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3 SM After the fall of Kabul to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the skies were suddenly scattered with colorful kites, one of the many activities forbidden under the Taliban rule. MIND OVER BODY® Stress Relief Through Guided Imagery By Darcy F. Wallen, A.C.S.W. For many people, one of the most pervasive and significant effects  of  the  events  of  911  has  been  a  compulsive  need  to accomplish more and more and fill each moment of every day with meaningful activities. Since no one knows when one’s “time is up,” there’s a noticeable tendency to try to “pack it in.” For some people this is a useful and healing new attitude. For others it has added more anxiety to an already uniquely stressful time. If you are such an individual, I suggest that you stop, assess, prioritize  and  find  methods  to  relieve  some  of  the  stress  that you’ve permitted to dominate your life. One of my favorite Mind Over Body® stress-relieving practices is creative visualization – a form of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a very effective means of relaxing and  self-healing.  In  the  trance  or  relaxed  and  receptive  state, messages  that  we  allow  in  make  a  greater  impact  on  us  than messages received during our normal waking state. Creative  visualization  or  guided  imagery  is  what  Belleruth Naparstek, a pioneer in the field, calls, “a kind of directed day- dreaming, a way of using the imagination very specifically to help mind and body heal, stay strong, and even perform as needed.” Some individuals may prefer being induced into the hypnotic state by someone else; others have the ability for self-hypnosis. Here, however, I would like to give the reader a simple example of what a guided imagery session might be like. 1. Sit somewhere comfortable, in a place that will have as few extraneous noises and disruptions as possible. For the first few times you do this, try not to have the pressure of an appoint- ment following the exercise. 2.  Place both feet on the floor and your arms on your thighs, if that is easy for you. 3.  Begin by closing your eyes and breathing in and out slowly and deeply.  Inhale  through  your  nose  and  exhale  through  your mouth.  Slow  down  the  timing  of  each  breath  by  slightly increasing the sustenance of each one little by little, until you arrive at a slow rhythm that is comfortable for you. As you start to relax, notice any sensations you may be feeling. You may have a tingling in your feet, heaviness in your arms or head, or a sensation of floating, etc. Listen to your breathing pattern. Cont. on page 5 MIND OVER BODY® 7.11 FOR 9.11 7 STEPS TO GAINING CONTROL 1. I recognize that my mind is the chief executive in control, of my body and my actions. 2. My mind and body work together in harmony. 3. My emotional and physical well-being are important to me. 4. I will take care of my mind and body by eating healthy foods, exercising and learning to relax. 5. A healthy mind and body will help me learn, grow and contribute to society. 6. A positive attitude and belief in myself will help me achieve my goals. 7. I AM IN CONTROL! © 1994 Mind Over Body®, Inc. 11 STRESS BREAKING TIPS 1. Take care of yourself. Don’t forget the basics: eat right, drink lots of water and get enough sleep. 2. Do not suffer in silence – share your fears and anxieties with a friend or an internet discussion forum. 3. Make time to laugh and play – laughter is healing. Watch children at play, their joy is contagious. 4. Reconnect with old friends and relatives – preferably in person, otherwise by phone or mail. They will be thrilled to hear from you and in return you feel an- chored and part of a greater whole. 5. Become empowered – help others – read to blind, tutor, volunteer at a shelter or home for the aged. Reaffirm your own value system and actively help create a future you believe in. 6. Anger and grief are natural emotions. Accept them. If they overpower all other aspects of your life, seek help from professionals. 7. Exercise - join a class or take a walk or run around your local park. We are all in the midst of a fight-or-flight response and therefore our bodies are producing excess adrenaline. Exercise is the ideal remedy. 8. Participate in the arts: listen to music, see a play, visit a museum – they are an expression of our individuality, the most positive use of our freedom. 9. Enjoy the season – each season as it comes. They are a reminder that life is a cycle of constant renewal. 10. Try something new – start a journal, take a pottery or yoga class, go back to school – the moment is yours, use it, enjoy it, revel in it. 11. Vote, protest, write a letter to the editor, pray, wear garments that express your religious tradition, read Harry Potter, go fly a kite – because you can! © 2002 Mind Over Body®, Inc.