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Posts Tagged ‘exercises

Let’s look a little more at that inner critic. It might be viewed as the internalized Voice of Society. Or perhaps the Stater of Idealized Norms (how we Think everyone is supposed to be like). Or the If-I-Was-A-Good/Healthy/Functioning-Person-I’d-Be-That-Way Declarer. Or the Comparer (“That person is obviously doing much better than you are. Why don’t you do that?”). Or the Arbiter of What is Good and Proper (“and you obviously are not it”).


We hold everything a little too tightly, don’t we? Here’s a way to give yourself more space and permission to be, well, human.

Action: Next time you find that you’re judging yourself…

  1. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and physically relax your body, especially your shoulders, chest and solar plexus (which is where we often store these feelings).
  2. Imagine that your body expands a few feet out, giving more room for these feelings.
  3. Let it keep expanding as much as necessary – to the size of the room… the building… the city… and so on, until you really have enough space and permission for all that you are. (Note: if it ever feels too big or spacey, just adjust it to be somewhat smaller again.)

Yes. You can give yourself that much Space and Permission to Be – All That You Are.


Try these exercises. And please – comment below and report what you find useful.

  1. Think back to when you were young(er). Remember how you handled a particular situation – perhaps conflict, or relationships. Then reflect on how you handle them now. Appreciate how you’ve grown.
  2. Close your eyes, and take deep breaths into the core of your body. Visualize breathing into the very core of your being. Still with your eyes closed, reach out and pat your feet. Keep patting all the way up to your head. Feel your solidity as if for the first time, while continuing to breathe into your body. Appreciate your solidity.
  3. Think of someone you recently helped or made smile. Imagine what might have happened if you weren’t there; reflect on when you’ve been positively impacting people.
  4. If someone else said something horribly mean to us, we’d likely get quite angry – but we talk to ourselves that way! When you do something that causes the irascible inner critic to surface, try telling her/him, “This is part of being human. I’m a human being, and this is part of learning and growing.”

These are just a few ideas to try; keep your eyes out for more here. However, they can’t just be done once. In order to cultivate greater love, they need to become regular practices that replace our negative patterns. So write them down or print this out – and keep doing them. And see what happens.

You mean everyone doesn’t always feel like peaches and cream? Hey, even Mother Theresa got PMS. (OK, I haven’t verified this, but it’s likely.) We all have challenges every day that we don’t always meet as well as we’d like. So how can we turn that frown upside down – in an authentic way?

  1. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Reconnect.
  2. Take a supplement that supports mood – it can help. Suggestions for immediate relief to try: 5HTP, Rescue Remedy, magnesium.
  3. Help someone. Volunteering or doing someone a favor takes our focus off our own troubles and reframes things in a new way.
  4. Do something you don’t normally do – run, see a live performance, go dancing… interrupting routine can bring in new energy.
  5. Allow yourself to fully feel whatever is going on. Perhaps we’re upset by something and think it’s not okay to feel that way. Guess what? It is. Whatever the emotion may be, let it fill your entire being and express itself through loud sounds. Qualifier: set a time limit. Do it for, say, 10-15 minutes, and then do something else.

Wish that your life contained more… joy? Love? Vivacity? Waiting for someone to magically make this happen for you? Guess what – to truly have this, you have to initiate it yourself. Then, you’ll never be dependent on someone again to bring you fulfillment.

This practical exercise can be performed anytime, and you can substitute whichever quality is most needed at that moment. If possible, take 5-10 minutes to do this – but it can also be shorter or longer as needed.

  1. Sit up straight, with your feet firmly planted on the floor (or, crosslegged, sitting on a cushion). Close your eyes.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose, while your belly expands, bringing your breath fully into your body. Contract your stomach on the exhale, completely sending all the air out of your nose or mouth.
  3. As you exhale, visualize letting go of whatever your may be holding on to that is no longer needed. Breathe with this focus for approximately 30-60 seconds, as needed.
  4. Next, on the inhale, visualize bringing in whatever you most need in your life. Joy. Love. Self-acceptance. Peace… whichever one you truly long for. Try to associate with it whatever color brings that in… or perhaps an image (say, from nature, or a wonderful memory) fill your being. With deep, long, juicy breaths, see that color or image slowly fill your entire body.
  5. When it feels complete, open your eyes. Throughout the day, you can close your eyes at any moment and remember the image implanted in your being.
  6. As needed, wash, rinse and repeat.

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