A No-stress Wedding? It’s All in Your Mind!

You want the wedding of your dreams, but the road to it seems to be a nightmare. The quadrillions of details, battling bridesmaids, mother-in-law madness… It can lead to sleepless nights, cranky days, and lots of frayed nerves.

An anxious day or two probably won’t do you in, but prolonged stress can cause real problems. It creates mental tension that can quickly rise to a boil (Bridezilla, anyone?) Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, lowering our ability to fight illness (and causing wedding-day breakouts and honeymoon colds.) Lingering anxiety can make sleep difficult, which leads to more stress, creating an endless vicious cycle.

Of course, when planning a wedding it’s impossible to completely avoid stress, but there are ways to minimize it and keep it under control. Relaxation is crucial to being able to maintain your peace of mind. Imagine a rubber band: it can be pulled, then return to a relaxed shape, then be pulled again, no problem. Now imagine pulling it, holding on to that tension, then pulling it some more. Eventually it will snap. A person who is relaxed is better equipped to deal with the inevitable pressure, and like the rubber band bounce back quickly.

Take Time for Bliss

The number one mistake women (and men) make in preparing for their wedding is going non-stop. But the truth is, to function well we need downtime. And not just five hours of fitful sleep at night. We also need a break during the day to clear the fog from our brains. If only you could take a vacation… But wait – you can!

Don’t wait for your honeymoon; take a Bliss Trip, a mini-vacation for your mind. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then imagine yourself in a wonderful luxury retreat, created just for you. Perhaps a sandy beach on a tropical isle (think of the warmth of the sun and the musical crash of the waves.) Or maybe a cozy cabin tucked in the snow is more your style (with a crackling fire and a downy comforter.) Simply imagine yourself experiencing something delightful, something relaxing. A 15-minutes Bliss Trip each day provides many of the same benefits as a real holiday – and you don’t even have to pack!

Be Picture Perfect

Does the idea of standing in front of a crowd of people, even adoring loved-ones, send you into a tizzy? A little mental rehearsal will calm you right down. Simply imagine yourself behaving just as you want, with the situation turning out perfectly. See yourself walking gracefully down the aisle, saying your vows with confidence, feeling calm and having a radiant smile.

Athletes have been using this trick for years. They know that by picturing a certain outcome, say the ball going through the hoop, they are much more likely to achieve exactly what they want. Mentally practice those things you think might be uncomfortable. Imagine them being easy and turning out well and they’ll probably exceed your expectations.

Set the Mood for Love

Some brides and grooms focus so intensely on the details that it’s hard to let go and enjoy themselves. Don’t find yourself fretting about the buffet in the middle of the “I do’s.” Make sure you think about how you want to experience your special day. Close your eyes and spend time reflecting on how you want to feel. Imagine yourself relaxed and full of joy. Focus on that special connection you have with your fiancĂ©. Imagine the support of your family and friends. It’s a lovely way to remind yourself to enjoy the dream that you are turning into reality.

Q&A

Q. How can I fit a Bliss Trip into my workday?

A. All you need is a place where you can comfortably close your eyes. Bliss on the bus, or sit it in your parked car for a few minutes and picture your imaginary retreat (a sure-fire cure for road rage). Take advantage of a nearby park, or use headphones at your computer to play quiet music. Heck, even the office bathroom works in a pinch.

Q. What if I can’t “see” my wedding? I’ve tried visualization in the past, and it just doesn’t work for me.

A. Remember when you got engaged? Close your eyes and think back on it for a moment. No matter who you are, something will come to mind. Everyone has the ability to create a story in their imagination. Some people do see things almost as if it were a movie, but others may instead get fleeting images, or a feeling, perhaps a song, or flashes of memory. Don’t worry about “seeing;” focus on “experiencing.”

Q. My mind keeps running from my mini-vacation back to my to-do list. What can I do to stay focused on relaxation?

A. Let someone else do the driving! You can use a pre-recorded Bliss Trip CD which leads you through relaxing and fun experiences (like swimming with dolphins, or flying through the clouds). Or take turns with your fiancĂ© playing a tour guide of the imagination and lead each other to distant locals (“Imagine we are floating together in a gondola over the canals of Venice. The sun is shining and there is a light breeze…”) It’s a fun way to share a little time together, and you might get some great ideas for your honeymoon.

Q: There’s just so much to do and so many details. Is there anything I can do when I feel overwhelmed?

A. Yes. Breathe. It sounds simple, but most of us do a poor job of it. Close your eyes and take a full breath down deep in your belly. Let it out and pause for a moment, still sitting with your eyes closed. Take another deep breath, and just notice how your body begins to relax. Take as long as you like, and when your composure is regained open your eyes a face the task-at-hand with a greater sense of calm.