Recently I was listening to an audiobook about personal transformation, and the author prescribed a meditation routine with 8 parts. You’re supposed to spend a week mastering the first step, then add a few steps when your proficient, and so forth. The idea being to chunk it all into one fluid motion that you don’t have to think about. The same idea applies here.
For a long time I’ve worried myself about bullshit. Relentless testing triggers that occur throughout the day, that put you in your head and on the back foot, often questioning your own worth. I might go into what such things mean but The truth is don’t know, and rationalising about them gets you nowhere except a downward spiral. So I devised this routine as a way of regaining emotional self-control and poise.
Interestingly I’ve found a lot of the things that are effective don’t involve tussling with the perpetrator via intention. Trust me. I think what’s best practise is basically what psychologists teach nowadays.
There are five steps partly because it’s pleasant to be able to count them off your fingers. Mostly though it’s because it’s enough to be holistic without going overboard.
So here is my gift to you, a way of thriving in spite of triggering people in situations that you shouldn’t remove yourself from. The lotus technique. By the way it’s called lotus because it allows you to be like a clean lotus flower in an environment of mud and dirt. Poise, presence and intention are characteristics of this routine.
1. Muscle relaxation and acceptance of what is
2. Mindful attention of one breath
3. Think something helpful (could be an affirmation, positive reframe, objectivisation, thought challenging etc)
4. Do with your body or actions how it would be if you felt how you would like (e.g. smile, stop fidgeting, sit up straight, make eye contact)
5. Realign with your values
I’ve been to a psychologist for 12 weeks and this pretty well runs the gamut of what they teach for dealing with depression and anxiety. So what I predict for you if you start doing this is strengthening these neural networks and thereby increasing your overall well-being.
The more you do it the easier it will get. Neutrons that fire together wire together. Soon you’ll be unconsciously relaxing your muscles, being present, acting confidently, thinking right and being aligned with your values. The hardest part is step 3 and pretty soon you’ll have memorised thought patterns for dealing with common situations so that will become easy.
The beauty of having muscle relaxation as the first step is that it’s easy and it itself acts as an anchor. Rather than, say, tapping your fingers twice on your leg. Your body will know what to do when you release tension like that in response to something.