I need some specific resources for breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation…anything to keep me from freaking out too much. I do exercise and it helps. A good psychiatrist would help, too!
Thanks a million. (Please don’t tell me to Google. I am appealing to the experts here, who know a little about stress.)
Rule number 1 - breathe. (if you are doing that, you are alive in this moment).
Forgive my teasing! Years ago when I was searching for resources in teaching relaxation to the couples in my chilbirth classes, I ran across “The Relaxation Response” by Dr. Benson (Herbert, I think?)
It’s a classic, very simple to understand, with a variety of easy to master techniques which I have continued to use in my own life as well as my teaching. You should be able to get a used copy for less than 10 dollars.
I might also add that Tai Chi is a very good way to be in the moment, center oneself, and relieve stress (my blood pressure always goes down!) - even a very simple routine.
Thank you, Kate! Exactly the sort of specific pointer I needed. Here is a link where Dr. Benson kindly excerpts his own book:
How could I not respond, lol. I’ve been meditating for quite some time and this is a quick, effective way to get out of the mind and into the present: allow your exhalation to be 2x as long as your inhalation. The most effective ratio I find is inhale 4 counts, exhale 8. This is actually the correct way to breathe.
If thoughts/ worries are distracting u, make a date w/ yourself to deal with those thoughts at a later time. And you MUST keep that date, or else next time u try to meditate, the mind will plague you.
In my list my of 10 rules for non traditional students is
Rule 1: Take a Breath
I mean that literally. Breath in mentally counting to 5 slowly then breath in again mentally counting to 5 slowly. This is something that you will do every day. Here are just a few examples:
If you have spent an hour and half on an organic chem problem and are ready to throw your book out the window â€“ take a breath.
If you have finished the last physics exam question but turn over the page and find that there are three more left to do â€“ take a breath.
If you have 4 chapters of bio to study but the water heater blew up, your kid is sick, your spouse has to work, & the coffee is gone â€“ take a breath
If you are questioning if english is really your first language after reading that last MCAT verbal reasoning passage â€“ take a breath
If you are rewriting your personal essay for the 17th time and still canâ€™t seem to explain why you want be a doctor â€“ take a breath
Thank you, folks. meditateonthis, I am going to try the 1:2 ratio again. I get mad air hunger, as the kids say, but then, as my ear doctor said, “you mouth breathers! Always wanting more air!”
Since this is Old Premeds, after all, maybe I can get an amen when I say I’ve been trying to calm the f. down ever since I first saw the breathing exercises in Everybody’s a Winner. I never did have a copy of Blood and Guts, but I should totally order one at this juncture.
My crisis-type stress management is not bad. I am looking for first steps on a long-term lifestyle change. Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance) is a classic, of course, but the audiobook I managed to “acquire” has a narrator’s voice that like to killed me. Too freakin’ mellow. Will have to spring for a hard copy, along with Kate429’s suggestion above.
There are some useful (legal) resources on Tara Brach’s site as well: