Mind-Body

Exercises

Below you will find evidence-based practices from the fields of mindfulness, gratitude, self-compassion, and life purpose. We chose those that are short and easy to implement in a busy schedule. In addition, we adapted them to the use of skincare and massage products. This make it easier to start using them systematically and also gives you synergistic effects.

Practice makes perfect. Your goal should be to make some of these exercises a daily routine. Consistency increases the positive effects dramatically since it transforms isolated practices into a lifestyle. Even several minutes a day can bring dramatic improvement in your health and functionality. For best results, choose a quiet place and practice during the same time every day. Mornings and evenings work best. Short five-minute breaks during the day are also great. 

Mindfulness Exercises

 

Mindfulness is a practice that comes from the East and may sound foreign to typical Westerners. Another word for it, more aligned with our Western culture, is attention training. Our attention and focus are essential for healthy functioning and are strong determinants of performance at work, stress levels, and emotional/mental health. Most people are victims of the so called "monkey mind" or compulsive thinking about past failures or future stressors. However, there are simple, easy to adopt techniques for training the mind to serve our needs. These practices are as basic and essential as brushing your teeth. Decades of research by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts and other labs have demonstrated that turning them into a daily routine can have dramatic effects on our health and well-being.

Our model utilizes principles of classical and instrumental conditioning in order to turn healthy practices into a daily habit. To facilitate that process, we adapted established mindfulness exercises to typical daily routines such as having a skincare regimen. This way a familiar, established activity is used to facilitate the acquisition of a new, healthy habit.

General Instructions:

1 – Use while having a facial mask.

2 – Use during a massage/Chi Machine session

3 – Use when applying a cream

4 – Use when having a Alpha-Stim treatment or on an inversion table

5 – Use while having a Perfectio LED session

 

EXERCISE 1: MINDFUL SKIN CARE (1, 3, 5)

• Apply creams slowly and with pleasure.

• Focus on the sensation of the cream/Perfectio on your face and hands.

• Notice colors, smells, and texture of creams.

• Don’t talk or watch TV while applying creams. Try to have your focus on the sensations rather than on the past or future.

EXERCISE 2: THE BASIC MINDFULNESS PRACTICE (1, 2, 4, 5)

Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. Here’s how to tune into mindfulness throughout the day:

1. Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.

2. Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Easier said than done, we know.

3. Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.

4. Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.

5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.

EXERCISE 3: THREE-MINUTE BREATHING BREAK (from the pioneers of MBCT—John Teasdale, Mark Williams, and Zindel Segal. Helps people attain the being mode). (1, 5)

This breathing break is like practicing thought awareness. You might recognize that you are feeling something painful. You label your thoughts, allowing them to exist in your mind, and know that they will pass. The lifetime of an emotion, even a very unpleasant one, is no longer than ninety seconds—unless you try to chase it away or engage with it. Then it lasts longer. The breathing break is a way to keep negative emotions from living past their natural life spans.

You can make it a habit, so it helps anchor it in a daily activity. Use it during a Perfectio session on while using a facial mask. At some point, you will automate the process and you’ll be able to apply it wherever you are.

You can picture this exercise like an hourglass—invite whatever is present in your mind broadly, then focus narrowly on the breath, and then expand awareness out to your full surroundings. Here’s our modified version:

1. Becoming aware: Sit upright and close your eyes. Connect with your breathing for a long inhalation and exhalation. With this awareness, ask yourself, “What is my experience right now? What are my thoughts? Feelings? Bodily sensations?” Wait for the responses. Acknowledge your experience and label your feelings, even if they are unwanted. Notice any pushing away of your experience, and soften around it, allowing space for all that comes up in your awareness.

2. Gathering your attention: Gently direct your full attention to your breathing. Notice each inhalation and each long exhalation. Follow each breath, one after another. Use your breathing as an anchor into this present moment. Tune in to a state of stillness that is always there right below the surface of your thoughts. This stillness allows you to come from a place of being (versus doing).

3. Expanding your awareness: Sense your field of awareness expanding around you, around your breathing, around your whole body. Notice your posture, your hands, your toes, your facial muscles. Soften any tension. Befriend all of your sensations, greet them with kindness. With this expanded awareness connect with your whole being, encompassing all that is you in the present moment.

This breathing break calms your body and offers you more control over your stress reactions. It shifts your thinking away from the doing mode and moves it toward the peaceful being mode.

WHY BREATH WORK IS SO IMPORTANT: RELEASE MENTAL PRESSURE, RELEASE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Our breath is a window into knowing and regulating our mind-body. It is an important switch influencing the communication between brain and body. It’s sometimes easier to change our breath to relax than to change our thoughts. When we breathe in, our heart rate goes up. When we exhale, our heart rate goes down. By having a longer exhalation than inhalation, we can slow our heart rate more, and we can also stimulate the vagus nerve. Breathing into our lower belly (abdominal breathing) stimulates the sensory pathways of the vagus nerve that go directly to our brain, which has an even more calming effect. Dr. Stephen Porges, an expert in understanding the vagus nerve, has shown why there is a strong link between the vagus nerve, breath, and feelings of social safety. Many mind-body techniques naturally stimulate the vagus nerve, sending our brain those critical safety signals.

