Face it. Modern life is stressful. Everything moves so quickly and with instant communication constantly demanding our attention, it can be difficult to catch a break. If you try to leave your phone behind while you take a walk, or go to the gym, somebody panics because you’re out of touch.
Everywhere you go there is a TV, or music of some sort playing, and announcements at the grocery store, all demanding your attention. After a while, it feels like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders.
Many of us have families at home in the evening, and while it’s nice to have your family around you, it can add to your stress loads after a full day at work. Children need attention, and we understand this. What they can’t yet understand is our need for a few minutes of calm.
So in this day and age, how do you de-stress?
Find a time when it would be best for you to take a little time for yourself. Maybe it’s after work, before you get home to all the stresses there. Or maybe it’s after dinner, when everyone is watching TV or playing games. Whenever it is, let everyone know that this time is private time for you. Your phone will be off, not to worry.
Now, figure out what you’re going to do.
I like to take a walk out in nature, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the weather. Seriously who wants to go walk in a downpour? And we’ve had quite a bit of that here lately. As an alternative, I might put on some music and just move to the sound.
But there is one thing that helps me find that inner peace we all seek. And I know you’ve heard it before.
You’ll say you don’t have time. You can’t relax long enough. Your mind won’t turn off so you can get there.
As one of my martial arts instructors used to say, you didn’t sign on a black belt your first day in class. Give yourself some time.
Here is one easy way to get started. It is the short meditation we did before every martial arts class to help us shift our minds off of the troubles of the day and focus on class. Our instructor called it the Circle of Life meditation.
Sit comfortably. Anyplace is fine. If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor, do it. If you prefer a nice comfortable chair, have a seat.
Take your thumb and middle finger on each hand and form a circle. Place the backs of your hands on your knees.
Now close your eyes. Picture your thumbs and fingers making a perfect circle.
Breath in through your nose. Imagine the air travelling up over the top of your head, down your spine, and then back up the front of your body and up into your lungs.
Hold that breath for a moment, and then slowly let it out through your mouth.
Now pause and repeat the sequence for a total of three times.
The fourth breath is a cleansing breath. Breathe in deeply and blow the air back out quickly before you begin the sequence again.
Concentrating on your breath, imagining it moving around your body, and holding your fingers in a perfect circle, gives you a focus. Sure you may have random thoughts pop up, but acknowledge them, let them go, and return your concentration to your breathing.
You don’t have to keep to a timetable–thirty minutes or else. But if you have a limited amount of time, set an alarm for however long you want to meditate. Don’t try to start off for with a lengthy period of time. A few minutes to get the feel of it is fine.
Maybe you would prefer a guided meditation, something you can listen to and follow along.
One of my favorites is The Daisy Pond, one of Burt Goldman’s guided meditations. In it, he guides you into a relaxed state, and then takes you on an imaginary trip to the daisy pond.
The Daisy Pond is available for anyone to use on YouTube. You can find several of Mr. Goldman’s meditations there. Just do a search and find one you like.
Make that time for yourself. Teach your family to make quiet time for themselves as well. The world is a stressful place. We all need to learn a healthy, safe way to de-stress at the end of our day. Help them make it a habit which will help them throughout their lives.
Thank you for taking time to join me today.
And as always–
Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!