*Nic Note: I’m back, Chronic Readers! I hope I was gone just long enough for you to miss me, and not long enough that you’ve forgotten completely who I am. If you need a refresher, please see the About Me page to the left 🙂 Without further ado…
Alternate Titles for Today’s Blog:
Self-Hypnosis and You!
You Too Can Be Awesome-Just Tell Yourself You Are!
Apparently, I am very impressionable.
One of the many projects I am in the midst of is to transfer our home videos from VHS to DVD (I know, I am like, a decade behind most people on this front). It’s been really fun to watch Baby Nic and Co. What’s particularly funny to me is that, as a younger sister, I don’t really have my own personality until I’m nearly 4. For a good amount of time, I am pretty much a robot child bending to my big sister’s will. Sample dialogue, circa my 3rd birthday when I am opening my presents:
Baby Nic: “My very own pretty ballerina doll! It’s just what I’ve always wanted!”
Sissy: “Niki, do you think you might want to share that with me?”
Baby Nic: (handing over the toy that was apparently just what I have always wanted) “Ok.”
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
When I would try to reclaim the toy later, she would calmly and very convincingly say, “You gave that to me, don’t you remember, Niki?”
I lost quite a number of Barbie dolls this way.
Now, as much fun as it would be if this post were a really long anecdote about the dynamic between my big sister and me (and the possibility that she could be a criminal mastermind if she put her mind to it), it’s not really. The point is not that I was a pint-sized accomplice who could be counted on to not spill the beans about the fact that Sissy cut her own bangs and hid the evidence behind the couch, or why I was left suspiciously holding the empty box of cookies in the kitchen. Nope, this is just a lead-in to convince you that for some reason, some part of my brain is hardwired to be really receptive to the power of suggestion.
I’m a big fan of guided mediation. Listening to someone else’s voice gently encouraging me to calm my mind really seems to work for me. The problem is finding a tape (Ok, recording. I call everything a tape. I grew up in the 90s. Old habits die hard.) that I actually want to listen to. I don’t want to just go to the beach to stare at some randomly placed palm tree that is swaying just so in the light breeze.
In fact, I actually don’t like the beach much, because sand is awful and I’m allergic to sunlight. So I’m changing the visual in my head anyway, all the while trying to let my brain follow itself down the rabbit hole of someone else’s making. It’s not exactly relaxing.
What’s an impressionable Chronic girl to do?
Make her own guided meditations, that’s what.
I made the first one a while ago, but when I was on blogging hiatus, I stepped up my game. Armed with my trusty tape recorder (with actual tapes, haha) I have recorded myself reading scripts of my own creation, in the hopes of banishing my anxiety over sitting still for too long (because all my blood flow stagnates and I tend to feel really gross, say, in movie theaters), my laughable spatial awareness issues (Sample line: “I am aware of my own personal space and where I am in space in relation to people, pets, and inanimate objects.”) and any and all problems I can think of (“I am now sitting down to transcribe medical reports. I hear the dictators clearly and transcribe their words correctly.”).
I even play Enya music in the background so that it feels legit.
And, thanks to that impressionable nature that once had me handing over my birthday presents to the carefully worded directions of my older sister, it feels like it’s really working. This may be a stretch, but it feels like maybe because I am the one talking to myself (yes, I realized I just graduated to a new level of crazy in that I am recording myself talking to myself) that the things I am trying to cement into my subconscious might actually be taking root.
Making your own guided meditation is not hard. The only thing you need is some sort of recording device. You could use your iPhone memo recorder, or order an old school tape recorder and some cassettes from Amazon (preferred method of the technically challenged, a.k.a. Me.).
I’ve found it is best to set the scene first. Don’t just jump in with “I am a superhero who is capable of fighting bad guys with just the power of my mind,” because your mind needs to be in a place to internalize the information. I like to start with the typical, “Take a few deep breaths. Direct your attention to your feet. Working your way up, release any tension you feel in your body.”
Make sure to speak slowly. I never realized how fast I talk until I was trying to talk myself into a deeply relaxed state. Give yourself a minute to catch up to your words, so count to 5 or so in your head between sentences.
Then, by all means, dive in. Use positive statements like, “I am comfortable in social situations,” instead of “I don’t freak out in social situations.” For some reason (of which I am sure there are numerous pseudo-intellectual articles on the internet to explain) it just works better.
Keep it on the shorter side- I find myself falling asleep if I am super relaxed for longer than 15 minutes.
When you’re done telling yourself what you need to hear, end by slowly waking yourself up, similarly to how you got yourself calmed down in the first place. Add a few “Inhale. Exhale. Feel yourself coming back to the present moment,” type sentences and you are good to go!
Have you ever tried guided meditation, Chronic readers?
Do you feel like you’ve got an impressionable mind? (If your big sister is currently or was at one point in possession of your favorite childhood birthday presents, you probably do. Welcome to the club!)
What sorts of things would you like in your perfect meditation script?
I’d love to hear from you here in the Comments section or over on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell