When life starts moving too fast it is hard to call a timeout. There is no substitute player waiting to replace you in the game. It’s just you out there. And you are either going to get the job done or you’re not. This realization is why we can get overwhelmed so quickly. We are so busy, so stretched that just one more setback, one more hurdle to leap can send you spinning out of control. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to slow the pace down and to carve out some time for yourself to be alone, with your thoughts. To just be.
A Need to Eliminate Anxiety and Stress
Stress kills, according to Mayo Clinic. It makes your blood pressure skyrocket and your metabolism go off the rails. So, we need to eliminate stress. Sounds easy enough. But what about the anxiety? That seems to be the real problem. Sure, diet and exercise will reduce the negative physical impact of chronic stress but will they treat your mind? Your soul?
That is where the concept of living in the moment comes in. Mindfulness. In popular media it seems to be everywhere right now. It’s like a magical potion to cure what ails you. Of course, when you ask how mindfulness is attained you are met with blank stares and a lot of throat clearing. Usually someone mentions something about meditation and the conversation shifts to hot yoga or a PBS special on the law of attraction.
Reaching for Mindfulness Through Meditation
The best way to practice mindfulness is through a sustained meditation practice. This study says if you establish a regular meditation practice, you stand a good chance of effectively managing your anxiety and eliminating chronic stress. Practitioners of meditation have known this for hundreds of years but it is good that Western medicine has embraced this trend.
But isn’t establishing a meditation practice difficult? Especially if you’re already suffering from anxiety, making everyday activities stressful out and tiring? At this point we are just looking for a break, not another thing to learn and master; worrying if we are doing it right. We want fifteen minutes to sit quietly, clear our minds, and put our thoughts in the moment. That’s it. Just a timeout. Like hitting the reset button to give us a chance to muster our courage and face the rest of the day.
Meditation is a Timeout from Life
Guess what? That break. That pause button you just hit. That’s meditation. You don’t take a break to meditate, you take a break by meditating. It really is that easy. And if you do it every day, you have a real shot at turning the tables on your anxiety and your worrisome thoughts. Don’t worry about achieving mindfulness without a wandering mind.
It’s nearly impossible not that black and white. You don’t have to live entirely in the moment to experience mindfulness. You just have to know when you are not being mindful. The benefits come when you start recognizing if you are dwelling on the past, worried about the future, and forgetting to enjoy the present. That’s it.
So, the next time you start feeling overwhelmed, the next time you can’t remember when you last had a moment entirely to yourself, call a timeout and meditate. And then the next day, do it again. Pretty soon it will become habit. And then you will be on the road to recovery.