Expect less of others and more of yourself. Others matter, no question, but others stumble, fail, betray, leave, or die. Sad truth. What to do? Spend time every day to nourish yourself. Make caring for you a daily habit.
I don’t mean a habit like brushing your teeth or going to the gym. I mean a habit of deep self-care and indulgence. Create a sanctuary, a place for you where you go to shut out the rest of the world. If you can make your sanctuary an actual place; if that is not possible create one in your mind.
This is a visualizing exercise. I know that will make some of you groan and want to throw stones my way. Wait, for if visualizations do not work for you, there is help. How you learn determines whether visualizing will work for you.
To create an imaginary sanctuary, you need to utilize your preferred learning style. Those who have studied how people take in and store information, make the point that while everyone has a mix of seven learning styles, most people use only one or two.
Do you know your preferred styles? Here is a list of what most experts agree are the major learning styles.
- Using pictures, images, and maps (visual learning).
- Using sounds and music (aural learning).
- Preferring words in speech (verbal learning).
- Using your body, hands, and sense of touch (kinesthetic and intuitive; gut reaction).
- Preferring to think and reason (logical or mathematical).
- Preferring to learn in groups or with other people (social learning).
- Preferring to work alone (solitary or intrapersonal learning).
Here’s a quick test to see which works best for you. Remember the last time you lost your car or house keys. How did you go about trying to find them? Did you picture where you last had them or did you talk silently to yourself? Also, listen to your body. As you are trying to find those keys, does your body twitch or seem to move a bit?
Have you figured out your preferred learning style? Good, then use it as you create your imaginary safe place. If visualizing is not your thing, trying drawing or writing or self-talk to take you there.
Imaginary sanctuaries can be visited frequently, whenever and wherever needed. To create such a safe place, review your good memory file for places that you experienced as calming and safe. Pick the best of these and see it in as much detail as possible. Then do the following:
- Change any unpleasant features.
- Add sounds including some soothing music.
- Add a pleasant smell. For example, if you think of the ocean, smell the salt.
- Add movement: swinging in a hammock, rocking in a chair.
- Add mementos that remind you of good times.
- Add pictures of people who calm you.
- Add anything else that comforts and calms.
Here are some examples of sanctuaries.
A man described his as lying on a large soft cloud floating gently in an otherwise clear sky. His dog is with him. It is sunset. The sky is a palate of gold and purple. The sound is the soft tinkling of some wind chimes. The air smells of fresh-cut grass.
A small boy said his was the on pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium. It is before a night game. No players are on the field. There is the smell of peanuts in the air. “Take me out to ball game” is playing. He is lying with his head on a base-pad. He can see the stars.
Mine is on my favorite beach at sunset time I am lying in a protective dome. No one can sneak up on me or enter with ut my permission. Despite the dome it feels like I am outside. I feel the warm sand, smell the salt air, hear the crash of the waves, the birds cawing, and see the dolphins frolic in the water.
Using this to self-sooth and stay calm: You might like to make a poster about your safe place. You could draw it, make a collage, or write about it, and pin it up in your home. You might prefer to keep your safe place private. Do what feels right for you.
The important thing is to remember periodically throughout the day to visit your imaginary sanctuary and gather up a few minutes of calm. When you are in your personal sanctuary, take a few minutes to visit your imaginary sanctuary. When you OMM, do so in your imaginary sanctuary.
Over time and with practice you will be able to visit your imaginary sanctuary away from your personal sanctuary and your home, using it as a safe place when stress or negative thoughts come calling.
Remember what matters, be grateful for all you have been given, and practice kindness.
P.S. Practice kindness by reading, liking, commenting or sharing this post. Think about buying one of my eBooks. They cost less than a latte, last longer, and are healthier. Create Calm In Your Life is the newest. Then there is this one When Good Kids Get You In a Gotcha War which is now out in paperback.
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)https://www.amazon.com.au/When-Good-Kids-Gotcha-Things/dp/0987461400/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
- The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- About Emotional Fitness Training (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)