sacral and somatic counseling therapies, I also regularly support adults in responding to, and staying with, stressful and traumatic imprints with specific self-regulation techniques. The simple tools outlined below are other options you can try as you find ways to better self-care. I share them to help you both better manage the everyday stresses of your daily life and to enrich your ability to embody more presence, compassion, and resilience. When you are pro-active in mindfully self-regulating throughout the day, instead of managing stress, you are enhancing your coherence, positivity, and efficacy. In other words, you feel really good to be around. Others feel seen and heard by you. You have access to your heart intelligence and playful creativity.
You can use any or all of these techniques anywhere, anytime, even while performing a task or interacting with others. Play with them as you drive, do dishes, teach, or participate in meetings. See which ones work for you. Then, set an intention to practice building your ability to be present in your body and in your awareness. You’ll be making new space for the less reactive, more fluid, integrated YOU.
- Feel your feet or sit bones – release your weight down into whatever supports you
- Slow down your inner speed – notice how speedy you are inside and consciously slow it down
- Send your energy into the earth – imagine you are a mountain or a tree – the earth holds you
- Soften your eyes and imagine your eyes and forehead widen apart
- Soften your midbrain and allow the back of your tongue and head to get heavier
- Imagine being a rainbow
- Notice the sensations in your body – name them in a neutral way and be curious – rather than pathologize or make wrong what is happening. Example: I notice that there’s a tightening in my chest that is more in the front than the back, rather than, I’m anxious. Then notice as you meet yourself in a neutral, grounded, spacious way, the sensations will move, dissipate, or even complete.
- Notice how your being slowed down and mindful impacts others way of being and behavior.
- Appreciate yourself. Appreciate others.
- Be grateful for the bigger life forces, whatever they are for you, that support and sustain you.