Learning to Relax: The Art of Managing your Emotional State

lotus blossom on lake
One of the first things we need to realize when working to change conditioned tendencies and habits of any kind, is that we don’t have to ‘stop’ something, but rather begin ‘doing’ something else. So to say things like “stop stressing out”, “quit worrying”, or “just relax”, don’t mean anything in the truest sense, because we’re not telling them “how” to do it, or “what” to do instead. Just as you have to learn how to quit thinking in terms of what you ‘don’t want’, and focus on what you ‘do want’ instead, when changing any behavior or practice, we simply direct our attention into a different activity and concentrate on doing it, knowing that in doing so, we’ll give ourselves a new behavior to do in place of the behavior we’re eliminating. All creation and transformation begins by learning to control and direct our attention into what we want to do, rather than what we don’t. We don’t ever quit habits, but rather transform them into new habits.

 
The first component to learning how to systematically relax your body is by learning to breathe correctly. While this idea has a funny sound to it, because it’s something we all do naturally and therefore are hardly ever instructed on ‘how’ to do it, comes by becoming aware of the power of our breathing, and the relationship it has with all other mental, emotional, and physical functions of our mind-body system. Just by focusing our attention on our breathing, turns our attention inwards and we become centered in our body. By first taking a couple of deep breaths, regulates our breathing, which can then be allowed to fall into a smooth and consistent rhythm. By breathing deeply, extending into the abdomen, we influence all major body systems with the same rhythmic motion, synchronizing them. When we inhale deeply, then pause in a slight hesitation, before exhaling, then slightly hesitating again before drawing in our next breath, prevents us from hyperventilating, and also introduces a form of timing, that calms the mind and relaxes the whole body by way of the same double count. Draw in, relax, release, and relax.

 
You’ll notice that just by regulating your breathing in a conscious way, simultaneously calms your mind, releases emotional tension held in the body, and slows your heart rate down. As your heart rates drops to a relaxed state, your blood pressure drops with it, and more tension is released. If your mind starts drifting away from your breathing, simply redirect your attention back into the rhythm of your breath and become present once again in your body. As you continue breathing in a relaxed pace, bring your attention to how different parts of your body feels. Get a good sense of anyplace in your body that your holding tension of some kind.

sunrays

Then, become aware of your feet, place your attention on your feet, and set the intention to relax them, and gently, but firmly tell them to relax. Feel them relax. Tell yourself, my feet are relaxed. Then become aware of your calves, and mentally direct your calves to relax. Repeat the same process to relax your lower legs. Then, repeating this process move systematically through your thighs, hips, abdomen, lower back, up your spine to your shoulders, into your chest, yours arms, shoulders and neck, up the back of your head, your ears, jaw, face and eyes. Systematically using your mind to relax your whole body. If you notice at any point that some part of your body already relaxed is starting to tense back up, simply stop and relax that part again, then pick up where you left off. Once your whole body is relaxed, just take a moment to notice how it feels. Be present with the feeling of your body, and sense yourself in a fully relaxed state.

 
Allow yourself to notice that as your body relaxes, so does your mind. Your mind is in sync with your body. They share the same feeling state. You feel a distinct calmness and inner peace throughout your entire being, and just allow yourself to notice . . . how good it feels . . . to relax. Give your full attention to this feeling of inner peace, and relish in it for a bit. Then, move your attention outward, expanding into your peripheral while staying centered in your body, and simply ‘feel’ everything around you. Notice how it feels to be there, to be present “in it” and a part “of it”. Notice the things around you, while refraining from “thinking about them”, and instead simply notice how they feel as you give them your attention and how that feeling resonates in your body.

 
Notice that when you calm your obsessive thinking, and focus on how it feels to be present with life, that time seems to stand still, your awareness expands out away from you, and you become intimately part of the space around you. When you’re no longer focused on listening to your own thoughts, and blend into the silence outside of you, you begin realizing that there’s a whole reality going on, that, for the most part, you’re completely unaware of, because you normally exist primarily in the reality produced by your own thinking and imagining mind. And while you hear the sounds around you, which are outside of you, you simultaneously feel the pulsation of your own heartbeat and feel an inner silence that brings a strange feeling of contentment and inner peace. Content . . . to just BE.

