A few weeks ago I shared the news that my Pops is really sick. As his condition worsens, my anxiety has gone off the charts. The idea that we’ll be living in a world without my Pops is unthinkable.
While he struggles and we struggle, life marches on. Work, family obligations and everyday tasks still gotta get done. And I gotta tell you… people have said the most ridiculous things to me since we found out my dad’s bone cancer is progressing very quickly.
I actually had someone say to me that somewhere in life “my father must have put out in to the universe that he wanted to experience the journey of bone cancer.”
In what world is that something you say?? While I didn’t throat punch her like I wanted to in my head…. I was b*tch slapping the orange self-tanner right off her face.
That’s the day I realized I needed to finally give meditation a try.
Short of anxiety meds, it was the only thing I could find that might be helpful in keeping me sane and out of prison for assault.
Real Life Meditation Tips for Real People
Now I’m not gonna lie, I’ve tried meditation before. It went something like this…
But I’m pretty determined now to master this inner peace thing.
What is Meditation?
I’ve researched this a lot. And while there are many ways to practice meditation, all of them incorporate a few, core principles.
It’s a mind-body exercise which leads to increased calmness and relaxation.
The goal is to achieve a ‘balance’ of the mind so you can better cope with living your life.
My Meditation Basics
I’ve previously read Dan Harris’s book, 10% Happier when I was trying to master meditation. It was a great book, but I wasn’t a very motivated student back then.
Now I’m slowly working my way through one I like just as much. It’s called The Buddha Walks Into a Bar by Lodro Rinzler.
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far… and what has helped me.
Create a peaceful spot in which to meditate
I chose a spot in our family room where I can easily store my extra yoga mat and set up my little meditation shelf. I’m hoping I will be brave enough to try this outdoors during the summer. But if you saw my post last week on the snake sightings… you might know the odds are low right now that this will happen.
You can see by the dog toy Sammie brings me (bright green alligator with the Santa hat), meditation is confusing to him. He isn’t used to me sitting still…
A comfortable position such as sitting or even walking
I’m usually in my pjs when I do this early in the morning. I just pull out my yoga mat and assume the traditional yoga pose…
There is zero chance I’m disciplined enough to do this while walking in my neighborhood yet.
Something to focus on, such as a word or a small statue
I found this guy and thought he was so great looking!
Let’s face it… some Buddha statues are downright scary looking.
And don’t get all crazy with this one, folks.
You aren’t worshiping to the statue, you are just finding a focal point so you don’t notice the cob web in the bottom left corner of the bookshelf or the spot you missed when you painted the trim.
Something to clear your mind before you start
For me, it was this pretty meditation bowl set I found on Amazon.
It takes a few tries to master, but it really redirects my focus from everything swirling around me.
Kind of a “stop the madness” cue to my overworked brain…
A timer you can set – I just use the one on my stove in the kitchen
This lets you refrain from constantly trying to look at the clock and count down how much time you have left.
One less potential distraction!
Meditating Your Way to Lower Stress and Anxiety
So what do you actually do when you meditate?
Here’s the best way I can describe what you need to do to get rolling…
Breathe naturally and don’t try to control your breath.
Focus on breathing and notice how your body moves with every breath: inhale and exhale, repeat.
Think about how your chest, shoulders, and belly move with each breath.
At first, you might be like me. Only able to meditate for a couple of minutes.
My personal goal is to work up to 15 or 20 minutes.
20 minutes seems to be the amount of time most experts say helps you make the most of meditation.
It’s as easy… and difficult… as that…
And if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, save the image below to your Pinterest page so you can find these tips when you are!
Until next time,