YOU. Meditate “Life is hard. Be easy on you!”
Part I: The Key Tenets of YOU. Meditate
Part II: What You’ll Need
Part III: Why We Meditate
Part IV: Cleaning House
Part V: Take 5
Part VI: Natural Happiness
PART I: The Key Tenets of YOU. Meditate
*Catharsis through writing:
“Writing about your feelings can help the brain overcome emotional upsets and leave you feeling happier, psychologists have found.” -Ian Sample
*Mindfulness (exploration of the senses):
“When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
*Imagination (elevating the consciousness through getting in touch with the senses by leaving reality in a healthy way)
*Safety (perfecting the skill of living in the moment):
“When I sleep every night, what am I called or not called?
And when I wake, who am I
If I was not while I slept?” -Pablo Neruda
“You want? You make.” –Me
Please set aside 30 minutes or less of your time. Don’t stress too much if you go under or over the below this amount. It’s titled YOU. Meditate, because it’s all about you, period, right now. (i.e., a youthful and optimistic umbrella for the rainy circumstances of life).
Part II: What You’ll Need
-15-30 minutes set aside for the exercises (it goes by faster than you think)
-an open mind and willingness to chill
-classical music or nature sounds via a CD, full album on YouTube or iTunes (you can check out CD’s for free at most libraries, and play full albums for free on YouTube)
-notebook and pen/pencil (if you don’t have any, ask for or buy them if you can)
-time to meditate every day (everyone who is alive has this)
-minimal distractions (turn over calendar, put phone on vibrate, etc.), but you still need a clock around so that you can keep track of time
PART III: Why We Meditate
View your mind as needing to shower just as much as your body needs one on a regular basis. Meditation is like the equivalent of a shower for your psyche. It feels good, and promotes self-esteem, because deep breathing stimulates oxygen intake in the brain. This causes relaxation for the senses; awareness of the mind in the moment leads to manifesting positivity in your life. You want to celebrate your senses and be more in touch with them, right? Aromatherapy can do wonders as well. But this is for a different post and time.
Remember, it’s good to purge bad thoughts. Also, by engaging in your passions/hobbies you boost your self-esteem. This, in turn, allows you to be more comfortable to assert yourself (which entails being positive and direct, something which may have a good or bad result). Why not express yourself openly through the written word, no holds barred, to work through personal issues? Doesn’t this sound good? If you haven’t done it ever or for a while, it feels good, trust me. You deserve to release your inner anger and struggles, especially for the good of you. You’re worth it.
This should help minimize sideways anger towards loved ones in your life, i.e. throwing the emotional burdens that you have at your loved ones or strangers. I’m guessing that you don’t want this to happen. Keep this in mind: it’s possible to build a strong inner core that can protect your sanity from being shaken.
If your heart’s into this so far, let’s go on to Part IV, which is necessary and cathartic.
PART IV: Cleaning House
Let’s get rid of the negative energy, so we don’t become it. After all, we aren’t our thoughts. We are, however, how we treat each other. I have faith in you becoming the person you want to be. *Before you continue, please light a candle. Be sure to not light it around pets, nor children, and blow out the flame when you exit the room. If you can, put on some relaxing music/ambient sounds (that will continue without interruptions for preferably 30-40 minutes). Now, let’s make it our final fate to be content. Let’s cut distraction, hurt, and confusion down to size!
Get out your writing utensil and paper, and write for one minute. Purge any thoughts vaguely related to complaints, hurts, people you are upset with, etc. Make sure you’re in a safe environment, where someone won’t look at what you’re writing. After you’re done eliminating the stool from which this tormentor of yours/what was bothering you, rip up the paper. The greatest triumph is the triumph of the human spirit. Protect yours with your life and breath (we’re going to explore how to do this…soon). I like to recycle, but I don’t know how to relax with a laptop screen glaring at me. So, if you have another option for writing something and getting rid of it that’s also in line with meditating, please improvise.
