Get a new perspective: meditation for mental health
From my experience as a psychotherapist, I have found that many people believe how they think defines who they are. My clients are often surprised when I tell them, "You are not your depression (or cancer, grief, etc.) Yes, our thoughts can greatly influence our choices, sometimes in a very positive way. But our thoughts can also lead us down old, damaged roads.
Once in a meditation class, a student declared after her first meditation, "My sister is mean to me because she's an angry person. There isn't anything I can do or say to change that." She was shocked at this revelation. In her mid-thirties, she had continued to try to please her sister but had always failed. How did that insight come from meditating? By "watching" herself in the relationship, she was able to disconnect from her habitual way of viewing her sister. That opened up new ways of seeing the situation.
We are also not our feelings. I had a teen-age client who was promiscuous. She believed that if she was aroused or her partner was aroused, that it meant she had to have sex. Another example is a parent who continually gives into a child’s desires because he/she wants to be a “loving” parent.
When we meditate, we are accessing the part of our brain that sees a broader perspective - the forest and the trees. Our focus can move in and out from the detail to the space around the detail. You know the “negative space” that occupies the area between two lines, or two objects? Depending on our focus, we see the object or the space around the object.
So, if you have an issue or concern that needs a new perspective, “witness” it. Look at the space around it or inside it by meditating on it. Imagine you are watching a scene in a movie.
By becoming aware, “this is very painful” or “I’m really in the middle of this” we take a step back and see a bigger picture. Just that tiny distance can shift our emotional state and we can feel more control over whatever is bothering us.
Next week I’ll be offering a specific meditation exercise to help with this. If you can’t wait until then, contact me and I’ll give you the sneek preview.
As a mental health professional, an owner of a fitness studio, a writer and a wife, mother and grandmother, I have found meditation to be helpful in every aspect of my life. Let's talk... To learn about my meditation classes you can reach me at email@example.com or check out my websites: susanscottmorales.com and bodiesinbalancefitness.com