Countless studies have shown that focused breathing (belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing) can lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve cognitive abilities, and prevent disease.

Exercises that slow breathing, such as mantra meditation or paced breathing, are a reliable way to lower blood pressure. You are slowing down your body’s need to be aroused. You are turning up the volume on your vagus nerve activity, suppressing the sympathetic nervous system and slowing your heart rate even more. The vagus also turns on growth and restorative processes.

EXERCISE 4: HEART-FOCUSED MEDITATION (1, 2, 4, 5)

Sit comfortably. Take some long and slow inhales and even longer exhales.

Continue to breathe in, and breathe out, repeating a calming word or hold a beautiful image each time you breathe out slowly. Notice the pause between the breaths.

Become aware of your thoughts: “Where are my thoughts right now?” Smile at each of them as they pass through your mind; then return to your exhalation word or image.

Place your hands (palms or fingers) on your heart. You might say to yourself “Ahhh” as you exhale. Let the burdens you are holding release and flow out of your body.

“May I be in peace.”

“May my heart be filled with kindness.”

“May I be a source of kindness for others.”

Picture your heart radiating love. Picture a pet or person that you feel complete love for. Let that love radiate out toward others in your life.

Continue to breathe in, and breathe out slowly. Notice where you are holding in tension. As you exhale, let yourself feel enveloped in safety, warmth, and kindness.

EXERCISE 5: MINDFUL EATING (General)

• Mind – gut connection: It takes 20 minutes for our brain

to register fullness.

• Eat slower; put down fork between bites.

• Notice colors, smells, and texture of foods; chew slowly.

• Don’t eat in front of the TV.

• Take small bites & chew well.

• Learn portion control.

Ref. Harvard Medical School, 2010

Gratitude Exercises

A host of recent studies have examined the effects of gratitude on health and well-being, and these clinical trials, laboratory experiments, and large-scale surveys have revealed that the practice of gratitude has dramatic, lasting, and positive results: every time.

The effects of gratitude are not limited to the physical realm. Gratitude increases self-esteem, enhances willpower, strengthens relationships, deepens spirituality, boosts creativity, and improves athletic and academic performance.

Gratitude recruits other positive emotions, such as joy, contentment, and hope, and these produce direct physical benefits through the immune and endocrine systems. A grateful perspective on life is a stress-buster, so grateful people are more equipped than others to deal with uncertainties, ambiguities, and situations that trigger anxiety.

General Instructions:

1 – Use while having a mask.

2 – Use during a massage/Chi Machine session

3 – Use when applying a cream

4 – Use when having a Alpha-Stim treatment or on an inversion table

5 – Use while having a Perfectio LED session

EXERCISE 1: Express gratitude for being alive (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Upon waking—and before mentally jumping into your to-do list—see what it feels like to think “I am alive!” and welcome in the day. Even though you can’t know or control what the future holds, you can turn your attention to the beauty of having a fresh new day and acknowledge some small thing you are grateful for.

EXERCISE 2: Expressing your thanks (1, 4, 5)

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a mental gratitude letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life.

Better yet, write a gratitude letter, send it, or read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. On occasion, write one to yourself.

Template:

The other day, I felt really glad when ................. (name or describe the person in your reflection) took the time, or made the effort to .................. (say what he or she did). I know that this person could have..................... (another path he or she could have taken, perhaps in self-interest) but lucky for me, this person chose to..................................... (another brief description of what he or she did). This action ............................. (say how it affected you, practically) and made me feel ............................. (say how it affected you, personally). 

Thank you ............................ (identify the person again)

EXERCISE 3: Things you’re grateful for (1, 2, 4, 5).

Think of a large or small thing you’re grateful for. Be specific and relive the sensations you felt as you remember what each thing means to you.

Writing it down is even better.

Spend 15 minutes every evening writing about an event, experience, or relationship that you are grateful for. Writing it down leads to a deeper level of processing, which has a longer, more sustained effect on your mood. About an hour before you go to bed is a good time to do this, and write about something different each night.

EXERCISE 3A:

 

Think of 4 or 5 related things for which you are grateful. For example, when feeling stressed at work, try to think about several things that you like about your job. You can do the same with relationship stress, financial stress, or other daily hassles. The more you gently remind yourself of the positives, the more easily a shift toward gratitude can occur.

EXERCISE 4: Thinking pleasant thoughts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

After you get into bed, or every time you use a product, try to focus on pleasant thoughts – good things happening to your family or friends; the soothing sounds in your bedroom; how fortunate you are to be in good health; future plans, such as holidays or an upcoming trip; enjoyable things you did during the past few days; how relaxed you are feeling; good things that other people have done for you in the past few days.

EXERCISE 5: Brain with Gratitude (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The need for novelty and change is hardwired into our brains. The substantia nigra/ventral segmental (SN/VTA), an area in the mid-brain, responds to novel stimuli. Whether you keep a diary, post gratitudes on your social media outlets, or just think grateful thoughts, focus on surprising events, unexpected kindnesses, new and unusual experiences and these will activate your SN/VTA. This area of the brain links memory and learning centers, so keeping your gratitudes fresh and new will be cognitively and neurally beneficial. 