 
As you continue to practice this, starting with a couple of times a day, you’ll begin noticing that you not only feel better and have more energy (tension requires a lot of energy to maintain), and that you can concentrate deeper and for longer periods of time, but that you aren’t experiencing “negative” emotions nearly as often. This is because most emotions, particularly negative ones, form tension in your body. Notice that whenever you experience strong emotions, your whole body tenses up, with distinct concentrations of tension and strong sensations in particular parts of your body. You can work to control and regulate your emotional states just by learning to keep your body in a relaxed state. By managing your physical state, you simultaneously manage your emotional state to be equivalent, and you also manage your thoughts.


Notice, that when you feel relaxed, you have a tendency to feel positive (or neutral) emotionally, and your thoughts which are normally produced by others, environmental influences, and your emotional states, slow down, become relaxed and take on a somewhat pleasant quality. Also allow yourself to notice that some emotions actually produce a relaxed state, specifically feelings of love, beauty and grief. So as you begin releasing tension from your body, and develop the ability to maintain a relaxed state consistently, you begin naturally experiencing more pleasant emotions and the type of thoughts that go with them.

 
Start off doing this practice for short periods of between 5 and 15 minutes, once or twice a day, and begin using it to go to sleep at night. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the quicker you can enter the full state of relaxation. By practicing for 4 to 6 weeks, a couple of times a day, it’ll become natural to you and you’ll be able to induce the state at will in an instant fashion. The more you do it, and the easier it gets, you may notice that you start extending the length of time naturally (relaxing feels good). Do whatever comes natural that you’re comfortable with doing. Once you’ve been doing it for awhile, and realize how good it feels, you’ll start doing it more often. You’ll begin using it like a tool for “self-management” anytime you feel stressed, anxious, or having a strong emotional event of some sort. The more present and relaxed you become in your life, the healthier and happier you’ll be in the most general sense.
Dr. Linda Gadbois

Integrative Mind-Body Medicine

Spiritual Development

Transformational Coaching

About the author:
Dr. Linda is a Spiritual Scientist and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
To inquire, click here

Creating Good Health is not Rocket Science – “The Art of a Healthy Diet”

It’s interesting that the idea of creating good health or being healthy is often perceived as difficult to do. This is probably due largely to the fact that much of our food supply is artificial, processed and loaded with unnatural chemicals, or is a strategic composition of products designed to be highly addictive and of course, taste good. Other programs approach healthy eating as the need to be a nutritional expert or involve elaborate tables for “calorie counting” and measuring fat content, gauging everything by a number system of some sort that makes the whole process tedious and cumbersome. Along with this dilemma, supplements presented as the answer to poor eating habits, are largely synthetic, and usually only abstract one chemical from a whole organism as a vitamin or nutrient, and for the most part, not valuable to our actual health outside of the placebo affect, and are thought, like all synthetic chemicals to cause cancer with prolonged use. This dietary nightmare tends to not only create poor conditions in the body, but also mental and emotional depression that’s low-grade and chronic in nature, and because people are accustomed to it and think of it as ‘normal’, goes unrecognized. Yet, creating good health can be accomplished by simply following a few basic principles.

 
These health promoting principles deal with whole ideas instead of fragmented ones and should be implemented in stages as small yet consistent steps with reasonable time frames allotted to each stage. Trying to do too much at once, causing a feeling of deprivation, withdrawal, and suffering, will only act to sabotage the overall goal, or simply replace toxic material chemistry with emotional chemistry which produces an equivalent affect. Also, anytime you’re “quitting something”, especially something you really like and are used to, still set reasonable guidelines for when you can have it that reduce it to only an occasional event. Usually, what actually makes a product bad is the frequency of consumption, and anything only eaten occasionally probably isn’t going to hurt you or produce a pronounced affect. Being extreme in any area should always be avoided and a sense of moderation employed instead. You don’t want to take the attitude of correcting one imbalance by producing another.
There are three basic natural substances that are addictive by their very nature because they’re stimulants, and should be recognized as such.

