In the first installment of this series, one of the techniques for overcoming fear was to have a safe and relaxing place to go in your mind. You can draw on an experience in nature to reflect on and relax as you place yourself in that setting. Recently Dawn got to hike in the mountains of Montana to the base of a waterfall. The video shows scenes in different settings along the way to join in a practice of relaxation.
You can use this video to practice and develop a relaxing place to take your mind and body, no matter where you are physically located. Developing the ability to relax is an important self care skill - and one that develops with use and repetition. You actually are changing neuropathways in your brain that come into play throughout your daily life.
When using a setting you are not in to provide a calming and relaxing experience for yourself, use all of your senses in your mental experience of the setting. What you see is typically first. Go further into your sensory experience. Look above and behind you: what is there. What do you smell? Do you taste anything? What is the temperature? What is your skin feeling? Tune in, what are you hearing? Pay particular attention to rhythms you see or hear. Rhythms can calm our mind and body (or energize or stress them, depending on type of rhythm).
Using the videos as cues to the experience of the senses, in the first segment the sky was brilliant blue with contrasting full white clouds. The steep sides of the mountain have visible rock and soaring trees. The air is filled with the scents of pine and cedar. There is a light breeze as seen in the movement of the grass and the flower at the front of the scene. The breeze provides light cooling to warm skin, while the sun provides warmth and heat. You hear the waterfall’s light roar constantly with intermittent birds calling through the pines and a light rustling of the trees.
Moving into the second segment the waterfall is slightly louder. The stop provides welcome shade and a breeze to cool the sweat on the skin gained from the hike. The sky is a stunning blue above the green peaks of the trees. Pine and cedar scents are present.
In the third and fourth segments the air is much cooler near the base of the waterfall. The cooling mist feels very refreshing on hot skin. The crashing of the waterfall is quite loud at this level, drowning out the sounds of the birds. The ground is solid rock with a cold stone ledge to sit and relax while watching the activity of the water. The water twirls and finds its way downstream. The air is scented with a light fish smell along with freshness of the mist in the air.
Enjoy the video: take in and place yourself in the setting, using all of your senses. But first feel your body in it’s current setting. Look behind and above you, stretching your back and neck as you look both to the right and to the left. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel the support of the chair on your legs and back. If anything is uncomfortable relocate or adjust to find comfort.
Now enter in… Begin with slow, deep breathes. Breathe in through your nose and lightly blow out through your mouth. Do a body scan for any tight muscles, tighten and release. Come back later and check for tight areas, releasing any tension found again. Maintain the relaxation breathing. At the end, reorient to the space you are in.
Draw upon this relaxation experience as you go through your week.