An element of surprise helps us to hold on to gratitude. Try this exercise every other evening for a week. Ask yourself in what ways did my gratitude surprise me today? We can begin to seek out occasions to be surprised, and with that, use our mind to change our brain to benefit our mind.

EXERCISE 6: Do not compare yourself to others (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

If you compare yourself with people you perceive as having more advantages, you feel less secure. Wanting more is related to increased anxiety and unhappiness. A healthier comparison is to imagine life without the pleasure that you now enjoy. Focus on the enjoyable sensations that our products give you and be grateful for it.

EXERCISE 7: Three good things (1, 2, 4, 5)

Think of three things that went well for you recently.

Why did they go well?

How grateful did they make you feel?

Did you tell anyone about them?

EXERCISE 8: Do a downward comparison (1, 2, 4, 5)

When we encounter a misfortune along our way, we can suddenly realize, by comparison, how blessed we are. Seeing others struggle with poverty or illness helps us not to take our own abundance or health for granted.

Recall a situation in which you encountered misfortune that, in turn, increased your awareness of your own blessing.

EXERCISE 9: Focus on your positive sides (1, 2, 4, 5)

Notice all the areas in your life where you excel, and be grateful for them. Focus on one thing that you’re good at, and express gratitude for what you have. Soon, this will become a sort of habit, and you will never experience bouts of envy.

EXERCISE 9A: Recall an important personal success that you are grateful for, such as winning an award, receiving an academic distinction, getting the job promotion. Maybe you had to overcome enormous obstacles, demonstrating determination and perseverance. The steeper the challenge, the sweeter the victory.

EXERCISE 10: Convert adversity into prosperity (1, 2, 4, 5)

Even when bad things happen, they ultimately have positive consequences, which we can then be grateful for. Focus on those outcomes.

  • What kinds of things do you now feel thankful for?

  • What personal strengths have grown out of your experience?

  • How has the event made you better able to meet the challenges of the future?

  • How has the bad experience benefited you?

  • How has it put your life into perspective?

EXERCISE 11: The Amazing Power of Grace (1, 2, 4, 5)

What does grace look like and feel like to you? How would you describe it? Ask yourself the following:

  • Have you ever experienced grace? What were the circumstances? What were the distinguishing features of the grace you received?

  • Is grace a frequent or rare experience for you? If rare, what has blocked you from receiving grace in your life?

EXERCISE 12: The Flow of Gifts (1, 2, 4, 5)

See the products in The Happy Doctor package as gifts that you received from life. Do the following exercise while using the products and let them be the focus of your gratitude. This simple exercise encourages you to consider the good things in your life.

Focus for a moment on your life's gifts. These could be simple, everyday pleasures like the ones you experience using a soothing cream or a massage. Or these could be people in your life, your personal strengths or talents, moments of natural beauty, or gestures of kindness you have received from others. Slowly repeat the word “gift” or a phrase such as “I am gifted” or “I have been gifted” several times.

Now try to experience these gifts. Enrich the gift by savoring it, relishing it, delighting in it, thinking about what your life would be like without it. Instead of taking it for granted, take it as granted. 

EXERCISE 13: Appreciate Yourself (1, 2, 4, 5)

Take an inventory of all the good things you have done for others. Spend a few minutes thinking of those things. Celebrate your own goodness.

EXERCISE 14: Share the Goodness 

How can you show gratitude for the many gifts you have received? Resolve to give back one act of goodness each day for a week.

Tell a friend about something someone did for you, and say why it mattered.

Invite a friend to do something you know that he or she has always wanted to do but never had the opportunity.

Offer to run an errand or perform a chore for a friend or neighbor, one you know they don't enjoy, such as raking leaves or mowing the lawn.

When people serve you in a shop or restaurant, or anywhere else, let their supervisor know what an amazing job they are doing.

Self-compassion Exercises

Anxiety is a major component in the aging of our bodies. Researchers have found that people who suffer from chronic anxiety have poor health and tend to age faster. The longer the anxiety persists, the stronger the negative effects on our health. But when the anxiety is resolved and the person feels better, our cells can restore their healthy functioning. This is a strong argument in favor of identifying and treating anxiety. Sometimes, though, it is hard to spot. Anxiety can seem normal when you’re accustomed to feeling it, when it’s the air that you breathe.

Self-compassion exercises are one of the most effective ways to get rid of anxiety. They teach you how to have kindness toward yourself, that you are not alone in your suffering, and the ability to face difficult emotions without getting lost in them. Instead of beating yourself up, you treat yourself with the same warmth and understanding you’d extend to a friend.

The Self-Compassion Scale

You can start with an objective assessment of how self-compassionate or not you are. The Self-Compassion Scale measures the degree to which people show self-kindness or harsh self-judgment, have common humanity or feel isolated by their imperfection, and are mindful of or overidentify with their suffering.

