Before I was even remotely spiritual, I struggled with severe anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, to be exact.
I was medicated but it wasn’t working.
It often escalated to the point of hyperventilation triggering uncontrollable hiccups that would last for DAYS.
Out of control – I was trying everything and nothing was working.
Then one day, at my weekly therapy appointment, my therapist suggested something.
She said I needed an activity to take my mind away from the anxiety. That thinking about the anxiety was making the anxiety worse.
She had an idea. I needed a task to do.
That’s when she taught me the meditation.
It changed my life – the meditation that she called a breathing exercise. I agreed, it was definitely NOT meditating, obviosly, because regular meditation involved me clearing my head of thoughts, which just made me more anxious (or so I thought at the time).
It was the first mindfulness practice I’d ever learned, and also the first thing I’d ever done that relieved the anxiety.
it was the first time my eyes were opened to the idea that spiritual, mindful, meditative and not medicative techniques could work to combat anxiety.
Meditation worked for me where medication never did.
And it was the first step on a very long journey that would lead me to becoming a Shaman.
Thank you, Michele, for teaching me.
Here it is –
the 5 minute meditation that changed my life
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Lay on a flat, comfortable surface. The edge of a bed works well. That way, your feet can remain flat on the floor.
Put one hand on your stomach, and one hand on your chest. Close your eyes.
Slowly inhale deeply, focusing on breathing so deeply that you feel your stomach rise. Continue to inhale until you feel that your lungs are like balloons full of air, ready to pop, and your stomach is has risen substantially. Count to 10 as you inhale, striving to reach a total of 10 counts per inhale.
SLOWLY exhale, allowing all breath to exit from your lungs and feeling your stomach as it too returns to resting state. Count to 10 as you exhale too, striving to reach a total of 10 counts per exhale. This is even more important in exhalation, as we tend to exhale far more quickly than we inhale.
Focus on this inhalation and exhalation pattern for the next 5 minutes, particularly paying attention to feeling the breath fill up the emptiness starting from your stomach. Use your stomach as a gauge. Remember to count as you inhale and as you exhale – trying to reach 10 counts in each inhale and in each exhale.
Repeat this meditation twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
It gives your mind something to do while meditating, completely preoccupying any worried or anxious thoughts. Meanwhile, it works to calm you down and bring you to a place of centered peace.
Seriously, it works. Give it a try.