1. Parent Yourself. When it gets tough, emotions are high, or if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to talk to yourself as a functioning parent would to a child needing reassurance: “You can do this, you are doing well, you are safe, you do not need their love or approval” etc.
2. Cold Water. When you feel overwhelmed by your feelings, on the verge of loosing your temper or crying, drink a glass of cold water. This re-sets the nervous system and cools the emotions.
3. Mantras. When struggling to keep going with a task, a meeting, or when needing to push yourself mentally, the mantra “I can and I am” is excellent for countering the mind’s negativity. Just keep repeating it over and over and it will drown out the mental voices telling you that you cannot.
4. Exercise. Focussed exercise is an essential part of dealing with the Addictive Personality. This means incorporating exercise into you daily routine such as running, yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong or swimming. Use a mantra to still the mind whilst exercising and this will help you to build self-esteem and to master your mind.
5. The Power of Now. Remember to bring yourself into the present moment. Most of the time you will be in the past, remembering and re-visiting the pain and suffering or madly projecting into the future and feeling the stress and fear from those thoughts. Bring yourself into the present moment and try to stay here. It is a peaceful, calm place. To get here quickly, mentally feel your feet on the floor, move up your legs and into your body. Then ask yourself where you are, what day and time it is. Take a deep breath and really look around. Here, now, all is possible and can be dealt with. Imagine that the pain, suffering and drama is somewhere else
6. Sitali Pranayam. This is a breath technique that cools anger by cooling the liver. It also lowers the blood pressure. It is a good tool for becoming still and calm. There is a clip on my YouTube channel showing you how to do it. 12 breaths is excellent and will leave you feeling peaceful but elevated.
7. Pelvic Floor Exercises. These exercises are important. Male or female, the pelvic floor helps you to hold your soul in your body, to keep you feeling grounded. Feeling grounded is essential to the mastery of the Addictive Personality. Inhale, hold the breath, squeeze the anus, sexual organs and the belly by pulling the internal muscles. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Do this 10 times, twice a day. Or take up Kundalini Yoga, where exercising the pelvic floor muscles is a core practise.
8. The U Breath. This opens the channels either side of the spine and brings peace and centeredness. Sitting comfortably, bring your right hand up and close your right nostril by placing your thumb beneath the right nostril. Inhale long and deep through your left nostril. Hold the breath, then close the left nostril with your index finger of your right hand, remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through the right nostril and hold for 5 seconds. Close the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and exhale through the left nostril. Continue inhaling and exhaling each side with a 5 second hold at the top for 3 minutes. Your eyes are closed and your tongue pulled back and pressed up into the dome of your mouth.
9. Front Platform. Lie on the ground, elbows and forearms like a sphinx’s, body out long. Inhale yourself up onto your elbows and toes only, body very straight. Hold for one minute with breath of fire. This exercise will strengthen all the core abdominal muscles and stimulate the thymus gland in the chest, which is linked to the will. Great for depression, suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem.
10. The Neutral Mind. A glorious and very little visited place where one accepts and allows. The prayer pose will take you straight there; sit for 3 minutes in prayer pose, eyes closed, long, slow, deep breathing. Look on the YouTube channel for more on long deep breathing.
11. Resisting Your Reality. When you feel you are resisting your reality and under stress then ask yourself the question: Can I be the space for this? The question asked creates a space inside that allows one to expand, to make space for whatever is going on and the resistance is then dropped. It is an excellent tool if you cannot sleep or wake up in the night to the mental car crash of thoughts that over stimulate the mind and withhold sleep.
12. Meditation. Learn to meditate. I have 6 DVDs, all available through Amazon, see the link below. All have yoga sets and a great selection of meditations ranging from 3 to 11 minutes long. There is also a wide selection of clips on my YouTube channel.
13. Sleep. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep and sleep taken too late can contribute to depression. Try to be in bed and aiming for sleep by 10pm if you suffer with angst, depression or anxiety.
