Dr. Teresa Meehan

"Language is the voice of the mind. It is a reflection of the energy we hold in our consciousness and emerges as our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors."

The 4 Question Process (from ‘The Work’ of Byron Katie)

The goal of The Work by Bryon Katie is to end mental suffering. The 4 question process is as a way to identify and question the thoughts that are the cause of all the suffering in the world.

The 4 Question Process

Write it down:

First, write down the stressful thoughts and judgements you are thinking about other people, and then put these thoughts, one by one, up against the 4 questions of The Work.

Question 1: Is it true?

This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.

Question 2: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.

Question 3: How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you’ve written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific.

Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?

Imagine yourself in the presence of that person (or in that situation), without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer–life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?

Turn the thought around:

The “turnaround” gives you an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.

This exercise is a summary of The Work that is intended to get you thinking in the right direction. If it resonates with you, the entire process is available for free on Byron Katie’s website: The Work.


Relaxing Breath (for beginners)

Relaxing Breath (also known as 4-7-8 breathing)

This is an exercise, promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil, and is often called 4-7-8 breathing as referenced by the mental count of each step. The mental counting forces you to focus on your breath, so this is a good exercise if you’re new to any type of meditation practice.

You can do this exercise in any position, but the optimal body position is sitting with your back straight with feet on the floor. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper from teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. If you find it difficult to keep your tongue in that position while exhaling, try pursing your lips slightly to force the air around the tongue without dislodging it.

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh or hah sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while counting to 4.
  3. Hold your breath while counting to 7.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh or hah sound while counting to 8.

The 4-7-8 cycle is considered one breath. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

This exercise is great for relaxation as well as for treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks and insomnia.

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