The following statements describe how you act toward yourself in difficult times. Read each statement carefully before answering, and to the left of each item indicate how often you behave in the stated manner on a scale of 1 to 5. For the first set of items, use the following scale, 1 represents Almost Never and 5 Almost Always:

_______I try to be understanding and patient toward those aspects of my personality I don't like.

_______When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation.

_______I try to see my failings as part of the human condition.

_______When I'm going through a very hard time, I give myself the caring and tenderness I need.

_______When something upsets me, I try to keep my emotions in balance.

_______When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people.

 

For the next set of items use the following scale (notice that the endpoints of the scale are reversed from those above. 1 represents Almost Always and 5 Almost Never:

_______When I fail at something important to me, I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy.

_______When I'm feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am.

_______When I fail at something that's important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure.

_______When I'm feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that's wrong.

_______I'm disapproving and judgmental about my own flows and inadequacies.

_______I'm intolerant and impatient toward those aspects of my personality I don't like.

How to score your test:

Total (sum of all 12 items) Mean score = Total/12

Average overall self-compassion scores tend to be around 3.0 on the 1-5 scale, so you can interpret your overall score accordingly. As a rough guide, a score of 1-2.5 for your overall self-compassion score indicates you are low in self-compassion compassion, 2.5-3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5-5.0 means you are high in SC.

Exercises

We incorporate the self-compassion exercises developed by Dr. Neff into a daily regimen of skin care and massage which allows you to get synergistic positive effects for your physical body and emotional well-being. Physical gestures of warmth and self-care can tap into your caregiving system, especially if you’re calling up emotions of kindness in the same time. This process releases oxytocin that helps change your bio-chemistry. The important thing is that when you start acting kindly towards yourself, feelings of true warmth and caring eventually follow.

We will ask you to repeat certain words and phrases while using the products. Initially, these phases may sound hollow to you, like a cliché. With practice, though, you will learn to relate to them and make them meaningful. Even when just repeated mechanically, these short mantras have a powerful effect on your mind and body, especially when combined with the feel good sensation of a warm and soothing touch. Trust the process.

Self-compassion and the use of self-care products - Soothing Touch

Self-care in the midst of difficulty is self-compassion – a kindly response to stress and suffering. Self-compassion is much more than training the mind. Behavioral self-compassion is a safe and effective way of practicing self-compassion. It anchors the SC practice in daily self-care experiences such as skin care and massage.

It is useful to harness the power of physical touch to help you trigger the compassion (relaxation) response. By touching your face in a gentle and caring way – applying a soft cream or a warm LED, you can help yourself feel comforted and allow kindness to stream through your hand into your body. You need to find a manner of physical touch that feels genuinely supportive so that you can use it to care for yourself when you are under stress.

 

General Instructions:

1 – Use while having a mask.

2 – Use during a massage/Chi Machine session

3 – Use when applying a cream

4 – Use when having a Alpha-Stim treatment or on an inversion table

5 – Use while having a Perfectio LED session

 

How to use the products and exercises together.

When using a skin care product or a massager, try to immerse yourself in the experience, savoring it to the fullest. Return your mind to the sensations again and again when you notice it has wandered away. Bring gentle, friendly awareness to the activity until it has been completed.

EXERCISE 1: Acceptance (1, 2, 4, 5)

Stress is a part of being a medical professional and it’s a healthy attitude to acknowledge it as such. Say:

I encounter suffering every day and it is perfectly normal to feel pressure, sadness, or to be overwhelmed by my work day. Many caregivers are going through similar situations. I accept this as part of my role of helping others. I am not going to be hard on myself but rather agree to take every part of my work with understanding of the whole. May I be kind to myself. I am kind to myself by taking care of myself.

Perfectio: Focus on the pleasant sensation of sliding the Perfectio unit on you skin. Focus on the warmness. Imagine that this is the warmness you feel for yourself and for others.

Take a deep breath, and say to yourself, “May I be kind to myself.” You can use a different statement that reflects your needs in the moment, including any of the following:

• I accept myself as I am, a work in progress.

• May I learn to accept myself as I am.

• May I forgive myself.

• May I be strong.

• May I be patient

I• will be as kind to myself as possible.

EXERCISE 1A: Say this phrase every time you apply a cream or use any other product (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Say:

I am kind to myself

You can ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation?

EXERCISE 2: Taking care of the caregiver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

You work in a care-giving profession so you’ll need to recharge your batteries and have enough energy available to give to others. Give yourself permission to meet your own needs, recognizing that this will not only enhance your quality of life, it will also enhance your ability to be there for those that rely on you. For instance, while applying a cream, remind yourself that you are taking care of your skin and appearance. This will allow you to keep your heart open, and increase your capacity to care for and nurture others.

EXERCISE 3: How would you treat a friend? (1, 2, 4, 5)

Think of a situation that is stressful or causes you discomfort. How do you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when he or she is suffering?

First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? What would you typically do or say (note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends).

Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? What do you typically do and say (note the tone in which you talk to yourself).

Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?

Please consider how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.

EXERCISE 4: Exploring self-compassion through the eyes of another (1, 3, 5)

Think about a friend who is unconditionally loving, accepting, kind and compassionate. Imagine that this friend can see all your strengths and all your weaknesses. Reflect upon what this friend feels towards you, and how you are loved and accepted exactly as you are, with all your very human imperfections. This friend recognizes the limits of human nature, and is kind and forgiving towards you.

