Psychercise is what I call an individualized “step” program of preventative maintenance proven effective over years of working with clients’ everyday or unusual stress. It is a simple, effective path to emotional fitness. Here are some favorite steps culled from my own and my clients’ experience.
Do unto yourself as you would do unto others
Start with the basics of optimal physical comfort — balanced nutrition, rest, exercise, clothing and hygiene — just as you’d want to provide for a child or a dear friend.
Remember to breathe
Nurture yourself by giving yourself the full, deep belly breaths you deserve.
Balance activity with stillness
It’s beneficial to slow down and even stop. Rest, daydream and replenish your depleted energy. Some form of spiritual practice like yoga or meditation gives you permission by making it “official.” But also allow yourself to get moving on things that need to be done. Relaxation and stillness to the point of procrastination only raise your stress level.
Notice what yours are and care for them. If you try to be all things to all people, you may wind up with no sense of self.
Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life. When you think about the future, picture the most positive scenario rather than the most catastrophic drama.
“Count your blessings”
That corny old song actually makes a lot of sense, especially in times of great need. Note what you do have.
Admire the achievements of others
View others’ triumphs and successes as a stimulus for finding hope. Use them as an opportunity to see how much is possible rather than get into the confinement of comparison.
Face your struggles
Whenever you can, whether it’s doing something you’re afraid of or confronting someone or something uncomfortable for you, go through it and do it. You will wind up feeling empowered instead of helpless.
Ask for support
Sometimes all your own self-care, compassion and courage just aren’t enough. Some problems require professional help. Getting professional counsel for psychersise can be a most self-caring act.
Do enjoyable recreational activities that excite or soothe you. Sing, dance, play ball, act goofy, be lazy, have sex. You’re never too old to take out your crayons and paints! (or be sexual).
Remember your sense of humor
” Be a fundamentalist,” as my favorite guru, Swami Beyondandanda (AKA Steve Bhaerman) says. “Make sure the fun always comes before the mental…Have a good laughsative twice a day, and that will insure regularhilarity.”
Embrace the full range of your feelings
They say that laughter gives an internal massage. That’s true of a good cry too. Strive to accept with compassion your times of sadness, anger and pain.
Beware the poison of perfectionism
Use these psychercises as affirmations or explorations, not as one more oppressive list of tasks or rules that you could use to trash yourself with if not done exactly right immediately.
While this program may seem simple, the challenge is to begin and maintain it. The Replenishing groups, workshops, individual and couple therapy I offer are designed to get you started with Psychercise and keep you on track.