Meditation for Sanity (Seriously!)
“Oh just meditate,” people tell me.
And I am always like, “MEDITATE? Really? Are you serious? How do you expect me to meditate when I have sooooooooooooo much to do, and sooooooooo many people talking to me all at once?” Plus, if I close my eyes and meditate – chances are pretty good that I am going to fall asleep, or that my mind is going to wander to the far corners of worry and stress and I will have a full blown panic attack.”
Meditation requires calm, peace, and quiet. Three things hard to come by in my life. Meditation requires me to NOT think, which is like telling me to NOT breathe. Meditation. HA! Despite the fact that I believe I was a hippy or a monk in a previous life, meditation is NOT part of my life plan at this point. You feel me, right?
The crazier my days are, the more meditation becomes a necessity. And truth be told, I have found some pretty creative ways to do it. 5, 10, or even 15 minutes spent in mindful quiet can be an amazing pick-me-up. Some days, while I am sitting in the dreaded pick up line at school, I find a mediation app on my phone, plug in the headphones, and just drift off with the sound of ocean waves or rain falling. I also pop in empowering CDs while I am driving around town, and just allow the words to sort of sink into my mind. And at night, as I am lying in bed, I fall asleep to the sound of my own breathing – taking deep inhales and deep exhales, in order to calm my nerves and refocus.
Mediation doesn't have to have a stage, or background music. You don't have to go anywhere, or do anything special. In fact, all you have to do is sit back and find a few minutes to be quiet. Tell the kids, the husband, the dog to leave you alone. Hang up your own ‘do not disturb’ sign. Make a commitment to yourself that you are going to spend some time just breathing, not overthinking, and just allowing your brain to work through one thought after the next until you are left free from thoughts.
One of my favorite ways to meditate is to get on the computer, plug in some headphones, and use some of the very cool visualization videos that you can find for free on YouTube. Most of them are only a few minutes long. And while at first it may be hard to sit through it and you might feel like you should be doing ‘something,' ANYTHING more productive – you will be surprised at the results.
If you feel overwhelmed, stressed, tired, exhausted, sick, have a headache – basically anything negative – then try the following meditative exercise. It's simple and takes only 5 minutes. And the documented health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, rejuvenating your thyroid function, improving your memory, and increasing oxygen to your brain (as well as others) will definitely give you a life boost. After all, what do you have to lose by trying?
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Inhale deeply, counting slowly from 1 to 5 as you inhale. Make sure you breathe from your belly, and fill your lungs beyond your normal capacity.
3. Hold the breath for a count of 5 seconds.
4. Exhale slowly, pushing the breath from your belly and lungs slowly to the count of 5.
5. Repeat 8 times.
As you exhale, try to let go of negativity or negative thoughts. Imagine them exiting your body, and feel your whole body relax from the inside out. As you relax the muscles from your toes to the top of your head your pulse will slow, your blood pressure will drop – and you will feel rejuvenated.
So my friends, how do you meditate? And if you try this exercise, please let us know how it worked for you.