Perfectio: Imagine that your friend is giving you the facial treatment that you are experiencing now. The warmth and smoothness of the Perfectio represent the love and acceptance your friend feels for you. Relax fully and immerse yourself in this pleasant and soothing sensation, in the same time allowing your heart to open for all the love and kindness you deserve.

EXERCISE 4A: When applying a cream or serum

Think of someone who loves and accepts you unconditionally, who is kind and compassionate towards you. Feel their compassion as it pours into you, soothing and comforting you like a cool breeze on a hot day. Love, connection and acceptance are your birthright. To claim them you need only look within yourself.

EXERCISE 5: (1, 2, 4, 5)

Think of 1-3 things you appreciate about yourself. The first few things that come to mind may be somewhat superficial. See if you can open to what you really, deep down, like and appreciate about yourself. Please take your time and be honest.

EXERCISE 6: The three components of self-compassion (1, 2, 4, 5)

There are three distinct elements of the self-compassion practice that have shown tremendous benefits for stress reduction and improved well-being. The first one is validating the negative emotion you are experiencing (“I am scared”, “This is painful”). The second one is acknowledging the common humanity of this experience (“everyone else goes through pretty much the same”). The third element is kind and positive self-talk (“May I be kind to myself”). This particular one is the hardest to master because initially most people feel stupid repeating ready-made phrases to themselves. The fact is that this works and it’s all a matter of practice for these phrases to come to life and become full of meaning for you.

Instructions: Recall a situation in your life that is bothering you, such as a health issue, a relationship conflict, or perhaps a work problem.

  1. Say whatever word or expression that feels true to your situation: “This is painful.” “This is stressful.” “This is really hard right now.”

  2. Acknowledge the reality of suffering: “Suffering is a part of life.” Say something that reminds you of our common humanity and that this pain is not unique to you: “I’m not alone.” “Everyone feels this way sometimes.” “We all struggle in our lives.” “This is part of being human.”

  3. Apply a product (Perfectio, facial cream/mask, massager) that feels soothing and comforting. Take a deep breath, and say to yourself, “May I be kind to myself.” You can use a different statement that reflects your needs in the moment, including any of the following:

 

• I accept myself as I am, a work in progress.

• May I learn to accept myself as I am.

• May I forgive myself.

• May I be strong.

• I will be as kind to myself as possible.

EXERCISE 7: Self-Compassion Break (1, 2, 3, 5)

This practice is similar to exercise 1 and is a way to help remind ourselves to apply the three core components of self-compassion – mindfulness (validating our emotions), common humanity, and kindness (self-talk) when difficulties arise in our lives. It also harnesses the power of soothing touch to help us feel safe and cared for. It's important to find language that is effective for you personally – you don't want to have an internal argument about whether the words make sense. For example, some people prefer the word struggle to the word suffering, or prefer the word support or protect to the word kindness. Try out a few different variations and then practice what works for you.

After reading through these instructions, you may want to try them out with your eyes closed so you can go inward more deeply.

Think of a situation in your life that is causing you stress, such as a health problem, relationship problem, work problem, or some other struggle. Choose a problem in the mild to moderate range, not a big problem, as we want to build the resource of self-compassion gradually.

Visualize the situation clearly in your mind's eye. What is the setting?

Who is saying what to whom? What is happening? What might happen? Can you feel discomfort in your body as you bring this difficulty to mind? If not, choose a slightly more difficult problem.

Now, try saying to yourself: "This is a moment of suffering."

That's mindfulness (validation). Perhaps other wording speaks to you better. Some options are:

• This hurts.

• Ouch.

• This is stressful.

Now, try saying to yourself: "Suffering is a part of life." That's common humanity. Other options include:

• I'm not alone.

• Everyone experiences this, just like me.

• This is how it feels when people struggle in this way.

Now, offer yourself the gesture of soothing touch with a cream, LED, or a massager. And try saying to yourself: "May I be kind to myself" or "May I give myself what I need." Perhaps there are particular words of kindness and support that you need to hear right now in this difficult situation. Some options may be:

• May I accept myself as I am.

• May I begin to accept myself as I am.

• May I forgive myself.

• May I be strong.

• May I be patient.

If you're having difficulty finding the right words, imagine that a dear friend or loved one is having the same problem as you. What would you say to this person? What simple message would you like to deliver to your friend, heart to heart? Now see if you can offer the same message to yourself.

EXERCISE 8: A Living Being That Makes You Smile (1, 2, 4, 5)

Bring to mind a person or other living being who naturally makes you smile -someone with whom you have an easy, uncomplicated relationship. This could be a child, your grandmother, your cat or dog-whoever naturally brings happiness to your heart. If many people or other living beings arise, just choose one.

Let yourself feel what it's like to be in that being's presence. Allow yourself to enjoy the good company. Create a vivid image of this being in your mind's eye.

Now, recognize how this being wishes to be happy and free from suffering, just like you and every other living being. Repeat silently, feeling the importance of your words:

• May you be happy.

• May you be peaceful.

• May you be healthy.

• May you live with ease. (Repeat several times, slowly and gently.)

You may wish to use your own phrases if you have ones you normally work with, or continue to repeat these phrases.

When you notice that your mind has wandered, return to the words and the image of the loved one you have in mind. Savor any warm feelings that may arise. Take your time.

