Many people envision meditation as 30 minutes of quiet inner reflection. They think that it is a practice only for those disciplined folks who like self-torture. I say NO, not so! Meditations are used frequently in counseling and they basically consist of sitting quietly for just ONE minute to regroup, relax, or "center".
Before I started using meditation in my office, I was so repelled by the idea. In my 20's I had done 30-minute meditations where I focused on a dot. No fun at all. My monkey-squirrel brain had to refocus 1000 times. Why would I want to sit quietly and notice that? This type of meditation is not what I am talking about here.
The technique I am discussing starts with a SIMPLE daily practice and it is short and to the point-- no long meditations where you take yourself so seriously. I have a squirrel-brain, which means my mind is everywhere. It does not stop. I think lots of people have a mind like mine. So basically the minute I sit quietly, I think of my list of tasks or "must-dos" for the day... or the feelings in my body. This is a normal response. So now we can view ourselves as being more normal, whatever that means.
Reasons For Meditations
1. To Center and Relax
Meditation can help people access their wise minds and thus make choices that are thought out and not reactionary. Basically, DBT Wise Mind exercises help you to access what is best for you.
So many human actions are reactionary, (emotional) choices. Like saying mean things to a loved one, and then your loved one saying hurtful things back, (which neither one of you truly mean), or having emotional moods dictate your actions for the day which creates more of those reactionary feelings. In these examples mediation helps individuals separate from these emotional mind choices so they can make wise mind choices.
2. To Compartmentalize Feelings, Memories, and Disturbing Thoughts
I encourage training your brain to compartmentalize overwhelming feelings, memories, or thoughts that are disturbing, via use of (EMDR container and Safe State).
This happens when trauma or symptoms of trauma dominates your emotions, mind, and thinking. Compartmentalizing teaches individuals to manage these responses and to allow your body to relax.
3. To Train Your Body to Relax with Ease
So many mental health symptoms are intensified by stress, therefore, learning to manage stress lessens mental health symptoms.
This trains your body that it is safe to relax and builds confidence that you can manage your symptoms.
4. Studies Show that Mindfulness Changes Your Brain
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that is practical and useful. At least one quarter of the skills in DBT concentrates on mindfulness because of its practical application and the successful results of managing emotions with this type of practice.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Of course learning takes time. You have to practice meditation like you would any skill; repeatedly. EMDR says one should practice it nine times a day! Yes you heard me right... it may seem extreme, but nine times a day will increase learning ideally.
I say practice three times a day to become an expert at calming yourself down!
You may think that this seems too simple. When considering severe symptoms this is just the beginning of your road to healing. This is where we begin your journey back to yourself. Once this is established, other therapeutic techniques are used to deepen your calming state. Therapists have so many tricks up their sleeves.
Please remember to laugh as much as you can, even when meditating. These are dark times and laughter increases happiness "hormones" in your body and also help you RELAX.