Psychological Self-Help

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In the Western world we are preoccupied with the external world--
the world of work or TV or interpersonal relations. In Eastern cultures
they are more concerned with the inner world--fantasy and thoughts.
They use meditation and seek an inner serenity, partly as a way of
coping with harsh external realities and partly for the benefits an inner
life offers. There is a stigma against daydreaming in our culture. It can
be a way of avoiding reality or a way of rehearsing for the future.
Fortunately, there is a connection between thoughts and feelings, so
emotions can be influenced via fantasies. Harry Truman said, "I have a
foxhole in my mind," meaning he had a place in his mind where he
could escape the explosive issues bombarding him from the external
To produce a desired feeling or mood: relaxation, elation,
nostalgia, greater awareness and concentration, and increased
motivation (see fantasies for achievement in chapter 14). 
STEP ONE: Prepare the instructions for whatever feelings you
want to produce
Four methods of changing feelings are illustrated below: (1) a calm
scene, (2) self-monitoring for relaxation, (3) positive affirmation
statements for a positive mental attitude, and (4) elation and
expanded consciousness. 
A calm scene. All of us have memories of being somewhere and
feeling carefree, calm and happy. Imagining such a relaxed or pleasant
moment in your life can arouse calm or happy feelings. For relaxation,
it should be a scene in which you are inactive (it's hard to relax while
thinking of climbing a mountain or swimming a river). Examples: lying
in the warm sun on a beach or a boat, resting in front of a fireplace
and watching the flames, walking leisurely in a woods on a beautiful
fall day, sitting on a mountain top and looking at the lush, peaceful
valley below, or sitting in your room, looking out the window and
resting, just watching the world go by. Select a comfortable, peaceful,
pleasant scene that has special meaning for you. 
My calm scene is walking alone by a small stream that winds
through a meadow in front of my boyhood home. I remember minute
details: the clearness of the spring-fed water, the softness of the
grass, the rolling hills, the warmth of the sun, the minnows and water
spiders, the big sycamore trees, building a dam with a buddy, mud-
crawling, dreaming about the future, being alone but not lonely,
perhaps because of the beckoning warmth of my house nearby. 
Self-monitoring. It is simple. Use the senses of the body as a
biofeedback machine. Sit down or lie down. Get relaxed and close your
eyes. Pay attention to every sensation, everything that goes on in your
body. Don't try to understand or explain what is happening, just
observe. Express in words what is happening. Scan the body and
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