Now add yourself to your circle of goodwill. Create an image of yourself in the presence of your loved one, visualizing you both together.

• May we be happy.

• May we be peaceful.

• May we be healthy.

• May we live with ease. (Repeat several times, slowly and gently.)

Finally, repeat the phrases only addressing yourself.

• May I be happy.

• May I be peaceful.

• May I be healthy.

• May I live with ease. (Repeat several times, slowly and gently.)

EXERCISE 9: Love yourself (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Focus on the pleasant sensation of the skin treatment or massage. You are caring for yourself because you deserve it. Choose one or more of the following phrases depending on your preference:

• I love you.

• I'm here for you.

• You're a good person.

• May I love myself just as I am.

• May I feel safe and secure.

• May I know my own goodness.

EXERCISE 10: Relate to your good qualities (1, 2, 4, 5)

Send kindness and appreciation to yourself by focusing on the good you bring into the world by helping your patients. Note everything positive that you did that day – a moment of kindness, a success, a small accomplishment. Being a medical professional allows you to experience many moments like this - when you helped someone heal or made them feel better. Remember these moments and savor the sensation of relief and gratitude the patient experienced as well as the smile on their face. Try to say something appreciative about it, such as "That was well done."

EXERCISE 11: Finding Loving-Kindness Phrases (1, 2, 4)

This exercise is designed to help you discover loving-kindness and compassion phrases that are deeply meaningful to you. If you already have phrases and wish to continue using them, try this exercise as an experiment and don't feel you need to change your phrases.

Take a moment and allow your heart to open gently - to become receptive - like a flower opens in the warm sun.

Then ask yourself this question, allowing the answer to arise naturally within you:

"What do I need?" "What do I truly need?"

If this need has not been fulfilled in a given day, your day does not feel complete. Let the answer be a universal human need, such as the need to be connected, loved, peaceful, free.

How do we know when we have found a good phrase? Gratitude! With gratitude, there is no more longing. We are complete. The heart is at rest. It may take a while to find phrases that work for you like that, but it's worth the effort.

EXERCISE 12: Intention to forgive (1, 2, 4, 5).

Medical professional work in a stressful environment where interactions with colleagues and patients may sometimes escalate into conflicts, a sense of resentment, or even anger and frustration. Use the following phrase to shake all negativity off:

May I begin to forgive (name) for what he/she did, wittingly or unwittingly, to have caused me pain/discomfort/other negative sensation.

EXERCISE 13: Removing pain (5).

If you find yourself in a difficult situation that causes you physical pain or discomfort, take a self-compassion break to soothe yourself. Place the Perfectio unit over the part of your body that feels uncomfortable and just feel the gentle touch of its warm head. Imagine the warmth as kindness flowing into your body. Maybe even thinking of your body as if it were the body of a beloved child. You will feel better soon.

EXERCISE 13A: Lower back pain (2).

Bring your awareness to your lower back while having a massage - a lot of stress is stored in the lower back. If you notice any discomfort or tension, you might imagine your muscles relaxing, melting with tenderness. Feel ease and well-being in this body part. If you have judgments or unpleasant sensations there, perhaps you can let your heart soften in sympathy for the struggle, imagine the massage as a gesture of compassion and support.

Think of the wonder of walking on two legs. The lower back allows that to happen and suffers the most. Send some gratitude to this part of the body and fill it with warmth and kindness.

EXERCISE 14: Embracing our bodies with self-compassion

Having compassion for physical imperfection, especially with the aging process, is difficult in a competitive culture that is obsessed with appearance. We are surrounded by unrealistic media images, making it almost impossible not to be dissatisfied with how we look. Our only option is to accept the fact that we aren't perfect, do the best we can, and love ourselves anyway. This exercise is designed to help you accept yourself:

Say in a compassionate voice while using the Perfectio unit or applying a cream/mask:

"I love you and I don't want you to suffer." Or if it feels more authentic, say something like "I deeply care about you and that's why I'd like to help you make a change and look better." Or "I'm here for you and will support you."

EXERCISE 15: The power of association

If you found a product that you enjoy a lot, one that works well together with the practices, try using it whenever you feel stress or emotional pain in everyday life. By helping your body feel cared for, you will make it easier for your mind and heart to follow. This practice comes from EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) training and is based on the psychological principle of classical conditioning. In layman terms, you start associating the physical pleasure and relaxation a product produces with the mental relaxation and calm from an exercise. At some point, the use of the product will automatically activate the associated response even without the use of the exercise.

Concluding Remarks

Try not to criticize yourself if your attention wandered during these exercises or if you found some parts frustrating, or even boring. Some people are not very rested in their bodies, or they prefer not to linger in their bodies for very long. Other people have the experience of being finally "home". Everybody is different. Allow yourself to have whatever experience you had and allow yourself to be just as you are, with great kindness. That's mindfulness and self-compassion.

Dr. Neff’s website, https://self-compassion.org/, offers an 8-week self-compassion course along with a variety of exercises and guided meditations.

Life Purpose Exercises

Researchers have found that doing good, or experiencing meaning by serving someone or something outside yourself, is a major component of good health and happiness. Medical professionals fall naturally in that category due to the essence of their work. However, they can easily forget their life purpose when overwhelmed and exposed to chronic stress. 

