Can you remember the first time you did The Plank? How did it feel?
- Disbelief you could hold it for more than a few seconds?
- Your abdominals working the hardest they’d ever done in their life!?
- A deep and profound sense of relaxation as you collapsed on the floor afterwards?
It’s a tough exercise, but these days I find they’re much easier (though I wouldn’t quite describe them as a pleasure!)
Getting your Plank from feeling ‘it’s hard‘ to ‘it’s do-able‘ makes use of a really neat way your body works. It loves repetition! When you repeat the same movement over and over again your muscles get stronger and become more skilful. For your Plank that’s a good thing.
Think of your mind as a muscle.
Think of your mind as a muscle and swap the action of holding a Plank for the action of worrying.
- The more you repeat the action of being worried, the more easily you fall into that worried thought pattern again and again.
- You become a strong and skilful worrier!!!!
I’ve had a good number of acupuncture patients over the years who tell me “I’m a worrier”, and feel like there’s nothing they can do about it. But you’re not stuck! You’re not stuck as a worrier for the rest of your life. You can change.
Training your ‘mind-muscle’
Use meditation to train your mind and introduce it to a different way of thinking.
- Instead of being revved up and agitated, experience what it feels like to be calm and peaceful.
In those quiet moments insights will pop in.
- You’ll get new ideas and perspectives on the things that are plaguing you.
Once you have those, you’ll change from being stuck in a worry into moving forward and taking action. You’ll kick that worry into oblivion!
Here’s how it works. By doing meditation regularly;
- You become skilful and strong at calming your mind; your mindfulness strengthens.
- Worried thoughts are quickly recognised as they bubble up, but you can confidently squash them.
- Reversing your mind set from worried to calm is easier and more effective.
Keeping worry in proportion – a case study
2015 was a tough year as from Christmas I knew it would be the last one of my father’s life. Thinking about my Dad made me worry a lot.
- How I could support him?
- How well I would be able to support my mum and my sister?
- I was fearful too of how I would be in myself after he died.
Meditation gave me the strength I needed.
Meditation gave me the strength I needed to ‘be with’ the worries I had. I didn’t want to run away from them with the risk they bite me later. Meditation allowed me to:
- ‘Look’ at my worry, fear and anxiety.
- Acknowledge it was there.
- Get comfortable with crying (if I needed to) and allow my worries to wash away.
After each meditation and what was in effect a ‘mini-grieving’ session, I felt like my worries had less power over me. Less sense of overwhelm and more ability to shrink the worries down into something easily manageable.
I could still function, smile and have a good day.
I could still function, smile and have a good day afterward. Going through these ‘mini-griefs’ was just like doing a physical workout programme. By really working my ‘mind-muscle’, it rebuilt to become stronger. Then when my Dad actually passed away, I was able to cope much better than I’d feared.
Help for you
A very helpful meditation to do is the Nine Breaths. This involves conscious slow breathing and triggers your parasympathetic nervous system to calm you down. I started using this as part of my meditation before Dad died and I still use it today because it’s so good. Nine Breaths in a FREE video and an optional PDF and you can download it here
For further reading about Mindfulness