WASHINGTON, November 26, 2017 – In today’s article, we will explore Dr. James Doty’s techniques for taming the mind. As you will recall, in my last article I shared three stress-reducing techniques from Dr. Doty’s important book, “Into the Magic Shop.” In that volume, this successful author, neurosurgeon, businessman and family man stressed three key points:
- Train the mind, and by doing so change everything else in your life;
- Relax your body resulting in better attention and focus; and
- Open your heart to connect with others.
In this, article, I’ll share his “Practice 2,” an exercise devoted to Taming the Mind. (If you did not read Practice 1, I will be happy to send it to you. Just email me here. You can also read Doty’s full interview here.)
Taming the Mind
(Excerpted from “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart”)
- Once your body is relaxed, it is time to tame the mind.
- Begin again by focusing on your breath. It is common for thoughts to arise and for you to want to attend to them. Each time this occurs, return your focus to your breathing. Some find that actually thinking of their nostrils and the air entering and exiting helps bring their focus back.
- Other techniques that assist in decreasing mind wandering are the use of a mantra, a word or phrase that is repeated over and over, and focusing on the flame of a candle or on another object. This helps avoid giving those wandering thoughts attention. In some practices, the teacher gives the mantra to the student who tells no one else the mantra, but you can pick whatever word you like as your mantra. Or you can focus on a flame or another object. Find what works best for you. Everyone is different.
- It will take time and effort. Don’t be discouraged. It may take a few weeks or even longer before you start seeing the profound effects of a quiet mind. You won’t have the same desire to engage emotionally in thoughts that often are negative or distracting. The calmness you felt from simply relaxing will increase because when you are not distracted by internal dialogue the associated and emotional response does not occur. It is this response that has an effect on the rest of your body.
- Practice this exercise for twenty to thirty minutes per day.
In summary, there are many gifts you will receive from learning how to calm your mind. When we are calmer, we benefit from lower blood pressure, improve the quality of our sleep and are present and able to focus on the task at hand.
In addition, our body releases less cortisol, the stress hormone that nips away at our immune system. We are thus able to navigate through our day with more ease. As a result, we can react in a more grounded, constructive way with less drama and with less of the chaos that ends up depleting our energy.
By taming the mind, we also will have to deal with much less of that “monkey mind,” a phenomenon that occurs when our self-talk is all over the place and as wild and dysfunctional as a monkey swinging aimlessly from tree to tree. In turn all that negativity affects our mood, making us unhappy, angry, and anxious. But now we have a better way to fight this off.
You get the picture. Take a step in a positive, productive direction and calm your self-talk by taming the mind. There’s a new year that’s right in front of us. Don’t you think it’s time to “Take Command of Your Life” and live the life you are meant to live?
For more Information Contact:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Career Coach Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition
301-706-7226 & 703-574-0039
Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.