Can You Quiet Your Mind?
From John Marx’s CopsAlive.com
For law enforcement professionals the importance of being able to quiet your mind is critical as the thoughts, ideas, plans and excessive noise in our heads can become overwhelming. Even in their more mild expressions these thoughts can keep us from being focused, attentive, alert and might disturb our sleep.
The profession of law enforcement can be quite toxic and contributes many direct threats to your mental and emotional well-being, not to mention your spiritual health. Things like poverty, tragedy, trauma, death and destruction can be overwhelming and thoughts about these things blend with your everyday thoughts to contribute lots of noise in your mind.
Your ability to control and “quiet” that noise might become a very valuable tool in the challenge for you to be able to stay alive or to even survive a full career.
Those in police work need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert, and safe.
We are attaching a written procedure for quieting your mind as well as a 10 minute audio recording to guide you… through the process. Practice these every day and see if you can’t get better at calming your mind when you need to.
For advanced work try to create a “Relaxation Response”
We recommend a daily session of dedicated relaxation time with elimination of excessive stress as the primary goal. According to Herbert Benson, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the author of the book The Relaxation Response, “The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress… and the opposite of the fight or flight response”.
Described simply, the “Relaxation Response” triggers a dramatic decrease in heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and metabolic rate that, with dedicated practice, counteracts the harmful effects of stress. His original research indicated that you could accomplish this with four things: A quiet environment, a mental device (like repeating a word or phrase), a passive attitude (putting aside distracting thoughts and always focusing on your breathing), and a comfortable position.
His further research found that only the passive attitude and mental device were really needed, and this practice can be performed with exercise as long as the activity is repetitious and the intent is always to clear your mind of distractions and return your focus to your repeated word in sync with your breathing rate. You can call this meditation or “quiet time” if you prefer but there are many ways to accomplish it.
A daily stress management regime could include any of these types of Stress Management Practices:
Meditation or Quiet Time
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The Relaxation Response – Coupling Activity and Breathing
CLICK HERE for a copy of our CopsAlive.com Stress Management 10 minute Roll Call Discussion Training Key (Rc10m)
Instructions for Quieting Your Mind
Sit comfortably in a chair (you can lie down if you prefer)
Let your arms rest comfortable in your lap or on the arms of the chair
Set you feet flat on the floor
Close your eyes and breath deeply for a minute or so
Get into a four count breathing cycle like this:
Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, hold for a count of four then keep repeating the cycle
Stay like this for 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, however long you prefer
Try to let your mind relax and don’t think about anything
Focus on your breathing as the breath comes into and out of your body
Try not to think of anything just become a quiet “observer” or your thoughts as they pass through your mind
If your mind stays busy, don’t worry, just let the thoughts pass and remain an observer
Set a timer or alarm for the desired amount of time to signal you when to finish
After your timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and stretch your muscles
Try to repeat this often, perhaps once or twice daily, especially when you are feeling stressed
CLICK HERE to download a PDF copy of these Instructions for Quieting Your Mind
CLICK HERE to download an mp3 recording of a basic 15 minute guided Quiet Mind Session
Quiet Your Mind
Read more on CopsAlive.com at: http://www.copsalive.com/a-stress-management-prescription-for-law-enforcement/