I’m heading off for an exciting safari vacation in several parts of Africa. Now, if only I could get rid of the cough that has been pestering me before my flight lands.
I’ve been doing my best to make it go away, using all of the usual treatments, from rest to Vitamin C. But I’ve also added something else to my arsenal that I firmly believe will help: appreciation meditations from the HeartMath Institute.
What are appreciation meditations? Quite simply, they’re a quick and simple way to focus your thoughts on things you are grateful for. And there’s proven evidence that positive feelings, such as compassion, appreciation and love, can increase your heart-rhythm coherence, reduce emotional stress and help you achieve good health. (Coherence here refers to a balance or smoothness in heart rhythms.)
So when I was in the waiting room of my eye doctor’s office, I put my hand on my heart, took slow, deep breaths, and then focused on breathing in through my heart for a count of five seconds, then out for another count of five.
And all the while, I thought about all the things I am grateful for, such as having 11 grandchildren. I reflected on many joyful moments, such as the beautiful sunsets that I see at the cottage that we rent. It’s like having a movie reel running through your head, moving from one image to another – from one thing I am grateful for to another.
What’s important is that I don’t just see the mental images, but I also bring back the positive feelings, such as appreciation, that are associated with them.
I do these same steps whenever I can, whether it’s lying in a dentist’s chair or driving in my car.
So while I am still taking Vitamin C and resting, I am putting as much belief into my appreciation meditations to try to boost my immune system any way that I can.
Let’s hope that these positive thoughts do the trick and not only get rid of my cough, but let me take in more memorable experiences and feelings of pleasure in Africa that I will appreciate, and add to my gratitude meditations.