14. The 3 Circles. Using a piece of A4 paper, make it look like a target, that fills the page, made of 3 rings. The central ring; write inside all things that keep you centred, calm, on the program, feeling positive: 12 step meetings, yoga practice, running, good company etc. You know what you do that works for you. On the middle circle, this is the slippery slope, put the behaviours that trigger you to act out, to loose your way, to feel bad about yourself: this could be an ex partner, time in bad company, pornography, getting angry, lack of sleep, loneliness etc. Again, you know what does not work for you. The outer ring is the consequences: loose my job, loose my relationship, use drugs/alcohol/food, go into depression etc. Fill in the page and then pin it where you will see it so you can help yourself rather than be at the mercy of your mind and your moods.
15. Prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool. If you have never used it, or not gone near it since you were a child then rediscover the power it has to calm the mind. There are some divine and glorious prayers out there: The 3rd step prayer, the Serenity Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, The Saint Francis Prayer. A rotation of all of these before you sleep will silence the mind and bring a calm night. Use the collection if you wake in the night and cannot sleep. The pray is to meditate, to still the mind, to put down the thoughts and to replace their torture with words that can transform and change your reality.
16. A Gratitude List. You can do this on paper or mentally, mentally is great when you are about to sleep as it will neutralise night terrors. The easiest way to do this is to list the things you are grateful for: my health, my family, my house, I am grateful that I learned to….. I feel gratitude for the friendship of…. etc.
17. Therapist. Find a therapist to help you deal with the main issues. If it is anger or fear, depression, money terrors, a memory that will not settle, what ever it is you can see someone for just 6 sessions and be clear about your goal. You do not have to commit to a life of digging out the past. But if you are finding an issue is seriously colouring your reality then take time out to deal with it. A good therapist will furnish you with great life skills and tools.
18. Diet. A good diet is essential. Steer clear of processed foods, eat regularly, keep your sugar intake low and take a vitamin supplement along side omega 3-6-9 which is proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and bi-polar disorders.
19. Breathe. Stop and take a few long, slow, deep breaths. It is amazing how far we can get in our minds, how far away from the current reality we can find ourselves. Long deep breathing brings you back into the present moment, raises the prana, or life force, in the body and the oxygen levels in the blood. It allows you time before you react so that you can respond instead.
20. Seva. Seva is selfless service. It means doing something for others without gain or expectation of gain. It could be giving one day a month to work in a shelter for the homeless, reading to old people in a retirement home, working with a charity, going shopping once a week for the old lady in your apartment building, or doing her gardening once a month. Be creative, etherically and karmically it is one of the wildest things you can ever do for yourself.
21. Ceremony. If you took drugs, over-ate, drank to excess, gambled, used prostitutes or all of the above, then you will be able to recognise that all these acts involved elements of ceremony in the build up. As humans we need ceremony and ritual. Getting clean can seem rather dry at times, so bring ceremony back into your life by lighting incense and a candle before your yoga practice. Chant as you wash and re-hydrate all the vegetables and fruit you have just bought in the supermarket, make a ritual out of a meal, or having a bath. Create an altar that you sit and breathe in front of each morning. Use the act to consciously connect to the universe in whatever form you believe.
22. Laughter…. Raise endorphins, feel good, become present.
23. Acceptance. This is the key to recovery. Allow things to be as they are. It is an art, I know, but persevere, it gets easier.
24. Wah Hey Guru. Use a mantra to still the mind. There are thousands of them out there. You can try Wah Hey Guru which means ecstasy through consciousness, or Sat Nam: truth is my name. All contain words of great power. Walk in rhythm with the repetition of these and you will sublimate the mind, gain peace from the thoughts that never stop. Walk to work repeating Sat Nam, one word with each step. Or try the Mool mantra. It has always been my favourite. http://www.see-q.net/features/moolmantar.html
25. The 12 Steps are an extraordinary tool. If you have never read them, do, if you have never been to a 12 Step meeting go and discover a community based on recovery and acceptance.
I am Carolyn Cowan. YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarolynCowan?feature=mhtm