Todd Nelson is a Naturopathic Doctor in clinical practice for 35 years. He is the co-author of 3 books on health and has contributed to 8 books on health. Todd is an expert in helping people recover their well-being by practicing exceptional self-care. Todd is a well-known speaker, both publicly and to health professionals, and does hundreds of media appearances. He is a former radio show host, and corporate wellness trainer.
Robert K. Cooper (Head of Cooper Strategies (The first to teach me what he called an instant calming sequence) www.RobertCooperPHD.com
Effect on Emotions
Mindfulness makes me calmer, more sane human being. You know, we all can get into this ... I call it the blender drink of our thoughts. You know, like when you, you do a smoothie in a blender drink, right?
And it's all smashed up and we can get whirling with so many different things in it. For me, it can connect me into this feeling of urgency and nervousness and being a little neurotic.
And so mindfulness has really helped me dissipate that soften, that, find more peace and be able to more consciously choose it at will during the day.
Thoughts on Breathing
I don't know of anything that changes your state faster than changing your breathing. Truly. I mean, if you just take a moment and go, where's my breath?
Holding my breath, my diaphragm's up in my rib cage here. How do I just take a breath? Take a sigh. Mindfully breathe through my nose, out through my mouth, even just a few breaths and just let my diaphragm drop, my whole abdomen drop.
Within anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, I can access calmness. Wow, what a neat technique. I can do that anywhere. Anytime. Any circumstance.
Yeah, you know, Bruce, when I was a kid I was a pretty sort of highly sensitive wimpy kid, not an athletic kid and definitely the one to get picked on. I was very sensitive to suffering of other kids and the underdog and suffering of animals and all sorts of things. And I remember in grade school I used to walk home from school.
There were all these wonderfully positioned bushes where these two guys would hide out and wait for me. They would jump out and want to hassle me push me around and take my lunch money, that kind of stuff.
Well, one day my father decided to hide in those bushes and wait for those to give them a dose of their own medicine. So he jumped out, scared the holy crap out of them and gave me a good talking to. And strangely enough, we all ended up being friends. Those guys were so shaken up and scared.
My dad sort of facilitated this; he was a great guy but when you ask me how mindfulness helped me later in my life, about the age of 17, I started learning Kung Fu. It was partly for self-defense but I would say out of the seven years of training I went through in Kung Fu, the core lesson that I got was being mindful, staying awake, staying present in the midst of somebody hitting me. I can't tell you how valuable that is.
It wasn't like I would have just signed up for that knowing what I was getting into necessarily. I got to a place where we would do these round robins of sparring with one another. And I was just getting overwhelmed emotionally by doing this with all these people and getting hit and hitting them.
And it was all a very controlled thing. But at one point I fell down in a fetal position and I could barely handle it.
So my instructor brought me up, facilitated me getting through the feelings of that and I went back in. I went back in and something shifted in me and I was able to stay present throughout the rest of the exercise and honestly, that stayed with me for life. I was able to go, wow, I'm just observing all this.
I'm having to spar with these people and stand my ground and defend myself and show up and stay awake and not get overwhelmed by my feelings.
When I'm in conflict or hard circumstances these days, I referenced that. I go back to that feeling state in my physiology; what we called it was the eye of the hurricane. I'm staying present in that calm core place of observation and being able to then come up with solutions to what's happening. So I practiced that for 40 years or more.