We integrate life purpose exercises into a daily regimen of skin care and massage which allows you to get synergistic positive effects for your physical and emotional well-being. This unique combination of methods will reinforce your sense of purpose while helping you to incorporate daily self-care as an essential component of a meaningful life.

Every time you use a product, remind yourself that your life serves a higher purpose. Remind yourself also that you deserve to feel good and that the better you feel, the better you can serve others.

General Instructions:

1 – Use while having a mask.

2 – Use during a massage/Chi Machine session

3 – Use when applying a cream

4 – Use when having a Alpha-Stim treatment or on an inversion table

5 – Use while having a Perfectio LED session

EXERCISE 1: Finding your purpose (1, 2, 4, 5)

At the deepest level, the human race has a shared purpose. Ask yourself then, "What do I think is the purpose of humanity?" I know this is a BIG question, but don't let your ego put you off. You are a fully paid member of the human race and are equally qualified, along with everyone else, to answer this question. Be still and listen. Visualize how humanity needs to grow and how you want to grow. Think about what the human race still needs to learn and what you need to learn. Reflect on what is your shared purpose with all of humanity.

 

EXERCISE 2: Live a purposeful life (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Book a meeting with yourself, and explore this question, "From 0 to 10, how alive do I feel?" Zero represents "the living dead," and 10 represents "100 percent alive." Notice how alive you feel in your life right now, and identify what would help you to feel even more alive. In particular, name specifically what inspires you and what motivates you to show up in your life each day. To live your purpose, you have to dare to be even more of who you really are.

EXERCISE 3: Find joy in living (1, 2, 4, 5)

Placed inside every human being is a call to joy, and the purpose of your life is to answer that call. People who follow their joy experience the fullness of their being. They are the renaissance workers who evolve the consciousness of humanity. In this exercise, called "At My Happiest," identify all the occasions when you feel truly happy. Afterward, reflect on what this exercise has taught you about your true purpose in life.

 

EXERCISES 4: Your future self (1, 2)

The Process:

Step 1. The Best Possible Future Self Exercise. This has been shown to improve overall happiness and reduce goal conflict, plus a host of other benefits too. So firstly, for 20 minutes, without any self-editing at all, without limitation and with inhibition compose the response to this:

 “Think about your life in the future when you are 109 years old. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of all of your life dreams. Now, write about what you imagined”

DO NOT READ ON :) If you can help it. Please just do step one first, now.

Step 2: This is where it gets interesting. This is an exercise developed by teacher Tal Ben Shahar and his team at The Whole being Institute. Here we go.

“Imagine that your 109 year old self had access to a time machine. They jumped into that time machine and arrived to this very moment in time. They climb out, sit next to you and give you advice. What would they say?” Please write down everything (no self editing, criticism, limitation setting etc).

Step 3. Now take that advice and create a list of action points from it. Simply focus on the top three action points every day. That’s it, you’re on your way.

What you will see begin to emerge is, in essence, what gives your life some sense of meaning but, crucially what you have also articulated is a series of ‘today-steps’ that ensure that meaning does not stay in some far off, never attained future.

EXERCISES 5: The meaningful life of a medical professional (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Sample Daily Routine

Every time you use a product, remember that your life as a health care provider serves a higher purpose. You help people heal and provide them service and support on a daily basis. Remind yourself that you deserve to feel good and that the better you feel, the better you can serve others

 

MORNING

 

The most important time is the beginning of the day. The saying goes, If you win the morning, you win the day.

The first 30 minutes determine how your body will react to stress for the rest of the day. If you activate the relaxation response of the body and set a low base stress response, you will be more resilient and functional at work. How to do that:

  1. Stay in bed for 10-15 minutes after you wake up.

  2. Feel the pleasure of lying in your bed, of being relaxed, alive, and having a whole day full of opportunity ahead of you.

  3. Do a mindfulness exercise. Feel each major part of your body and focus on the sensation of it touching the sheets. Start with your feet, then calves, hips, bottom, back, and head. Thank each part for serving you well.

  4. Do a gratitude exercise. Remember something you are grateful for. Hold it in your mind for a minute with gratitude and appreciation. Say thank you.

  5. Do a breathing exercise. Inhale counting to four, hold counting to seven, and exhale counting to eight. Repeat seven times.

  6. Do your morning routine mindfully. Wash your face with presence. Apply your morning cream slowly with a focus on touching your skin. Appreciate the touch, aroma, softness. Say, “I care for myself every day”.

  7. Do a few stretching exercises for 5-10 minutes. I will send you model videos.

  8. Spend a minute greeting the sun with your eyes closed. Feel the warmth on your face and imagine it as energy that charges your being.

 

DURING THE DAY

  1. Take a break every two hours and do a quick relaxation. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and take a deep breath. If you are sitting, feel the touch of the chair where it connects to your body. If you are standing, feel the touch of your feet to the ground.

