We connected with Diana Cole, a spirit translator and author of Spirit Translator: Seven Truths for Creating Well-Being and Connecting with Spirit (Essentials, 2020), for how to de-stress during challenging times.
2020 was a year for the books. People around the world have been dealing with unforeseen challenges that have wreaked havoc on emotional health and wellness. Here in the U.S., nearly 40 percent of adults are experiencing mental health issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Her advice: de-stress through stillness. Here’s how.
“I believe that a practice of stillness will help you feel connected, safe and not alone. To me, these are the three things that cause a lot of emotional stress if you’re not experiencing them,” says Cole. “When you’re able to get still—with no guided meditation or music—you’re able to tap into this place in yourself, to stop thought, stop all noise and become present in yourself. It might take a while to get used to, but as time goes on, you start feeling a deep appreciation and gratitude of your life and what is here for us.”
Take 10 minutes to sit quietly and tap into stillness: no thought, no motion, no worry about another place to be or another place to go to. Just breathe and be.
“The biggest trick is to set an alarm on your phone so you don’t feel like you’re left in a space of unknowing, you know there’s an ending,” says Cole.
Tip: Find a quiet and safe place to sit. Be sure to sit upright, do not lay down. “One of my spiritual leaders, Swami Muktananda, says ‘If the back is kept straight, the mind becomes steady in the heart’,” shares Cole.
Stillness, sooner or later, allows the noise of the mind to soften into silence, helping you de-stress. You will experience the calm confidence that comes from knowing yourself and discover a refreshing feeling of kindness that is already there waiting for you — waiting to renew your relationship with yourself and the people you encounter. Kindness and gratitude naturally come bubbling up from a well of love deep within you when you are still.
Tip: To help drown out noise, self-talk and thoughts, Cole recommends closing your eyes and watching the natural “light show.” “When you close your eyes, naturally you will see some lights behind your eyelids, so focusing on this ‘light show’ helps you focus on something so that you’re not focused on self-talk or thoughts,” says Cole. She notes that you can trigger a light show for yourself by first staring at a candle flame, then closing your eyes. “Staring at a flame will ‘trick’ your eyes into a light show and the lights will be more vibrant.”
Allow the kindness to come. Allow it to melt away the mental activities of judging, comparing and worrying that may have depleted you in the past. Let that kindness redirect your thoughts, words and actions. I assure you, joy will follow.
Tip: “One of the most powerful things you can do to counteract feelings like stress, anxiousness and anger is cultivating kindness towards yourself and others,” Cole says. “In order to achieve this, one of the best ways I know is to adopt a practice of stillness, even if you can’t yet imagine slowing down and making time for it. It may seem next to impossible now, but you can do it!”
What is a spirit translator? “Somebody who can channel messages from spirit and distill them,” explains Cole.
What is spirit? “Some people would say that when they go into a meditation, they can get inspiration or some sort of guidance, I think it would be very similar to what ‘spirit’ is,” explains Cole. “When I’m still and quiet, I can hear the voice that’s not my own self talk. I communicate with a level of intelligence (spirit) that communicates with a lot of people, and I can pull it down and distill answers.”