This is a big topic to cover in my first post. However, one of my first challenges was getting a hold over racing thoughts and my emotions. I was so unfocused and dis-regulated I could hardly function. I experienced my first panic attack ever, and it scared me. I had difficulties staying present at work and at night my mind would race, and I couldn’t sleep. My first step was trying to get a handle over my thought so that I could calm down.
Meditation has been proven to help all types of issues from stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, controlling pain and addressing trauma in the body. The up side is improved sleep, better emotional health, a calmer demeanor and a positive demeanor toward others, but I didn’t know any of this at the time.
I started of small by downloading the Headspace app to my phone and listening to it when I was on the bus on my way to work. It is a great way to get introduced into the idea behind the how and why of mediation. They have 10 free, 10 -minute intro sessions that I listened to over and over. I started seeing results almost immediately, especially how I reacted to others. Less reactive and more thoughtful.
A co-worker then turned me on the pod cast by Tara Brach who is a well-known meditation teacher and she gives great talks about the philosophy behind meditation. She tells corny jokes, but she also reads beautiful poetry and gives very insightful talks with meditations interspersed between the messages of her talks. It’s a great way to learn more about the topic. I listened to this while in bed at night.
Transcendental Meditation has a great following and even better marketing! I attended an orientation meeting to be trained on the meditation. I was surprised to learn how much it cost for the instruction, and that you were expected to bring your own supplies for your mantra bestowment ceremony. Instead, I went home, searched the internet, found my mantra and gave it a whirl. It calls for two 20-minute sessions a day, calming your mind by speaking your mantra. This meditation doesn’t ask you to sit I a certain way or concentrate on your breath. It was effective for me, but the two sessions a day were problematic for me. Since trying this out I have learned that this type of meditation is called Vedic meditation and the word you concentrate on is not really that important. It should be something simple. Here is a great instructional video from The Crappy Childhood Fairy. It has been shown to be especially effective for people with CPTSD/PTSD. The meditation gets the brain to go into a specific brainwave states and as you go deeper these states change.
When you get into meditating on a regular basis it is helpful to have an app that keeps track of your time. There are a multitude of options, but I have found an app called the Insight Timer to be great, and it is free. You have the option of either a guided meditation or you can set a time for your own meditation practice. It gives you the option to play a chime at different points in your meditation so that you aren’t tempted to keep looking at the timer. The guided meditations give you exposure to all types of meditation and different practitioners. My favorites are Kevin Soares, I AM meditations and Davidji, who walks you though the chakras along with chanting mantras.
- The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
- The Power of No – James Altucher
- The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer
- Going to Pieces without falling Apart – Mark Epstein, M.D.
- A Heart Full of Peace – Joseph Goldstein
- How to Wake Up – Toni Bernhard
- Radical Acceptance – Tara Brach, Ph.D.