How the Spiritual Becomes Practical in Calming Stress

How the Spiritual Becomes Practical in Calming Stress

“For me, there is no real power without spiritual power.”—Oprah Winfrey

We can often find ourselves in overdrive in the midst of a hectic work day, where our thoughts are racing and our brain waves are in high frequency mode. Known as “Hi-Beta,” this state of mind indicates exceedingly complex activity, very useful in solving difficult problems. However, constant extreme stress can cause a swell of these Hi-Beta waves, turning them into an ocean of anxiety.

This is what happened to me many years ago, during a critical turning point in my career. I was experiencing severe stress during a massive corporate downsizing, and sought relief in the form of relaxation therapy, which included neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback that measures brain wave activity.

Here’s how it works: You get hooked up to tiny electrodes that read what’s going on inside your body—particularly your head. A therapist monitors your brain waves and teaches you how to manipulate them at will with mental exercises, the object being to take you from an anxious to a relaxed state. By controlling your mind, you control things such as blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate. You actually train your brain to move from Hi-Beta and high activity to more calming, meditative states of alpha and theta waves.

In my case, the exercise involved training my brain to control a monitor displaying a beautiful picture of a beach, with waves lapping up on the shore, while the sun slowly sinks on the horizon.

In Hi-Beta, the picture displays highly pixelated and unclear. In a more relaxed state, the picture becomes sharp and clear. Unfortunately, my stressed mind made the picture almost non-existent.

My therapist began with guided imagery. I closed my eyes and imagined myself on that beach sipping a pina colada and soaking up the sun. It was a great image in my mind, however, it had little effect on the monitor. We tried a number of different techniques, but then I began to get frustrated when none of them did the trick. The picture remained pixelated, and my Hi-Beta was increasing.

As my therapist suggested we stop for the day, I closed my eyes one last time. Within a few minutes, she quietly said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it—the picture is clear and beautiful.”

I was silently saying the The Lord’s Prayer, which I learned as a child. I remember being a little frightened at first—had I summoned the Almighty into this tiny room? And, then I felt incredible peace, which was reflected on the monitor. Yes–I believe I had.

Confidence, after all, is faith. And when your faith in yourself is tested, it may be time to take it to a higher level.

It is then that summoning your spiritual power becomes the most practical thing you can do.


Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan


  1. Anna


    I almost didn’t finish reading this post. “Hi-Beta” waves, and brain waves in general are not something I thought I could understand or apply to my life. By the end I could relate on a personal level. In times of extreme stress and anxiety I have asked for and received peace. Thank you for being brave enough to share this experience.

  2. Reply

    Thanks so much – this is a very good post. I agree with Anna (in the above comment), it was brave of you to share this insight on a business blog. Thank you.

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