Drivers welcome: part i
Just as an automobile maneuvers a street so does your mind a thought, both start and stop, as the vehicle navigates a whole city so does your mind the relationships or dissimilarities between thoughts; both continue, starting and stopping until the final destination or conclusion is arrived at. The most obvious difference is the mind’s distinct ability to differentiate the external environment, a street or city for this instance, from the internal thoughts, the mind’s own internal environment, about the city or any other object it is thinking about.
Troubles arise when the automobile’s driver does not see the green light turn to yellow and then, worse, red. This is so obviously devastating in the real world when an accident occurs; similarly with the mind, but usually with much less obviousness. The street an automobile travels is often illuminated by some source of light, be it a celestial object (sun, moon, stars), street lights or the head lights of the vehicle itself, the mind can have very dark corners a driver is often unable to or ill-equipped to navigate and satisfactorily maneuver. This is when a person may have an unfortunate instance of having a mental or psychological accident.
The human brain could be thought of as the car in the above metaphor and as it houses the mind, the driver could be thought of as the mind. This car is the most complex object in the known universe. How well is it’s driver acquainted with its mechanisms, operation and required maintenance? This being known, how much more difficult is it for any individual to adequately navigate the roads/events of their lives without having breakdowns or accidents due to its inherent complexity?
Not only is the car complex but the roads taken during the maturational process can be highly treacherous and danger filled. The young driver is incapable and ill prepared to handle the obstacles and pitfalls. The barriers and problems that are encountered are more often than not inappropriately navigated and the aftereffects that are not appropriately processed or “repaired” leave the vehicle in a state of disrepair. The driver is no longer able to freely and readily travel the roads that inevitably continue to present themselves.
Therapy is a way for the driver to reacquaint themselves to their complex vehicle and then to better be able to reorient themselves to the roads that they not only must travel, but, then will enjoy, once again, travelling.
The thought within your mind is a road travelled by your mind. The two are as intimately bound as is the car with the road it travels. Unlike the physical road and the car your mind can take “flight” and travel down roads that are so far up in the sky that there has not been yet a physical vehicle manufactured that could reach such similar heights. This can obviously be very good, as when you find a very creative impulse or devastatingly dangerous, as when that creative impulse leads you into a dark space of loss, despair and depression. Distinguishing how to moderate and thereby appropriately navigate how you create your mind-space or mind-set can assist a person in traveling safely.
How does one travel safely? Well, as with a car that has a gas pedal and entropy producing brakes, so does your mind need countervailing mechanisms that produce thrust or momentum and then reduce or eliminate that movement forward or backward when it is necessary and appropriate.
It is relatively simple to manipulate a gas pedal and brake after a few hours of instructed application. The same is not always true for instruction and implementation of the parallel mechanisms of the mind. The way the car has been managed are ultimately the most important factors for producing, re-engaging or reacquainting the driver to their throttle and brake: how well has the car been properly maintained and more importantly how roughly has the car been handled, by its owner and by those entrusted with its safety, i.e. its caregivers?
These factors will play heavily into how easily an individual will be able to begin to right the direction their car has been traveling and a therapist can act as a driver’s instructor.
By Mathew Quaschnick
There is one "best" thing in the world to help reduce anxiety, to increase mental clarity and ability to focus, and for increased general well-being: Deep Breathing!
You can live for days without food, up to a month, approximately 44,640 minutes.
You can live for days with water, up to a week, approximately 10,080 minutes or more.
But you can only live for 3 to 5 MINUTES -- without OXYGEN!
Deep breathing is IMPORTANT...
Yet, most of us are unable to spend more than a few minutes bringing our awareness to our breath. And this is usually only during a "sigh" or the point in the day when the stress of the day was too great that we take what we think is a healthy deep breath. The problem is usually with the mechanics or "way" we take that deep breath.
Granted any extra oxygen that enters the system is going to be somewhat beneficial and potentially reduce anxiety or center you, that is as long as you are not hyperventilating.
How to deep breathe:
The most important aspect of deep breathing is making sure when taking an "in-breath" that your stomach is extended outward. Your diaphragm, the main muscle for breathing will be contracted. When you breath out, the diaphragm will be relaxed, and your stomach will move in. It is most important to focus your awareness on this in/out movement of your breath and your diaphragm. If you notice, the "in" breath happens when your stomach is moving out, and when your stomach moves in you should be exhaling the breath "out." So one way to picture this is with a +/- vs -/+. There are never two "+'s," i.e. NEVER an in-breath/in-stomach, nor two "-'s," i.e. NEVER an out-breath/out-stomach.
It is ALWAYS one or the other but NEVER both "ins" or both "outs"...
In stomach - Out Breath, +/-
Out stomach - In Breath, -/+
Out Stomach - In Breath, -/+
In Stomach - Out Breath, +/- but NEVER +/+ or -/-
This may seem difficult to control in the beginning but after time and some perseverance you will be able to re-establish a healthy breathing pattern that will last throughout the day and there is a lot more to learm but this is the "best" place to start.
You should try to learn to deep breath the same way you attempt to learn a new language or to play a musical instrument: Multiple (3-5 times) short (2-5 minutes) per day.
By Mathew Quaschnick
UPTOWN THERAPY MPLS
Edited and composed by Mathew Quaschnick
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