  2. Do a breathing exercise. Relax and breathe deeply for one minute. Make sure that your breath starts from the belly and then fills up the chest. Do it slowly with a focus on the breath. Say to yourself, “This is my minute and I won’t think about anything else. I appreciate myself and care for myself. I am present.” If you need to energize, for one minute breathe quickly like a dog through your mouth (you can try with your tongue out). Breaths should be moderately deep with a focus on speed. This will fill your body with oxygen and give you energy.

  3. If you feel tired, massage your ears. They have a lot of blood vessels and will increase the blood flow in your brain. You will feel vitalized immediately.

  4. Remind yourself to be present in everything you do. Sometimes we forget that and do things automatically which affects the quality of our work and wastes precious moments of our life. If we are not present, life passes us unnoticed.

  5. Remind yourself that you have a strong and noble life purpose. You help people in need, and this gives you a meaningful life.

  6. During those moment of relaxation, try to bring art and beauty in your life by reading a short poem or listening to an inspiring song.

AFTER WORK

  1. Take a power nap, 15-20 minutes. The important thing here is not so much to fall asleep but rather to fully relax your body and mind.

  2. Take a shower. Start with hot water and finish with 30 seconds cold water. Do it for seven days. During the second week, start and finish with 30 seconds cold water. During the third week, increase to one minute. Cold showers have multiple benefits for your health. They boost your immune system, increase your tolerance for discomfort and resilience, and function as a workout (blood vessels contract) so this can help you lose weight/stay in shape.

  3. Do a breathing exercise. Inhale deeply (belly and chest) and exhale 70%. Repeat 30 times. Then fully exhale and hold it like that for as long as you can. Do another set.

  4. Do a few stretching exercises for 5-10 minutes.

  5. Mentally rewind the day with an emphasis on all the things that align with your life purpose of helping others. See if there was something to be grateful for and say thank you.

 

EVENING

  1. Dim the lights one hour before going to bed. Light affects our circadian rhythm and the quality of our sleep.

  2. Don’t watch TV or be at the computer/phone one hour prior to going to bed. Instead, read a book or write in a journal. Journal writing has been shown by research to have powerful positive effects on our mental health and overall well-being.

  3. Do a Perfectio LED session for 30 minutes. Focus on the gentle sensation on your face. Feel the warmth. Say, “I care for myself. I deserve to feel good.” You can do a gratitude or self-compassion exercise as well (see the document including a list of exercises with instructions).

  4. Do your evening routine mindfully. Wash your face with presence. Apply your night cream slowly with a focus on touching your skin. Appreciate the touch, aroma, softness. Say, “I care for myself every day”.

  5. When in bed, do a mindfulness exercise. Feel each part of your body and focus on the sensation of it touching the sheets. Start with your feet, then calves, hips, bottom, back, and head. Thank each one for serving you well.

  6. Focus on your heart. Scholars have found that the heart is our second brain with more than 40 000 neurons. Some experts say that the heart gives orders to the brain which is confirmed by the much larger amount of signal that go from the heart to the brain than the other way around. Oxytocin, called the “love” hormone, is manufactured in the heart. When we care for others or for ourselves, our body releases oxytocin, endorphins and over one thousand healing biochemicals.

  7. Thank your heart. Wash it with love and light, then say a prayer for the well-being of our planet and all living creatures on it. Generate a sense of an intense emotion – joy, gratitude, extasy. Research indicates that intense emotions paired with a strong intention produce heart-brain coherence that has enormous benefits for our mental and physical health.

 

Coherence is healing. Living systems have the capacity to self-heal. Multiple studies show heart self-regulation lowers blood pressure, improves hormonal balance, and gives better recovery from heart attacks. More coherence means more health. It facilitates the body’s natural regenerative processes.

 

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  1. Start your day with lemon water. Squeeze half or a whole lemon (depending on the size) and mix it with warm water. Don’t eat anything for 10 minutes afterwards.

  2. Avoid sugar in the morning. Protein breakfast is the best.

  3. Eat regularly during the day.

  4. Drink lots of water. Green tea and Matcha tea are great for energy and have tons of antioxidants. Kombucha is also amazing in terms of hydration, energy, and healthy probiotics. Coconut water works well for quenching your thirst and supplying your body with electrolytes. Avoid soda drinks and anything with added sugar as well as iced drinks whenever possible.

  5. Be like a cat and stretch regularly for 2-3 minutes, especially if you work on a desk (do it every hour).

  6. Get a set of aromatherapy essential oils and use a few drops in a diffuser at home. There are great relaxing or vitalizing options. Keep a small bottle in you purse and smell it a few times during the day.

  7. Get well-researched supplements such as Curcumin, Ashwagandha, Astaxanthin, Omega-3, Vitamin D, enzymes, and probiotics.

  8. Start using powdered fruit & veggie supplements in smoothies. I will send you several options.

  9. Avoid dairy products except butter, kefir, and plain yogurt (look for organic options with sugar under 10 grams). Milk and most other dairy products promote inflammation in the body. There are great non-dairy milk options such as almond or oat milk.

  10.  Use plenty of organic extra virgin olive oil. It is rich in polyphenols that have an amazing effect on our health.

  11.  Avoid alcohol one hour before bed.

  12.  Exercise with weights (at home or at the gym) three times a week. Even 30 minutes can have a powerful impact. Combine with 30 minutes cardio when possible.