Audio for Day 13
Welcome to Day 13!
We’ve spent several days now focusing on questions to shift thoughts. If you have the time and I hope you do, one of the best ways to shift and feel better is to meditate. I mentioned that focusing on gratitude was everywhere in my research. So is meditation. It’s one of the ways of calming ourselves and that’s what today is about as we deal with the fairly negative world that presents itself to us on a daily basis. Of course, it's always our choice on what to focus on and also to determine how we view the world. That said, the negativity often comes rushing at us at an alarming rate and it's important to have strategies at the ready to cope effectively.
I never meditated until Oprah and Dr. Deepak Chopra started a series of 21 day meditations a few years ago. I remember Oprah asking the audience I was part of if we meditated. Only a few did. I’m now part of the millions that do. Most days I just use the free app that I mentioned called Living in Love. You can set the timer and have it fit whatever your schedule is.
I mentioned that Law of Attraction suggests that the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed is to take a nap. That’s easier said than done for most of us. While I love a good power nap, I’m afraid that it will turn into something much longer and I’ll never get anything done. Second Law of Attraction suggestion? Meditate.
Why meditate? Because it slows down your metabolism and your runaway thought train. Here’s what Web MD had to say about meditation:
“Any condition that's caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation. He is the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"The relaxation response from meditation helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves," Benson says. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax."
Not a bad set of results from a simple little exercise.
Did you know we think 60,000 thoughts a day and that 70% of them are negative? No wonder we feel so stressed, tired and often unhappy. Meditation slows the train. It doesn’t stop it entirely because thoughts still drift in but it definitely slows down because you’re redirecting your brain to usually a couple of simple words while you focus on the breath going in and out of your body.
It’s easy. It’s not weird in any way other than it’s so alien to the normally frazzled lives we all lead. All you really do is get quiet and focus on your breathing. Sometimes there’s a mantra to use, a couple of simple words. You can make up your own. Probably best to pick sounds that have no particular meaning to you. Otherwise you’ll be thinking of all the connections to that word. The free app has you think ‘so’ on the in breath and ‘hum’ on the out breath. That’s it. If thoughts drift in, gently go back to ‘so-hum’. Outside noises? “So-hum”. Aches or pains in your body. “So-hum.” That’s it. I do 20 minutes and I’m good.
If you want to be more positive, if you want to get a handle on whatever is stressing you, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to meditate whenever you need it most. I know some people meditate in the morning but I’m already in a good place then so there’s no need. It is part of my calm-down collection of strategies which I’ve needed since a few years ago when I experienced my first panic attack.
I had a dental surgeon completely cover my nose and mouth for an upcoming procedure. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t talk. I was in total flight/flight mode. Here’s where the brain science kicks in. Doctors Chopra and Tanzi of ‘Superbrain’ say ‘what fires together, wires together’. At that moment my brain was wiring being trapped in the dentist chair with high stress. Now all I have to do is walk into a dentist office and I feel the rush of anxiety which is more than stress. It’s stress amplified to a high degree mentally and physically. And if I feel trapped even in the slightest of ways, that all kicks in. Needless to say, this does NOT make me happy. So as usual, I work to find strategies that I can depend on.
The latest I found is from former airline captain and licensed therapist Tom Bunn. He helps people who experience anxiety when they fly. It’s the 5:4:3:2:1 strategy. It’s all about redirecting your thoughts with questions (big surprise). Click here for the site and to find the free videos. What I like about it is that this technique uses what we already talked about to direct my brain and protect myself from the unplanned wiring that happened in that dentist chair. Check it out if you’re someone who experiences that deep level of stress or know someone who does. It’s worked wonders for so many passengers and will work with you too.
That’s it! Have a wonderful day!
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day right now or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next chapter.