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I suffered from severe anxiety.
Starting at 16 years old.
It was debilitating. I could hardly stand social situations, going to the grocery store, or even family lunch.
I was suffering but like any being I continued to live.
It was like walking around with a thorn in your shoe all the time, and not being able to take it out. You can walk around okay sometimes….but there are days when you just can’t.
Your foot hurts too much, you’ve been walking too much, you’ve given too much of yourself.
And the negative thoughts never stopped.
It was constant, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed.
Occasionally I would get on good streaks and meditate for a few days in a row. It helped, but only during meditation.
Then I would get up, get my coffee, get in the car to go to work, and again the bombardment of negative thoughts would begin again. Only maybe slowed down slightly by my clear moments.
What I needed was something that would last more than just the five minutes every morning.
Enter mindfulness meditation.
I first tried mindfulness in college.
The first day the teacher had us gazing deeply at raisins.
I left thinking she was crazy.
Little did I know this was actually a common practice in mindfulness meditation. A practice that would soon come to change my relationship with myself and with the world.
For related reading check out these: Free Meditations About Mindfulness
Building a practice:
So you might be wondering...that’s cool..but HOW did you do it?
See most people like meditation. They see the benefit of it. They probably even do it occasionally.
But building a regular practice?
That is what will make a difference in your life. That is what will help transform your anxiety in acceptance. And most of all help you become the best version of yourself.
So to build a regular practice there are three ESSENTIAL steps (are you rolling your eyes? yet another “steps” to greatness post?) Well okay okay, but the truth is...if you are reading this far it means you want to do this for yourself.
So let me help you do it.
1. Schedule a time and a place:
This is a specific hour, that you PROMISE yourself that you will meditate.
This is the time that you promise you won’t stand yourself up, you’ll show up for yourself, and you’ll make it happen!
I suggest that you meditate once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night.
This should be formal practice (Formal practice means you sit down, and spend that time ONLY meditating vs. practising mindfulness in everyday situations).
If you don’t meditate already, you can start with just 5 mins. From there you can meditate for longer periods of time.
There’s no reason to stress over your meditation schedule or practice….that’s actually the exact opposite effect we’re looking for.
If you’re like me and you like guided meditations I suggest you use the “calm” app from the iTunes store.
There is a free option.
Or you can pay to unlock special features.
There are A LOT of meditations, for all different purposes.
It keeps track of the days and the times you meditate.
And best of all for those of you just starting out (or starting again) there are 7 and 21 day programs. These programs include “Calm” “Stress” “Anxiety” and “Focus”
If you’re thinking this is just another shameless sales pitch...it is...to an extent.
I use this app A LOT, and it has been so useful for me so I always recommend it to my readers.
Now let’s talk about the where:
Create a meditation space.
That’s all your own.
A space that is only for meditation and is only for you.
Here’s a peek at my meditation space:
Why is creating a meditation space important?
Because it is your dedicated space that reminds you every day the need for you to keep up your practice.
It's a visual alarm clock, if you will.
Plus they're fun to decorate!
2. Learn about meditation.
So there are many different kinds of meditation. My personal favorite is mindfulness. It’s my favorite because it’s something you can practice in every moment of your day.
All mindfulness is….is being aware. Aware of yourself in every moment.
And this was HUGE when overcoming my problems with anxiety. A lot of my anxiety was due to the fact that I pushed away my emotions.
I flat out ignored them really. And I chose to focus on others instead. Did she look at me funny? She must be angry with me… Did he not see me? Or is he ignoring me on purpose….
All the while my emotions we’re being pushed aside.
Well the funny thing about emotions and thoughts is that they will resurface. And they tend to do so when you don’t have any room left to push them down.
That is what we call panic attacks.
I was having these regularly...weekly if not daily.
Sobbing, shaking, heart beating fast, mind racing…..
And then a shift happened.
I found something called the Mindfulness Summit. It was a speaking event that took place in 2015...and every day for 31 days some of the greatest leaders in mindfulness, and in the entrepreneurial world got together with this adorable Australian girl and talked about mindfulness!
I don’t know when or if she’ll have another of these types of events….but it truly changed my life. It changed how I thought about meditation, and gave me the moments in my day to reflect on myself.
You can still access these talks, and all the proceeds go to charity:
If not, search google and see if you can’t find someone doing a similar thing to help introduce you to the world of meditation.
3. Learn how to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life.
Remember how I said that I meditated...and then I’d drink my coffee and drive to work...and an hour later be back to my anxious ways?
Well there were days when I would get it right...for a day...maybe two. I would be floating around deep breathing, not reacting...you know all the good stuff. And then it would be right back to my old ways.
So how can we get mindfulness in every moment of our lives?
Well the number one book I recommend is “The Power of Now”
This book talks quite frankly about what Eckhart Tolle considers the illness of the mind...and that’s over-thinking.
It’s not difficult to over-think in our world.
We have literally the world at our fingertips….and with such distractions we lose out on the world that is surrounding us. Better put the world that is within us.
Once we learn to center ourselves.
To truly feel what connectedness feels like.
Our outside world begins to match.
And we can live the lives we were meant to live before we got so distracted.
Identify Your Triggers
The second most important thing to keeping yourself on track is to identify your triggers.
Your triggers are the things that push you off the mindfulness tracks, and onto the distracted, anxious, lost track.
My big triggers were things like traffic, or loud noises (like my kindergartners early in the morning), or even simple things like arriving home to a disordered house.
Identifying your triggers is an important step because you can catch them early.
If you don’t catch them...or don’t even know what they are...they’ll mess you up.
You’ll get off track.
Like I did MANY times, and you’ll be at square one again.
So get a journal.
Like this mindfulness one:
And write in a section about the triggers that send you into a mind tailspin. Figure out ways of catching them early, or figure out ways of responding, and not reacting to them.
Find Like-Mindfullers in your area:
I want you to get started on the path to true mindfulness is to find people practicing it in your area.
Try meetup.com, Facebook groups, ashrams, buddhist temples, yoga studios, college campuses, or any other place where meditation might be practiced.
If you meet like-minded people, people who meditate, you can get on their frequency.
Make meditation a part of your every breath, rather than just your everyday life.
Hey guys! Do you want to learn simplify and purify your mind, body, heart, and home? Take my free 7-day course!
Clear your mind, body, heart, and home!
Follow the steps, cut the crap, and build a healthy, simple, and clear mind, body, heart, and home!
Please remember that the advice and opinions given on this website are anecdotal and unprofessional. I am not a doctor, I am not a therapist, and I am not a healthcare professional. Please consult a doctor before doing any of the recommended activities on this blog.