Monday, January 14, 2013

Meditation Monday: Stress Sans Frosting

So, um, how is all that Happy New Year enthusiasm holding up?   Maybe it's just me but mid-January is about the time when the realities of life threaten to bring a dense fog over ambitious resolutions.

For those of us in the mode of moving away from using food and alcohol as vices, there's a special little something that happens.  You remember why that cupcake tastes extra good after the little terrors kids are asleep or why drinking during the week is so much more helpful than saving it for the weekend.

Take away the chocolate and chardonnay and now you've just gotta deal with the "stuff."  Stress!  Ugh!

Very recently I had this epiphany that diving face first into the crapola du jour is a good thing.  Not only for me but as a model for my children.  I'd really hate for them to think that to get through hard times, you just cover up all the bad feelings with frosting.   

I have a justified fear that my son will one day put down his pencil after a particularly hard spelling test and announce with exasperation, "Wow, I need a drink!"

For me personally, it's more about awareness vs. extremes.   My goal right now is to be intentional in my enjoyment as well as in how I deal with my stress.

One thing that helps a lot is meditation.  I especially love the quick exercises that can be done throughout the day.

Here are two of my favorites:

Square Breathing.   Breathe in for four slow counts (1....2....3....4).    Hold the breath for four slow counts (1....2....3....4).    Breathe out for four slow counts (1....2....3....4).   Hold for four slow counts (1....2....3....4).    Do this cycle several times until the urge to scream goes away.    Keep it calm and slow.   If you find yourself breathing in and out too quickly, count to eight.    Hyperventilating and passing out is not the goal.    No blue people.

Heart Glow.     Close your eyes.   Take slow, deep, calm breaths.    As you breathe in, imagine a little glow in your chest near your heart.    Like a pilot light or the flame of a match.   As you breathe out, picture the light getting bigger.    As it grows, imagine feelings of peace and happiness also growing.    Keep breathing as the light and happiness fills your whole body.   Then, the glow completely surrounds you.   Finally, imagine that you are a beacon of light and happiness radiating out into the world.    Rinse.    Repeat.

Once we are in a more centered, relaxed place it's a lot easier to see what we are really feeling.  From there we can prioritize our actions in a much healthier way, whatever that means to us individually.

It's all good...

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RACHEL TaoOfPoop said...

I never understood why New Year's resolutions had to be followed by January...the greyest month of the year. It doesn't exactly lend itself to compliance, if you ask me! Maybe if I started meditating again, I could find that warm glow inside instead!!

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