“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
Steve Maraboli; Author of Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
President Harry Truman dealt with stress remarkably well during World War II. His stressful job did not appear to have aged him, and he still had a youthful vitality. When asked how he did it, he stated “I have a foxhole in my mind.” His explanation was, that as a soldier needs recuperation and rest in a foxhole, he needed a retreat into his imagination to recover and rejuvenate from pressure. We can create this foxhole in our minds when mentally exhausted and drained by redirecting our thoughts into a movie of our own making. As your nervous system does not know the difference between a real or imagined experience, you can release yourself from worry and strain, with a two minute mental vacation.
My forehead quilted in the tension,and I took a deep inhale after a stressful staff meeting. I went for a coffee break, in a quagmire of baffled cerebral congestion. While listening to the familiar, comforting slapping of Marlie’s clogs down the hallway, my mind is now travelling.
In times where everything I’ve known crumbles away, giving way to disorder and chaos, I remind myself of a distant memory; one I carry along with me on my mental journeys. A memory of a place untampered by civilization. An island away from the rest of the world.
This place was a secluded beach I and Glenn had found, close to Cabuya, Costa Rica. We were the only souls there, besides the creatures that held us in wonderment.
There was a vast stretch of white untampered sand, strewn with stones and adorned with seashells, the lapping waves washed the pebbled shores a crystal white, and the weeping jungle reached out from the tree line towards the sea, with howling monkeys dangling from its lean branches. Parakeets hopped along on the higher branches, quickly scurrying away when the capuchins neared them. The Capuchins were smaller monkeys than the howler monkeys and a native to the area. My curiosity led me to them, but I stopped short when the nearest one bared vicious canines at me.
Across the sand, crawling creatures emerged to witness us. Iguanas skittered away as we crossed the girth, bobbing their heads in mutual curiosity at us, and skittering further away when we neared them. Out in the distance, across the waters, massive aerial harpoons descended from the skies, pelicans aimed for prey. The minute display spun my mind.
This place is away from the rest of the world, a part of the earth allowed to grow untamed, closed off by nature itself, its thick vegetative arms cradled the bay, and stretched as far as vision carried till it transcended to jutting rocks that rose high into steep terrifying cliffs, a home to a diverse array of fauna and animals. The shrill calls of life from the trees were almost lost to the rushing roars of crashing waves, and the gentle stroking of cool and whistling salt breeze.
In my mind, this place is wild and far-reaching, unbridled in it’s growth, reminding me of how unruly and untamed our minds can be. Every time I find myself with cluttered thoughts, I’m reminded of this place and of the essence in practicing steadiness of mind daily. Bring your mind gently back to a peaceful place when it gets lost in a swirl of thought and worry.
By finding a peaceful and quiet sanctuary in your imagination you positively shift both your neurochemistry and heart rhythm which benefits health. Our life is a work of art, and we can become the masters of directing and creating our story.
Whenever you feel tension mounting, give your mind the break that it deserves with beautiful memories. Create a two-minute experience to boost your brain chemistry, and practice it regularly. Studies show this can increase your productivity and effectiveness at work by reducing stress. I invite you to share with me your thoughts in the comments below. Where will you go on your next vacation?