Are You Living on Elm Street?

To me, “Elm Street” is a metaphor for terror. Some might recognize it as a staple of Halloween. Others love the thrill and excitement, but I like to sleep at night. Sleep is hard enough to come by as it is.

I’m not a fan of using external sources of terror as a means of stimulation because I already have the ability to create enough terror on my own…media aside. Synonyms to describe this mental state might include fright, worry, or anxiety. Shakespeare was right. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Scary Times

We’re living in scary times. Yet, if you’re a student of history, most times were scary. To quote Thomas Paine, “these are the times that try men’s souls”. That was over 200 years ago, and they didn’t even have indoor plumbing. I know that alone would try my soul.

So, how are we supposed to be resilient with the circus we call life going on around us?

Ways To Chill

I often tell my clients to monitor what they see. What your eyes can picture, your mind absorbs. This is why looking at nature is so calming to people. I recently read an article about the ability of the colors blue and green to calm the frenetic nervous system. Personally, I use a binaural beats CD with sounds of the ocean waves. I imagine the color blue as I hear the waves hit the shore. It’s like a mini vacay where my hearing meets my imagination. It’s one way of tuning out the world. It’s my way of regulating my mind.

Another perk of regulating your mind is inviting your physiology for the ride up the lazy river of peace.

Biofeedback

When Elmer Green, Ph.d and his wife, Alyce, were working at The Research Department of the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, they demonstrated that ordinary people can learn to control their blood pressure, heartrate, muscle tension, and temperature. They called it “biofeedback”.

Using this method, I learned to circumvent my migraines by warming my hands from a temperature of roughly 72 degrees to 92 degrees. This was done purely by visualization. I imagined my hands dipping into hot sand at the beach or even visualized the blood from my head heading down into my fingers. As implausible as this seems, it only took about 7 minutes for me to warm my hands to this temperature. Yes, it’s easier to take a pill, but knowing I can use my own mind to control my body is pretty heady stuff.

Claim Your Power

So, we’re not total victims of our genetics, the environment, or our emotions. When we feel our terrors taking over, the power of our minds can rush in to save the day. 

In that way, we’re a little like Superman. It takes practice, but we can be our own Superhero.