Let’s get into the moment, and explore what makes you feel centered. I want to help in order to create a better world, where people are less anxious, including myself. I’ve been through hard experiences in my life, including losses, addiction, and depression. I’ve learned that at the root of my depression is unchecked anxiety. Anxiety is a natural human reaction. You don’t need to feel ashamed. You’re not anxiety, itself. You are you, a human being worthy of loving and being loved, and strong for making it in life this far!
This upcoming exercise involves stretching, and becoming aware of your breathing. Be in your body. You’re the designated pilot for your senses, after all. If you need help, please don’t be afraid to look up useful stretching techniques online or ask others what works best for them.
PART V: Take 5
- Stretch for 5 minutes (while you’re doing this, please start to take note of how you’re breathing). Start by rolling back your shoulders. Dangle your hands to your feet. Ball up your hands in a fist and release them. Scrunch your toes towards your heels and release them. Repeat. Grimace, release, and repeat. Look from left to right, and up and down. Tilt your head slowly up to the sky, and slowly bring it back down, dangling it a little towards your toes. Wiggle it out.
- Slow down your breathing. This will help relax you in order to get you to the good stuff (my favorite part). Hold in your breath for 5 or more seconds if you can, and release slowly as if you’re whistling it through your mouth. Repeat about three more times, but really make sure to breathe slowly and be aware of the sensation in your face muscles, and the feeling in your lungs and hands. Spell out the letters S-A-F-E with your mouth without making too much of a sound.
- Imagine you’re in another place for about 5 minutes. This could be anywhere that’s relaxing or invigorating to you, and induces a sense of inner peace. For example, start to think about the grass and how it feels on rolling hills near a cottage in the country (without being too critical). Also, what color is the sky, etc.? This is your world, and you can imagine it to be the safest place, yet the most calming and beautiful one as well. This will be your place to visit and build upon each time that you meditate.
- Come back to reality, and remember, it’ll be easier to deal with the more that you meditate. Pat yourself on the back for releasing negative energy in a safe and healthy way, exploring how anxiety can be beaten, and meditating (doing the hard work). Now, think of a reward to give yourself. This could be going to an art museum, watching a movie you’ve been interested in seeing for a while, or participating in a hobby that you enjoy. Jot this into your calendar.
- *YOU. Meditate can be done at any time of the day, whenever is the most beneficial for you. A suggestion for the end of the night routine: write down two things that you accomplished today (one could even be getting out of bed in the morning/during the day). Now beside each of these, write down how you feel about these items. This helps to connect the rational and emotional parts of your mind. Also, note what you’re grateful for in life. It could be a sentence, or a paragraph. This might be good to return to periodically to ground you. When you are grateful, you will feel like you matter as a human being, which you do!
Part VI: Natural Happiness
There is perfection in imperfection.
Natural is always better. For example, Rosemary (which holds a lot of vitamin B) helps convert food into efficient energy, and regular meals packed with nutrients make you feel content. If your anxiety is severe, then, yes, consider prescription medication after a visit with your doctor. Taking medication that isn’t prescribed to you is considered a felony, and it’s harder to keep track of its effects on you as well. Overall, take care of your health, and practice good coping strategies in order to prevent this from becoming a necessary option. Drug companies already make more than enough money the way it is! For suggestions on how to cope, please go here: Good Coping Skills.
*Take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling with purpose. You are what is most important in life, so make yourself live the healthiest and happiest you possibly can in the way that’s best for you!
In Conclusion: the more times that you incorporate YOU. Meditate (which you can experiment with) into your life, the more your anxiety will be minimized, hopefully. Please research meditation and its scientific/proven benefits. I found that YOU. Meditate helped me to transport to a safe place, where I could feel like a kid again in the truest sense of the word. What about you? Please let me know how it’s helped you, or share any constructive feedback regarding the meditation, utilizing your God-given strengths (like clarity of thought).
Thank you for reading. Good thoughts your way. Love, Heather
Words & Images by H. Arneson