Like many people my life has included periods of major suffering. During one particularly tough phase in life where I was really struggling psychologically there were a couple of things I found helped which I intuitively gravitated towards.
I lived within walking distance from a beach. When weather permitted, I would sit on some rocks near the beach and watch waves. My mind was churning filled with all sorts of negative mental chatter. But the sea had the effect of calming me down and quietening my mind to some extent. It could be likened to an informal form of meditation where the effect was to provide some relief from the suffering.
The wave watching was not a cure all and certainly no magic pill. What it did allow though was some respite from the heaviness and profound sadness I was experiencing. It was during these moments of respite that I was able to better investigate what was going on in my mind and in my life. It provided a little springboard into exploring the construct we call self which then later gained momentum as some of the sadness and heaviness waned.
The other thing I found helpful, was to take very long hot showers. Essentially, I would turn the water on as hot as I could stand it and allow the water to hit my back and back of the neck. It would not be uncommon for me to have 3-4 of these hot showers during the day.
Mind you I always liked hot showers and I liked to take my time in them, but these showers were much longer in length than I would normally take. I have no recollection of making a conscious decision to take these longer hot showers. But that’s really not surprising to me as often the unconscious will take over in these kind of stressful situations.
We can understand the behaviour as an unconscious attempt to symbolically cleanse oneself. Since I was dealing with some childhood trauma among other things, it was an attempt to symbolically wash away the muck of that period. My unconscious was communicating to me that I needed to cleanse myself. The physically manifestation was the showering, but what was actually being asked of me, was to deal with and cleanse myself from a traumatic past. It’s a good lesson to bear in mind as often our actions will also be a form of communication from the unconscious.
The other aspect of those showers was that it had some immediate beneficial and tangible rewards. My shoulders, neck and back being notorious stress carriers relaxed as the water hit my skin. I found those showers to be relaxing. The heat of the water combined with a type of massage effect when the water hit my skin physically reduced my tension.
Again, this was temporary and was no magic pill solution. But like the wave watching it provided valuable respite which in turn allowed me to explore myself and my suffering much more fully. It is vitally important to find ways to not being overwhelmed in tough and stressful situations. My affinity with water was one way I managed my stress levels. There were other ways to be sure, for example, I was heavily into Tai Chi and martial arts at the time. I would also use self-hypnosis to relax myself as another example. Every little bit helped and at the time I needed every bit of help!
One of the reasons why I am drawing attention to that stressful period in my life and how water helped me, is because I have started to read a book on waters influence on healing. It is an interesting read and provides some very useful material to ponder over and put into practice in one’s life. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but already there are a few things in the book I think people would find useful.
If you have some interest in this area and want to read more about it a link to the book is below: