Anxiety is a tricky beast to tackle. For me, it feels like a rock in my stomach, and I have trouble focusing on tasks or sitting still. Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their life. My anxiety was at its worse when I was in the middle of my contentious divorce. I have three kids and busy life; I knew I had to figure out how to deal with this unsettling feeling and not let it devour me.
At first, I turned to physical activity. If I was constantly moving, I felt much better, not to mention all those great exercise endorphins that improved my mood. So, I increased my days at the gym and picked up running. I learned runner’s high is an actual thing. Some days I would do an hour and a half at the gym with a mix of weights and cardio and run 6 – 10 miles. I loved, and still do, the feeling of putting in my headphones, blocking the rest of the world out, and just going. During this time, I would run hard and fast until exhausted. People would ask how far I ran, and I couldn’t tell them. Running wasn’t about a certain pace or tracking the miles. It was about outrunning the anxiety to feel better. This lasted me about a good year until my body was constantly sore from all the miles.
As my life started to find a new normal, I felt that rock in my stomach less and less, and I turned to meditation. Instead of beating my body up, running, and working out so much, I learned how to find a quiet spot, close my eyes, and breathe in all the love and good stuff the universe had to offer. This process didn’t happen overnight. I started by using some guided meditations from books and the Headspace app. At first, I could only do a few minutes, but after a while, I increased my mediation time, and now, I am to the point where I can meditate multiple times a day and do active meditation breathing into my day while doing other tasks. It has become addicting and brings me a sense of peace and well-being.
I could spurt off all sorts of good facts about how mediation positively affects your health, joy, and overall well-being, but I will spare you. An easy place to start is to be still for a couple of minutes and breath in for five counts and out for five counts. I like to close my eyes, but you do what is comfortable to you. In future posts, I will share more of my mediation practices and what works for me. I highly recommend reading more about mediation and seeing how you can incorporate it into your life.