We’ve all experienced it at one time or another – that overwhelming feeling when you get up and nothing goes right. The children are fighting and LATE to school. You spill coffee on your favorite WHITE shirt moments before an important meeting. You get pulled over for a traffic violation as you leave work, making the kids late for soccer, piano, dance, and whatever else is on the agenda that night. You open up your laptop to complete an important task for a meeting tomorrow and you find out you didn’t save ANY of the work from the day…not one word.
It’s enough to make you scream “CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY” (and yes, I know I seriously dated myself with that one!)
In truth, that bath commercial had it right. Sometimes, you do just need to hide for a few moments and carve out your own little piece of sanity. I do this with a “mini-vacation”, a moment of respite I can take at any time (almost) and in a matter of minutes.
Start with a mental image of your most relaxing place. For me this can be either a beach, or the woods. Both have special appeal to me. Once you have your image, picture every detail you can. The exact color of the sky, the way the grains of sand move when you walk on them, the pattern of the waves as they crash along the shoreline.
Add sensory details – the smell of the salt water, the sound of the water and gulls overhead, the feel of the sand against your feet or the smoothness of moonglass in your fingers.
Take a moment to experience the richness of that imaginary. Take in a deep breath. And another. With each breath, feel the stress wash away, replaced by the sensory input from the mini-vacation playing out in your thoughts.
The brain really doesn’t require you to be AT the beach in order to release calming neurotransmitters. It only needs to “believe” it is at the beach for a moment. Your full, sensory imagery can accomplish that, providing you with the mental relief you need to face the obstacles of the day.
Try it. And if you have tried it and it flat-out didn’t work for you, let me know. I may be able to see where any potential glitches are with the mini vacation.
In the meantime, you’ll find me “at the beach”!