Recently, Martha Stewart re-posted a link from Pop Sugar Moms on Facebook about Good Morning Habits. The article spoke about how some people are “active” morning people and some are calm and “languid” morning people. I fall into the “calm” morning person category. In fact, a prominent part of my morning includes breathing exercises and a morning meditation.
My morning ritual includes these steps:
- additional simple “sitting” being mindful and enjoying a cup of green tea
- walking for an hour+ with Pops (and Bubba the Frenchie)
- checking out what’s blooming in the garden after our walk
- getting ready to head to the office for work
I’d like to focus a bit more below on my morning meditation as it’s a new (but very important) part of my daily routine.
Meditation was only added to my mornings about 8 months ago, when I made a commitment to give it a try.
Now, we’ve all heard the benefits meditation can bring to our lives. Everything from reducing stress, increasing our focus and brain function, raising immunity, improving metabolism, and raising levels of happiness. I’m sure all of these (and many more) are true. BUT, for me, the most profound benefit of meditation has been the almost complete elimination of my anxiety!!
I am a worrier. Always have been and probably always will be, but now my core just doesn’t seem to “vibrate” with anxiety anymore.
If you’ve experienced anxiety like I have, then you know about this “vibration”. I can only say it seems to happen somewhere inside my mid-section. I feel this vibration somewhere between my spinal cord and belly button. It’s like butterflies that can almost feel painful in their never-ending shaking movement. It’s no way to live – trust me.
In the past, I’ve taken classes in controlling anxiety and also related classes in working through fears and phobias. And even though one of the breathing techniques I use now in my morning meditation had been shared with me before (along with a lot of other useful information) somehow 8 months ago this “meditation” technique stuck and I’m so glad it did. So glad that now, I feel the need to share.
I’d like to share this “breathing” exercise here in the hopes it may help others. I often find I use this technique at other times during any day that has stress in it. For me, that can (and will) be any day I get onto an airplane, which, with my love of travel, happens pretty often.
The technique I use is simple:
- Breathe in for 4 counts
- Hold for 4 counts
- Breathe out for 6 counts
- Hold for 4 counts
- Repeat 5-8 times
- breathe normally
- repeat all above 3 times.
It’s important to use Ujjayi breathing during this exercise. If you’re unfamiliar with Ujjayi breathing, here’s a video that may help. I also really like this written description of learning Ujjayi breath.
In one of my classes, they had us breathe in for 6 counts and out for 8. The key they said is to breathe out longer than in, so adjust as you need to if you’re unable to hold for 4 (or 6) counts at first.
After the above breathing exercise, I find it really easy to go into a deeper meditation. I use a few other breathing techniques if I need to (that I can let you know about if you’re interested), but the one above is the key to the start of my daily practice.
I would say my normal morning meditation is at least 20 minutes, but typically 30+ minutes. It’s become such a “habit” now, that I don’t really think about it at all. I wake up, prop up my little pillow – I sit on a little pillow that helps me keep my back straight for the opening breathing exercises – and begin.
Now, you might not notice anything at all at first. I know I didn’t, but I made the commitment to practicing meditation daily for 6 months, so I kept with it. Well, now I can’t imagine not meditating or missing my morning breathing exercises. AND, as I mentioned above, my anxiety or “vibration” has diminished greatly and dare I say gone!
I’ve recently come across this wonderful article at Natural Herbal Remedies on Using Guided Meditation for Anxiety. I strongly encourage anyone dealing with anxiety to read this article and give the suggested techniques a try.
I can only hope that this information will help others because I know living with any anxiety is just horrible and so consuming of the energy we have that we could spend on much more pleasant things.
Have you had any luck with meditation in relation to anxiety? If so, I’d love to hear about it and what works for you. I’d actually love to hear anyone’s positive experiences with meditation as a motivator to just stick with it – though I think I will now.