These three products are:

Sugar (or artificial sweeteners)

• Salt – sodium

• Fats (of any kind)

 

All of these derived from natural sources and consumed in moderation can be healthy for the body and serve to promote overall health. Sugar obtained naturally from fruits and vegetables that the body converts to glucose, unless you have diabetes or a health condition where all sugar intake has got to be monitored, is probably going to be fine. The energy obtained from natural, plant based foods, gives you the same sugar boost without the crash. Salt, again, is actually a necessary mineral, is important for thyroid health, promotes alkalinity in the body, and is only harmful because the modern diet of highly processed foods uses gross amounts of it not only as a flavor enhancer and preservative but also ‘because’ it’s addictive. Just eliminating processed foods and minimizing the use of table salt will probably remedy and restore balance to your system in regards to salt intake.

 
Fats are a bit trickier, because we have “good” fats and “bad” fats, but as a general rule of thumb, stay away from any foods that are cooked in ‘hot oils’, which are extremely carcinogenic and known to cause cancer. As a general rule, pick oils that remain liquid at room (ambient) or cold temperatures. Eliminate all forms of margarine which is a synthetic product, and if you need to continue using a similar product, use unsalted ‘real’ butter instead, and only occasionally. If you choose to eat animals, reduce consumption to one serving a day, approximately the size of your fist. Cheese, which is the highest cholesterol food there is, like milk and all dairy (comes from cows), causes mucous and congestion in the body, which is never good. So again, if you don’t eliminate dairy, definitely reduce your intake.

 
Other chemical additives, such as MSG, aspartame, corn syrup, along with numerous dyes, flavor enhancers, and preservatives, none of which are natural or good for you, can be eliminated for the most part by eliminating processed foods, which are loaded with them. Processed foods are not only boxed, instant powders, and prepared foods, but also any canned, frozen or packaged foods which are processed as a preparation and have chemical additives of various sorts. When considering packaged foods, always read the ingredients to see what’s in it. Always avoid any food that has a lot of ingredients as chemical additives (you don’t know what they are for sure) or that’s fortified with nutritional additives. The reason foods are fortified is because the nutrition normally found in that type of food has been destroyed through the processing and is enriched with vitamins that are synthetic (chemical) versions that your body won’t be able to properly assimilate.

Fruits and Vegetables
Also, anytime you’re choosing to eliminate one thing or a food group, you need to also decide what you’re going to replace it with. Work by the basic idea that all habits are not “stopped” they’re simply transformed from unhealthy to healthy habits. The adage that “nature abhors a vacuum”, means, that anytime you create a “void” something will automatically be drawn into that void, and knowing this and working with principles of Nature instead of against them, we want to “decide” what’s drawn in that’s replacing whatever we’re removing. By deciding ahead of time what you’re going to replace items with, the “on the spot decisions” are easy, pre-calculated and immediate. Ease is a key feature to change!

 
To form your initial plan, start with primary ideas, and implement them one at a time (unless giving up something is easy), and as a good rule of thumb, allow at least forty days for each step before implementing the next. It takes approximately 40 days of consistency to transform old habits and establish new behaviors that become natural and automatic. After approximately six weeks of doing something, it becomes natural and no longer requires any kind of effort or actual decision making process.
In selecting the items and behaviors we’ll look at transforming, we’ll naturally start with the worst ones, and work our way down. If any of these areas seem like a huge change (you eat them a lot), then break the area itself down into two or three groups that will make the transition gradual.

 

These are the areas we’ll start with:
• Soda pop – any carbonated sugary (processed) drink. The carbonation is as bad if not worse than the sugar content and is known to cause bone-thinning as osteoporosis. While water is always the best option, wean yourself off high sugar drinks.

