#96 A Gift Worth Pursuing
As a recent 83-year-old widow living on my own for the first time, anxiety and stress ran rampant. Five years of caretaking, major decision-making, the pandemic, and my husband’s death took an enormous toll. I was depressed, not sleeping well, and unable to think clearly. Somehow, I had to put on my big girl pants and move forward. I tried many things to heal and some worked - but not that well.
Then I read the article 5 Reasons Why Meditation is Good For Your Well-Being. I had never been interested in meditation, but after reading it I thought - hmm! The article is as follows.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the act of reflecting or contemplating. In other words, to think upon. Today when most people think of the word, an image of sitting with legs crossed comes to mind. The ever-growing list of gurus and videos available have contributed to painting this image.
During meditation, you focus and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
source: Mayo Clinic
Five benefits of meditation
The definition gives an idea of some of the benefits you may get from meditating. But meditating may also help with several health conditions.
Better at processing life
Making you sleep better
There are various types of meditation. What’s popular in the east may differ from the west. Here are some that you may know.
Guided - accompanied by sound or a voice that directs you to imagine specific things and monitor your breathing.
Tai chi - a Chinese method where you conduct a series of martial arts moves in a controlled manner.
Mindfulness - being aware of your thoughts, breathing patterns, and other things while you meditate.
Yoga - brings you to the present. You focus on your posture and breathing.
Mantra - try to focus on one thing, such as repeating a word or phrase that helps you remain calm.
Here’s a one-minute meditation by Headspace that you may try.
Meditation is not
Meditation is not a solution to wipe away all your problems. It’s a way for you to face them. It helps us to accept the things that are out of our control and how we respond to life.
You don’t need fancy methods or a guru to meditate. A quick search will land you some valuable materials to get started today.
Things to remember
Meditation means to think upon. There are various types of meditations, and they come with health benefits that are worth the effort.
You aren’t obligated to do it only while sitting on a yoga mat with your legs crossed. You can do it in your car, at a park, or while you wait in line.
I learned two significant facts from the article. The first is that there is more than one way to meditate. The second is that meditation is not a solution to wipe away my problems. It’s a way for me to face them, accept things out of my control, and respond to life. After reading the article, I identified three strategies that can work for me.
GUIDED IMAGERY - picture the outcome of a situation or problem and then listen for guidance.
MANTRA - use the mantra “so hum” to quiet my mind and relax my body when I am nervous, can’t go to sleep, or am impatiently waiting in a line.
MINDFULNESS - practice mindfulness – which helps me focus on now - not the past or the future – “the I wished I would have” or” how can I do that?”
Yes, there is still anxiety and stress, but I am managing it better.