One of the great benefits of meditation is it’s ability to allow you to center yourself just enough to take honest stock of your life. Where are you self sabotaging? Where is your energy being spent that if redirected can be put to your highest good? And how are you doing on all those goals you set for yourself way back in January? While most tend to think of clutter as an external manifestation, like a college dorm room, consider that you might have some clutter going on much closer to home, like in your head.
Checkout this recent Times Union post on using meditation and other wellness practices to do some final spring cleaning before we grab our suits and head into the summer season. According to Judi England (courtesy of Naomi Seldin Ramirez), worrying about the past isn’t going to change much of anything, and of course, worrying about the future is really just an exercise in futility. Below are some of her constructive suggestions to help you separate from that monkey mind so that you can do what you do best, have fun.
- Find a way to get “out of your head” and back into your body. Do something physical — walk, dance, eat, sing, laugh.
- Become aware of your breathing, even if just for a moment or two. As few as 5 to 10 focused, mindful breaths can help break a cycle of recurring, worrisome thoughts by bringing you back into the present moment.
- Use an external cue to reground your awareness in the present. Pick something that’s around you every day like the sound of a bell (or phone), stopping at a red light, or opening the refrigerator as a trigger to become more aware of what your thinking and how you’re feeling.
- Connect with another person. Sometimes just putting a voice to your worries helps to calm them — like turning on a light in a dark room. No one available? Even spending some time petting a cat or dog can soothe jangled nerves.
- Chronic worriers might try setting aside a specific time and place to worry. For instance, allow yourself to indulge in 5 to 15 minutes of unrestricted, conscious worrying every day. Use the same place to do this every time. You just might find that the urge to sit and stew gets weaker over time.
- Consider taking an actual course or program to learn meditation and mindfulness techniques. Practice what you learn, and you’ll permanently reset your stress meter. It works … really, it does!
Read more from England on using meditation and other practices to decrease your worry here.