Book review for From Stress to Stillness: Tools for Inner Peace by Gina Lake

This self-help book starts out with how stress affects the body via the stress channel and goes into how to and not create stress which was very interesting. “Stress results from the negative stories (negative thoughts in our body that cause tension and a sense of contraction) that our egoic mind tell us about ourselves, life, others, the past, the present, or the future.” We think we need such thoughts when they interfere with handling life and making it less enjoyable. So how do we let go of mental baggage? Awareness and turning down the volume on the egoic mind’s radio station of relentless mind messages. Or at least change it to the stillness channel which expand us rather than contracts us. The more we tune into stillness the easier it becomes and the less compelling the egoic chatter is.

The different types of stressful thoughts are explained nicely: “I” thoughts, stories, judgments, “shoulds”, self-criticism, self-doubt, fears, worries, ideas of perfection, and thoughts about the past. That section is followed nicely by their antidotes, or ways to drop the mental baggage like accepting people for the way they are and not imposing our desires and expectations on them. Or when it’s not reminiscing it’s reliving and drudging up sour circumstances. Our memories don’t even accurately reflect what happened in the past.

Noticing, accepting, investigating, reframing, and letting go of stressful thoughts and feelings is the way to heal the scab of unresolved memories or negative thoughts. And reframing is a way to let go of ideas of perfection. The author describes in detail how to do this next. Being present, being in the body and senses, being willing to not know, being grateful, accepting life, breathing practices, meditation, and bridges to presence are ways to switch the egoic mind’s radio channel to stillness. This book is filled with dialogue to change from negative to positive as well as instruction on how to meditate.

Changing our lifestyle by making time for stillness, slowing down, realizing less is more, reassessing our relationship to the media, and making time for our heart’s desires was an interesting chapter. I particularly enjoyed the thought about reassessing our relationship to the media and instead slowing down and making time for what will really calm us, which is things like gratitude, compassion, meditation, and breathing practices.

Keys to changing our lifestyle:

  • Make peace and less stress a priority
  • Meditate daily
  • Do things more slowly and with more presence
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Unplug and walk in nature, listen to music, cook, play, or garden
  • Remove ourselves from negative situations and people
  • Eliminate soul-stripping or unnecessary activities
  • Be selective about television and the media
  • Consume fewer material goods

So realize the ego is often referred to by the term “false self” for a reason because it’s phony or false. Choose to eliminate that stress channel and tune into stillness by being present in the moment by letting go of that stressful thought the moment we recognize it. Stop. Take a deep breath. Switch the channel. Whatever our attention is focused on gains power. This book also notes Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., author of The Biology of Belief which is a good choice to read. Keep in mind to slow down, be present, and follow our joy. Get the entire book here.

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Hanmi Meditation

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Despite being busy, stressed and tired, I’ve found a quick, complete self-healing and rejuvenating meditation practice. It (Hanmi meditation) encompasses mind, body, and speech by using mudra (hand positions or body gestures), mantra (empowered syllable sounds), and visual imagery; the three being the means to transcending ones everyday struggles. The synergy can calm oneself, purify karma, and can improve the quality of life. Repeating the mantra keeps one mindful; meanwhile the mudras balance the elements of the body by opening energy channels and releasing stress and negative energy. Instead of being impatient and frustrated by the stresses of a hectic family life, by visualizing, my instructor said, you can stay focused and on the path to health, vitality and happiness by developing more inner peace.

Crystal Sound Bath Therapy

crystal sound bowl bathMy latest class in sound therapy went well, as expected. I took the class for meditative effects as it makes me sit still for a half hour and helps in calming me down to a relaxed state which lessens my anxiety and counteracts the stressors in my life. Plus I don’t experience tremors (medication side effects) when I’m meditating, at least not the majority of the time. The class began with brief introductions, as it was only a half hour long activity then to an invocation to create sacred space for our activity. Only ten people were in attendance so there was plenty of room to stretch out on the floor in the sanctuary. Most brought their own mats but I had to use the center’s carpet remnants which was still comfortable.

The bowls’ harmonies were extremely calming. Sound and vibrational healing isn’t new (some believe the universe was brought into being by sound), simply not mainstream. The facilitator told us that sound healing is typically done with acoustic instruments or simply the human voice and it is beyond the human ear that our skin and bones (through every cell and atom) conduct vibrations throughout the entire body.

Frosted crystal bowls (pressurized silica sand and water) of various sizes amplify energy and transfer the sounds to our bodies with a synergistic effect that was produced through the different harmonies of the various bowls and the added use of various small musical instruments. The instructor spoke intermittently to tell us what was happening; and in doing so used a tone that harmonized well with the bowls, too.  It was an excellent exercise in mind-body healing (balance and harmony) as it was deeply relaxing, promoted self-awareness, and added some clarity to my day.

Group Meditation

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Prior to needing meditation, I never realized how many opportunities exist if you only look for them. From community college continuing education, to college walk-in silent group sessions, to the mental health non-profit opportunity I took part in today. I’ve found that meditation is necessary with my schizophrenia because it helps to control the restlessness and tremors when I relax and intentionally forces the stress out of mind and body. For me, not only is medication necessary but I don’t know where I’d be without silent group work.

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