Can You Quiet Your Mind? For law enforcement professionals the importance of being able to quiet your mind is critical as the thoughts, ideas, plans and excessive noise in our heads can become overwhelming. Even in their more mild expressions these thoughts can keep us from being focused, attentive, alert and might disturb our sleep. The profession of law enforcement can be quite toxic and contributes many direct threats to your mental and emotional well-being, not to mention your spiritual health. Things like poverty, tragedy, trauma, death and destruction can be overwhelming and thoughts about these things blend with your everyday thoughts to contribute lots of noise in your mind. Your ability to control and “quiet” that noise might become a very valuable tool in the challenge for you to be able to stay alive or to even survive a full career. Those in police work need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert, and safe. We are attaching a written procedure for quieting your mind as well as a 10 minute audio recording to guide you… through the process. Practice these every day and see if you can’t get better at calming your mind when you need to.
For advanced work try to create a “Relaxation Response” We recommend a daily session of dedicated relaxation time with elimination of excessive stress as the primary goal. According to Herbert Benson, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the author of the book The Relaxation Response, “The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress… and the opposite of the fight or flight response”. Described simply, the “Relaxation Response” triggers a dramatic decrease in heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and metabolic rate that, with dedicated practice, counteracts the harmful effects of stress. His original research indicated that you could accomplish this with four things: A quiet environment, a mental device (like repeating a word or phrase), a passive attitude (putting aside distracting thoughts and always focusing on your breathing), and a comfortable position. His further research found that only the passive attitude and mental device were really needed, and this practice can be performed with exercise as long as the activity is repetitious and the intent is always to clear your mind of distractions and return your focus to your repeated word in sync with your breathing rate. You can call this meditation or “quiet time” if you prefer but there are many ways to accomplish it.
A daily stress management regime could include any of these types of Stress Management Practices: Deep Breathing Meditation or Quiet Time Progressive Muscle Relaxation Creative Visualization Guided Meditation The Relaxation Response – Coupling Activity and Breathing Read more on CopsAlive.com at: https://www.copsalive.com/a-stress-management-prescription-for-law-enforcement/
CLICK HERE for a copy of our CopsAlive.com Stress Management 10 minute Roll Call Discussion Training Key (Rc10m)
Instructions for Quieting Your Mind Sit comfortably in a chair (you can lie down if you prefer) Let your arms rest comfortable in your lap or on the arms of the chair Set you feet flat on the floor Close your eyes and breath deeply for a minute or so Get into a four count breathing cycle like this: Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, hold for a count of four then keep repeating the cycle Stay like this for 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, however long you prefer Try to let your mind relax and don’t think about anything Focus on your breathing as the breath comes into and out of your body Try not to think of anything just become a quiet “observer” or your thoughts as they pass through your mind If your mind stays busy, don’t worry, just let the thoughts pass and remain an observer Set a timer or alarm for the desired amount of time to signal you when to finish After your timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and stretch your muscles Try to repeat this often, perhaps once or twice daily, especially when you are feeling stressed.
CLICK HERE to download a PDF copy of these Instructions for Quieting Your Mind
CLICK THE REPLAY BUTTON to play our Quiet Mind 10 minute audio or click below to download: CLICK HERE to download an mp3 recording of a basic 10 minute guided Quiet Mind Session
Photo Credit: Soundwave by j baer on as Creative Commons on Flickr.com
Information and Books for Further Study:
Loren Christensen’s website http://www.lorenchristensen.com/ Book: Meditation for Warriors: Practical Meditation for Cops, Soldiers and Martial Artists By Loren W. Christensen Available at: http://www.lwcbooks.com/Christensen, Loren W. Meditation for Warriors: Practical Meditation for Cops, Soldiers and Martial Artists. Portland, Oregon: LWC Books, 2013.
Learn to do more advanced work with these books:
Wimberger, Lisa. New Beliefs, New Brain: Free Yourself from Stress and Fear. Studio City, California: Devine Arts Media, 2012.
Anderson, Wayne and David Swenson and Daniel Clay. Stress Management For Law Enforcement Officers. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995.
Benson, Herbert and Miriam Z. Klipper. The Relaxation Response. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
Stahl, Bob and Elisha Goldstein. A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2010.
Check out all the great stuff at MIT Medical’s Community Wellness page: http://medweb.mit.edu/wellness/resources/downloads.html
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has some free recordings on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/relaxation-audio-sessions/id431727868?mt=10
Thanks to our friends down under at the University of Western Sydney for these relaxation recordings: http://www.uws.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/counselling_services/stress_and_your_wellbeing/relaxation_recordings
Wellness Podcasts from the Mental Health Foundation of the United Kingdom http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/podcasts/
Investigate these Relaxation Techniques from Hobart and William Smith Colleges: http://www.hws.edu/studentlife/counseling_relax.aspx
The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs through the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital offers relaxation recordings. Click this link for more information. http://www.columbiamo.va.gov/services/Relaxation_Recordings.asp
The McKinley Health Center offers relaxation exercises here: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/units/health_ed/relax_relaxation_exercises.htm
Loyola University in Maryland offers some Relaxation Resources that you can find at: https://www.loyola.edu/department/counselingcenter/students/relaxation.aspx
UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center offers a number of Free Guided Meditations on their website: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Kansas State University offers samples of their bio-feedback relaxation exercises here: http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/student/biofedbk/bfsample.html
Please send me an email, or leave a comment in the box below, and let me know if this information and these materials were helpful to you!
John Marx – Editor of CopsAlive.com
CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article. At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.
Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE
The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency. To learn more CLICK HERE
Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE
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I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!
Law Enforcement officers need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert and safe. Police officers need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert and safe. Those in police work need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert and safe.
Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading CopsAlive.com!
Readers may also wish to reference the February 3, 2014 issue of “Time” magazine for an article on the subject of mindfulness. These techniques, and variations thereof, can be very effective in dealing with stress.