 
• Deep-fried foods, or any food cooked in hot-oils. Any kind of oil heated is extremely carcinogenic and creates a ton of free radicals, which are detrimental to your health causing general deterioration and cancers.

 
• Sweets, candy, desserts, ice-cream, and artificially flavored foods. Sugars not only cause weight gain, but also bind to nutrients and carry them out of the body, causing nutritional deficiency.

 
• Processed foods – most fast food. These are laced with chemicals and the processing strips them of any real nutritional value. The body can’t assimilate synthetic foods. Many of the chemicals used are known to cause cancer as well as an array of health problems. Only eat what looks like real food – whole foods.

 
• Dairy products – especially cheese. You don’t have to eliminate necessarily, but bring down to one portion a day.

 
• Processed breads, cakes, and products made with white-processed flour. They contain very little nutrients and are fattening. Go for products that are “stone ground” or made of non-processed wheat.

 
• If you eat animals, regardless of what kind (including fish), reduce your intake to one serving a day, approximately the size of your fist. Avoid any meat that’s breaded and fried, seared over and open flame, or grilled using charcoal (petroleum based).
• Eat a reasonable portion of grains, seeds and nuts. Avoid salted and “roasted” nuts, as they contain natural oils which are heated through the process of cooking.

 
• Develop the habit of using healthy “oils”. Oils that remains liquid at room temperatures. Extra Virgin olive oil is a good choice because it’s derived from olives through a “cold press” method and doesn’t involve heating the oil. However cooking with olive oil makes it just as carcinogenic as all oils. For cooking, consider coconut oil, which remains fairly stable when heated. Otherwise, exercise moderation.

 
• Plant based foods – whole fruits and vegetables should consist of 50-70% of your diet. Keep in mind that grains, nuts and seeds are also plant-based foods. Fats contained naturally in plants (which are very little) have a different affect on the body than fats derived from animal products. So a plant based diet is typically low in fat and calories and high in nutrients and dietary fiber.

 

 

Again, when eliminating anything from your diet take an attitude of significantly decreasing while still allotting occasional use. What you’ll find is that in doing so, you lose your taste for it, and after a while, no longer crave it, or when you do eat it, you don’t like it or it makes you feel funny. Keep in mind that your body will grow accustomed to whatever you feed it on a regular basis. By eliminating sugar from your diet over a period of time, when you do eat it, it can seem to make you feel queasy. When eliminating fried foods for an extended period of time, just the smell of grease will turn your stomach. When eliminating dairy over a period of time, you lose interest in it and don’t really think about it.

 
Again, make sure that at no point you create a feeling of struggling or suffering. When this happens you produce body chemistry as hormones that can be just as harmful as the food chemicals you’re eliminating. If you get a strong craving, indulge it, and then go back to your practice. If you’re eliminating carbonated drinks, for example, allow yourself to have them on special occasions such as when seeing a movie, at a fair or carnival, at a social engagement or sports event, and so on, where you’re still allowed, but only occasionally. The toughest part is breaking the daily routine, not the occasional one. And again, you want to avoid becoming extreme or gun-ho in any area, which simply creates a new “imbalance”. The key to success is a preplanned idea of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, coupled with an attitude of moderation.

 

Dr. Linda Gadbois
Integrated Health Consultant

About the Author:

Dr. Linda is a Integrative Health Consultant, personal development trainer and innovative business consultant for Physician / Healthcare entrepreneurs. She conducts regular training events for Integrative Health, Mind Development, Personal Transformation, Professional Development, Communication Skills, and Enlightened Leadership. She’s available for private or public speaking engagements, and personal or group Mentoring sessions. To inquire or schedule a consultation, click here

Our State of Mind or Mood, Determines our Behavior as our Performance

Man with conceptual spiritual body art

One of the most fundamental errors people make in life is that they don’t understand the most basic precepts for how to get people to behave a certain way, or directly affect their performance. We think that the way to do it is by directly “addressing” it by talking about it, pointing it out, making suggestions as to what we’d like, etc., then wonder why it not only doesn’t work, but usually tends to make it worse.

