You don't need me to tell you that we are all feeling more stress, anxiety and tension at the moment. We are all being bombarded with restrictions, statistics, differing views and opinions. Not matter how resilient we think we are, we are all being affected. We are all spending more time in our heads ..... What if this happens? How will I cope in that situation? Are my family safe? What is it safe for me to do? By second guessing and trying to predict the future we think that we are preparing and protecting ourselves for any eventual situation but actually, we creating stress and anxiety about things that may never happen. We are putting ourselves into prolonged periods of the "fight or flight response" rather than living in and enjoying the present moment. For more on this please read my blog Stress & Our Flight or Fight Response
No matter how hard we try to suppress them, these thoughts can keep going round and round and they can be very difficult to switch off. Although the benefits of meditation are well documented and a starting a daily meditation practice can really help you to have more control of these thoughts and feelings long-term, sometimes you can feel so mentally stressed that trying to meditate can feel too challenging. We can feel too over whelmed with these thoughts and feelings that we try to avoid facing them and we throw ourselves into physical or mental distractions that keep us occupied. Physical tasks like frantically cleaning the house or digging the garden or mental distractions like sitting in front of tv or even sleeping for longer periods than we actually need. In extremes these distractions can cause us to turn to alcohol or drugs.
Firstly, it is important to know that it is perfectly normal to have these worries and concerns, that is OK to not feel OK. Secondly, we can teach ourselves that we can not possibly know all the answers to all of the questions and that's OK too. We do not have to come up with solutions to every scenario because most of those scenarios will never happen. The time we spend worrying is valuable time that we can spend living, being here right now, trying to enjoy and find gratitude for the things that make us happy.
If meditation is too challenging for you right now then try to spend time every day doing something that you enjoy. Try to give yourself at least 20 minutes every day. For you this might be a gentle walk, a jog, doing something creative, your yoga practice or a soak in the bath. Try to be mindful during this time, how does the activity make you feel, notice the colours around you, your breath, your emotions, your sense of touch. Try not to be judgemental about any emotions or feelings that come up for you instead just observe them and tell yourself that it is OK to feel that way. You do not have to try to change it. Know that this is just a moment in time, it will pass and that's OK. Thoughts, feelings, emotions are ever changing, we can not always feel happiness and joy, equally we will not always feel sadness or pain. We need to experience the full spectrum in order enjoy the significance. This is normal, this is life and this is living.
To help you switch off, reconnect with your breath, your body and reduce the physical affects of prolonged stress, I am creating a Short Stress Busting Sequence for you in the Members area.
When we are stressed we hold physical tension in the body and over a prolonged period of time this can result in physical pain and discomfort. Each practice will be no more than 15 minutes long, targeting different areas of the body. We will move slowly and mindfully as we slow down our breathing thus releasing physical tension, calming the mind and helping us to switch back into the relaxation response. The idea is that you choose the practice for the area of the body that you feel is affecting you most, where you feel the tightness of tension creeping in. You can do one practice on its own or several together for a longer experience. My hope is that you will receive very similar benefits to that of a 15 minutes meditation practice but the slow mindful movements will help distract a busy mind and the mobility will release that stiffness in the body.