I’m sure most of us have heard someone say, “Dang! Is she in a zone, or what?” Perhaps you’ve enjoyed a moment when you thought or said, “Man, I am in a zone!”
What I’ll refer to as zoneness is of great relevance to all of us. And since I have so much I want to share, we’re going to handle the subject matter in two articles – maybe three. It’s that important.
My perspective on getting into a zone is when we find that very special place during an activity where everything just flows. It’s as if we’re performing so smoothly and effortlessly we feel, and appear to be, unconscious.
Being in a zone is the ultimate in intrapersonal integration and performance. Under such circumstances, the truly incredible can occur.
But please understand, the truly incredible doesn’t have to be scoring 100 points in a pick-up basketball game. I mean, finally being able to comfortably get to the grocery store and back can be the truly incredible for someone enduring panic disorder.
To your knowledge have you ever been in a zone? Perhaps you were participating in your favorite hobby or sport? Maybe it was work or school related. Heck, maybe it was about getting out of bed during a major depressive episode. Think about it, won’t you? It’s such positive personal reference material.
I’ve been in a zone while interacting with clients. When it occurs, my senses, instincts; and mental, emotional, and physical responses flow effortlessly. And the communication is clear, pure, and effective.
When I get into a zone while writing, I can sit at a keyboard and it’s an experience of harmony and rhythm. My fingers go like a well-oiled machine on autopilot, and my thoughts are absolutely right on the mark. It’s as if there’s a supernatural connection between the two.
You know, so often, getting into a zone seemingly comes out of nowhere. But in reality, the chances of experiencing zoneness greatly increase as we devote time to skills development and practice. And techniques of relaxation, mindfulness, positive self-regard, and visual/audio imagery can help us so much.
See, this is about gaining access to the unconscious mind. Don’t ever forget, as complicated as our brain/mind is; it most often does exactly what it’s told. So when we learn to use our conscious/rational mind to reach the unconscious, we can begin to do so reprogramming for change.
Tell you what – let’s try a simple guided imagery exercise, incorporating relaxation and visualization, to lay the groundwork for getting into a zone. Actually, we can even use it for some much needed mind-prep for coping with immediate or anticipated stress.
For our exercise, we’ll use the truly incredible scenario I mentioned at the beginning. Let’s say one of our greatest fears is going to the grocery store. It’s been a place of great horror for us in the past and we’re absolutely convinced we could never hit the aisles again. Here’s how I’d recommend we lay the foundation for the zoneness we’ll need for the next trip.
We need to find ourselves a comfortable place at home, or in a secluded outdoor location, where we’ve felt safe in the past. Now, let’s get all settled-in. Hey, why not employ some soothing background audio? But no words or lyrics, okay?
Let’s close our eyes and just let our minds wander for a while. There’s absolutely no hurry, so we’ll let our thoughts and feelings go wherever they will. And in short order we’ll feel ourselves becoming extraordinarily calm.
When the time feels right, let’s reel our minds in from their wandering and be mindful of our breathing. Yes, we’ll now take a few nice and efficient abdominal breaths. Hold one of your hands at diaphragm level and feel it push outward upon inhale. Good.
Now let’s stay still for a bit and notice how our breathing has become very regular and relaxed – just as nature intended. And as time ensues, we’re feeling all the more relaxed and at ease.
Okay, we’re going to tie a bow on part one; and move forward with the exercise, and more zoneness, tomorrow. HOWEVER, as long as we’re in a state of relaxation; I’d like us to go with it for a while and see where it takes us. Yes, right now, let’s go with the flow for as long as we can.
And we’ll take some mental notes. The information will be helpful when we resume.