The first time I heard of meditation was also the first time I heard the term Yogi. I grew up watching Run's House in 2009, and if you're familiar with Rev. Run and the Simmons family. Rev. Run's brother Russel Simmons was the first Yogi and black person I saw to practice yoga and meditation. That was in 2009. In 2016, I was under a great deal of stress living and working in NW, DC. I suffered moderate to high stress daily from traffic and toxic work environments. At that time, I also overcame being hospitalized due to a lung condition I developed by being exposed to mold at my job. Thank God I'm completely healed, but it was around that time when I realized that I was so stressed that I was not paying attention to my body. I started to study mindfulness through meditation, and I knew I had to remove toxic people from my circle and find a new job.
The American Institute of Stress found that identical situations can be more stressful to one person over another. What stresses me out may not stress you out. This means stress is personal. It occurs within us for many different reasons and can manifest within our bodies when it's not managed. I suffered from brain fog and muscle spasms, mainly because I wasn't relaxing enough. I was not giving my mind a mental break and didn't spend enough time listening to my body. Mostly because I didn't know-how. I've prepared a very special post with resources for anyone interested in learning about mindfulness and listening to your body. Meditation changed my life completely and has helped me clear my thoughts. It keeps me present and showed me how to use my breath to center myself. I'm creating content around mindfulness and meditation because I have experienced racing thoughts, anxiety, and physical illness, all due to stress. By using these practices, I've found healing. I wanted to feel better physically. The bonus I received was a mindset shift. I became more conscious and started operating from a place of greatness.
1. Practice Daily Meditation
Daily meditation can be referred to as fine-tuning your emotions.
You can practice mindfulness through meditation. Fine-tuning is the practice of managing your emotions. It's a reminder to check in with your body. On top of that, it's a reflection of love to yourself. This is called self-care. I know self-care and meditation are buzzwords right now, but it's more than just a new-age trend. This may really help you. Practicing mindfulness and self-care reminds us to pay attention. Taking the time to clear our minds and cleanse negative thoughts can change our entire mood.
2. Practice healthy self-talk
I used to worry so much to the point that it took my attention off of what was really important. I spent a lot of time worrying about what could happen. Healthy self-talk helped me train my mind to look at myself differently. I started saying affirmations every day. I started with these. The healthy self-talk made me less defensive. I'm not as bothered by people's negative opinions of me. What matters is what you think of yourself. Once I stopped worrying, I was able to think clearer. I started making more strategic decisions and less emotional fear-based decisions. But keeping our emotions in check is a balancing act. It takes practice. We've all caught ourselves overreacting before. I can laugh about it now, but I have definitely embarrassed myself before just doing too much! Healthy self-talk gives you the energy to tackle new challenges. Believe in a different narrative about yourself instead of repeating the same negative thoughts you've practiced in the past.
3. The Practice- Deep breathing, Meditation, and Healthy Self Talk
I researched meditation practices and found Metta meditation, also known as loving-kindness meditation. There are many meditation practices, but I liked the principles of Metta meditation for my scenario. I needed help dealing with unpleasant coworkers in a toxic environment. It's a Buddhist meditation that means kindness and positive energy towards others. Metta meditation recites positive affirmations toward yourself and others. I knew I had to try this because I was highly irritable at work. People were getting on my nerves and under my skin. I made meditation a priority because I had goals and needed to stay focused. It was time to raise my vibration. The situation around me wasn't changing, so I had to change my perspective on it to get through it. A major key to help raise your vibration is to stop talking about the things or people you cannot change. Focus only on yourself and what you need to change. Don't get caught up in the trap of thinking everyone else needs to change in order for you to make changes. Mediation will help you focus. So, whenever I started to think negatively about myself or someone else at work, I asked God to show me the big picture and remind me why I'm there. I practiced mountain pose, cleansing breaths, and soft belly breathing to change how I experience stress. I've linked out the videos that helped me a lot. You can also follow these four steps:
1. Take a cleansing breath. Close your eyes.
2. Relax your breath. Breath in for 4 seconds. Pause. Breath out for 4 seconds. Pause. Breath slowly and easily, without a lot of effort. Take this seriously and start to tune in with your body. Repeat that cycle four times.
3. Now, repeat this cycle using the healthy self-talk affirmations you chose. Watch the videos I linked to get an idea of how to do it. Repeat the process four times.
4. End with a cleansing breath.
Next, do it again but think about others—colleagues, family, neighbors, friends. I challenge you to do it to someone who you can't stand. Repeat this phrase toward them, "May you be happy. May you be safe. May you find peace." Repeat the phrase until you begin to feel a sense of empathy and compassion towards them.
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