Johann Hari wrote these words recently in an article on The Huffington Post. I am not an expert on addiction, but when I read this, I immediately thought of some of my own addictions: binge-eating in the past, Facebook now. And I thought that Hari was right but it’s not just about connection to others, but also our connection to ourself.
I used to find myself binge-eating when I least wanted to be with my own emotions. Today, I find myself scrolling mindlessly through Facebook when I don’t want to be silent with my thoughts. Turning my computer off or putting my smart phone down and just being with myself feels unnecessarily difficult. However, it is integral to peace of mind, and is something that many of us are lacking in today’s technology driven society. That is why meditation is so valuable but how many of us want to meditate but rarely do?
When I became a hypnotherapist, I learned how to tune in and meditate on a daily basis. I also realized that for me, there are a number of ways I can connect with myself and silent meditation is only one of them. I began to find new ways each day to reconnect to myself, and through that, felt empowered, and yes, less likely to turn toward my addictions.
Here are five creative ways you can reconnect to yourself. Try one each day for the next five days and see what happens.
- Create a safe space: The first thing I do with new clients in a hypnotherapy session is usually to help them find a safe space. You can easily do this on your own though. Find a quiet spot to sit or lie down. Take three deep breaths and allow yourself to settle into your body. Close your eyes and imagine creating a safe space for yourself. This can be a space you’ve been before or one you make up. Allow yourself to explore this space until you feel like you know it really well. Place whatever you need in this space to make yourself feel safe. Feeling stuck? This exercise will allow your creative inner child back out to play. My guess is she’s been stuffed inside your adult life of “shoulds” for a while now, and it may take a little coaxing to get her out. Do you remember playing make-believe when you were a child? That’s what you’re doing now. If a safe space doesn’t magically appear in your mind, just make one up! This isn’t a test and there’s no wrong way to do this. If you’ve never felt safe before, imagine what you would want a safe space to feel like if it existed. Then give it permission to exist in your mind.
- Write yourself a letter – from your future self: Some people believe that the past, present, and future are all happening at the same time. According to that thinking, our future selves already exist and can guide us today. So I want your future self to guide you. Imagine the future you is writing you a letter. It is the last day of your life and you want to reach back in time and give yourself guidance and support. What does your future self want you to know right now?
- Paint yourself: Jackson Pollock is quoted as saying, “Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.” Get a nice big piece of blank paper and some crayons, markers or paints (or all 3). Allow yourself to paint with the intention of throwing away the paper when you’re done. This allows you to be creative without your inner perfectionist getting in the way. Think of how 3 year olds paint, without worrying if their depictions are realistic. Allow yourself to do the same.
- Make friends with your inner demons: We all have inner demons that make us want to turn to the comfort of TV, Facebook, food, and alcohol rather than being in the silence of our own minds. Or I should say the loud chaos of our own minds, because how often are our minds actually silent? This exercise tells you how to talk with the chaotic voices in your mind and make friends with them.
- Dance like no one is watching: It may sound cliché, but dancing like no one is watching is one of the most powerful things you can do to reconnect with yourself. Not only is it good exercise (why not kill two birds with one stone?) but it helps your body and mind get in touch with each other. Many people find that when they put on music and allow themselves to dance, emotions come to the surface that they aren’t even aware are there. Go with it. Laugh. Cry. Do whatever your body is telling you it needs. When it’s you alone, no one can judge or censor so listen to your body and allow it to flow. Want some inspiration? I am in love with this video of ballet dancer Sergei Polunin. When I dance by myself, I imagine this is what I look like. And even though I know I look nothing like that, my body only knows that I am doing something that feels good.
Can you commit to doing one of these activities each day for the next 5 days?