Mental Help Net
  •  
Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest NewsBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook Reviews
Therapist Search
Find a Therapist:
 (USA/CAN only)

Use our Advanced Search to locate a therapist outside of North America.

Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Weight Loss
Exercise
Emotional Resilience

Rick Hanson, Ph.D.Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
Just One Thing - suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart.

Developing An Inner Protector

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 24th 2014

woman outsideNot being able to find an inner protector is a real fact of the inner of world of many people. Developing one is a matter of committed practice toward one’s own well-being, which will gradually change the brain. Some steps along the way:

Look for little natural moments of the senses in which there is a feeling, no matter how small, of ease, relaxation, loosening of contraction, exhaling, satisfaction of a need (e.g., drinking water when thirsty), sinking into the sofa at the end of the day, crawling into bed – and then deliberately rest your mind upon them, stay with them in awareness, savor them, let them sink in . . . for a dozen seconds or longer. As you persist in this little practice – several times a day or more – open to it becoming a more general felt sense of at least a bit more settling in the body, feeling a little more ease, less tension . . . even a growing sense of refuge or a bit of safety in this general easing.

Also look for moments when others are at all kind, supportive, friendly, companionable, inclusive . . . even valuing, appreciative, affectionate, or loving. Consciously recognize the fact of what is happening. You may personally think you are not worthy of this positive attention, even caring, but it is an undeniable fact that the other person thinks you are! Next, gently prod yourself to let this factual recognition become an emotional experience, even a subtle or mild one, of feeling cared about, that you matter even if it’s in a small way. Then in the same way as in the bullet point just above, try to stay with this experience in your mind of feeling liked, appreciated, seen, understood, supported, or loved for a dozen seconds or more, sensing that it is sinking into you.

If you do these two things, over and over again, you will gradually plant the seeds that will grow into an inner protector.

There are other methods as well, and I encourage you to look into practices on self-compassion, getting on your own side, taking in the good, and seeing the good in yourself.

Hang in there with this. Look out at the world, with its 7 billion human beings, and countless other living plants and animals and microbes on the earth, in the water, and in the air. You would wish that they would have and experience an inner protector (or the animal, plant, or microbe equivalent). Well, you are one of those beings! No different from the other humans, no less deserving of true happiness and its causes, including an inner protector. Much as you would wish an inner protector for all those beings, you could rightfully wish one for yourself. I wish one for you – and I bet so would everyone else who knows you, if they thought about it. It’s alright to join this club!

What are your personal practices for developing an inner protector? What works for you?

 

Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence (in 12 languages), Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 25 languages), Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time (in 13 languages), and Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and on the Advisory Board of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, his work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, CBC, FoxBusiness, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine and he has several audio programs with Sounds True. His weekly e-newsletter – Just One Thing – has over 100,000 subscribers, and also appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites. For more information, please see his full profile at www.RickHanson.net.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Follow us on Twitter!

    Find us on Facebook!



    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
    verify here.

    Powered by CenterSite.Net