 
This is because what naturally produces our behaviors is our mood or the state of mind we’re in. Whatever mood we’re in, or how we’re feeling determines what we focus on, why we’re focused on it, what we tell ourselves about it and the perspective we take on as a result, and how we form a natural response to it.

 
The best and most immediate way to act to produce the desired behavior in someone else is to first ask yourself what state of mind would someone be in who was naturally acting / performing that way? Then, once we realize what state that is, we can ask ourselves, how can we act to intentionally influence their state of mind to produce the desired state? The most basic way we influence people is through our own state. The state we’re in when we’re around them and use to interact or communicate with them, stimulates in them the same emotional qualities, bringing them out and developing and strengthening them through continued interaction. The whole basis of communication is how we are making the person feel by the way we treat them.

mental impressions
When we communicate with people through a demeaning or condescending attitude that makes them “feel” a certain way, which is altering their state of mind, they not only form associations “to us” through that feeling state, but will maintain it by dwelling in it long after we’re gone. It’ll determine their attitude, what thoughts they have and the perceptions they form by creating numerous realities as imagined scenarios that will produce analogous behaviors. They will treat other people (clients) the same way out of the same attitude as we have treated them. Whatever emotional state we embody and project into the world and onto others through our presence, our perceptions and “how” we say whatever we’re saying, we act to increase and systematically produce more of it by stimulating it, calling it forth, and then co-creating out of it.

 
A person who’s upset or frustrated, then behaves and communicates out of that state, acts to create more of that same experience in others. Someone who’s angry and talks to someone out of anger, stimulates that same emotion in them, making them feel angry also. They not only continue to think angry thoughts, and communicate with others out of anger, but they project that anger back onto you and think angry thoughts about you. Someone who is happy or enthusiastic about something, and communicates through that state, creates the same feeling in others towards or about whatever it is they’re communicating.

 
This same idea is commonly referred to as creating the “culture” of a business. I call it creating the atmosphere as a general mood that’s openly displayed and created out of as a general rule of thumb. This doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have times when you feel negative emotions, we all do. It’s only natural. It simply means that you don’t go out and interact through that state and infect your entire staff with that same feeling, knowing, that they’ll probably stay in that mood for the better part of the day . . . and of course, perform and run your business out of it. Instead, you work through negative emotions in private until you can get them under control, resolve them somehow, and then readjust your attitude before coming back into a group situation. Not saying anything while still maintaining the mood is not going to work, because people can sense your energy and pick up on your emotional state just through the quality of your presence alone. By how it feels to be around you.

 
While we think that we can fool people by simply repressing our emotions and pretend to be in a different mood, this only creates a false front that’s confusing, because you’re acting one way, while the feeling you’re putting off is entirely different. Whatever attitude and communicative behaviors key people in an organization frequently display and create out of as a result, acts to tune all the other staff members to the same mental attitude, which can be readily felt and picked up by clients / customers. The mood they’re in determines how they act, and the experience they give the client as a result. Our state of mind and how we behave are always unified. The outer behavior is produced by the inner state as an expression of it.

 
So keep this in mind and learn how to use it as a tool for creating by directly influencing others in an intentional manner. Likewise, if an employee comes in to work in a bad mood, and begins influencing others through their mood, have them take a break to a private location and shake the mood before they come back to work. If they can’t, then either put them in a position that will have the least effect on others (no client contact), or consider giving them the day off! Otherwise, the effects they create as an expression of their mood could take weeks to correct, or possibly cause the loss of clients without you even knowing about it. A required standard of performance is also a required state of mind when coming to work, because they’re the same thing. It’s also a good idea to discuss this in your employee orientation or at staff meetings where you also provide them with tools for learning to manage their mood as a professional resource.

Dr. Linda Gadbois
Professional Business Consulting

About the author:
Dr. Linda is a Spiritual Scientist and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
To inquire, click here