Do you find it’s harder to get upset you when you’re on vacation?
I know I do.
Somehow, planning a trip, getting excited about experiences to come, arriving, checking into a hotel, taking time to enjoy meals and natural surroundings, and prioritizing myself feels good. It allows me to hit a reset button that is often overdue.
Yet, if you’re anything like me, you often wait for vacation to reset. That’s not necessary. In fact, you can go on “vacation” — in your mind’s eye — anytime you want.
Here’s a little exercise to help you enjoy a vacation whenever you have 5 minutes to spare:
- Go — or look — outside.
- Connect with nature (Earth, wind, water, or light) so you can feel it.
- Describe how you currently feel; then, choose another feeling you prefer.
- Search your memory bank for the last time you felt the feeling you’re seeking and bring that memory to the forefront of your mind.
- Integrate all five senses, so you can taste, smell, hear, touch, and see your memory vividly, with your eyes closed and mind completely focused.
- Smile as big as you can for 60 seconds, allowing your body to naturally release endorphins as you enjoy this memory.
I call this a “mini-vacation” for the mind. And, as it turns out, you can take a vacation without even having a positive memory in mind. In fact, you can decide to close your eyes, see yourself float out of your own body, looking backward at it, and off to any galaxy, universe, or location you want. From a physiological standpoint, your body — and mind — will have a nearly identical experience to actually being on vacation.
Sure, you may not ‘feel’ the warmth of the sun on your skin, or the weightless environment of space, but your body will experience many of the same chemical and hormonal reactions as if you were there in person. Your imagination is powerful, and it’s important to remember your body is probably not what needs the vacation; your mind is.
If you have 5 minutes once or twice a day, you can change your world. Perhaps the greatest gift we have is our imagination, for this allows our minds to exist in — and be present with — any reality and feeling we want.
On the other hand, our imaginations can run wild, lead us to focus on negative thoughts, and tire us by the day’s end. If you’re stuck in a cycle of considering consequences and negative outcomes, it’s the equivalent of taking a vacation in jail.
If you want to be free, happy, and loving, think about those feelings and allow yourself to go there. If you want to be a victim of your environment, I suggest you complain, begrudge, and think back on everything that’s happened to you instead of ‘for’ you.
Vacation — and bliss — are a state of mind. Give yourself a gift, and allow your mind to take you to wonderful places on a daily basis. Besides, you deserve the break. :)
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on May 24, 2017.