- If you're curious but hesitant to explore mindfulness, a 5-minute guided meditation is a great way to start
- Focus on finding something easy and sustainable to become a habit
- Resisting thoughts can strengthen them, so give yourself a break~
I am by nature a worrier. Coupled with having a life filled with various difficult experiences, I came to an unfortunate point where anxiety became my baseline. After going through some extremely stressful experiences, I tried therapy. It was cathartic and helped the healing process. However, after a while there was nothing new to talk about in the sessions and I stopped going. On my way out, I was given some parting gifts, in particular mindfulness techniques such as meditation. Great tools to help deal with worry and anxiety and change my narrative from negative to positive.
As amazing as all of this sounded, I immediately knew nothing would happen for me unless I could find a way to incorporate these tools into my BLT (busy-lazy-tired) life. Not an easy task. I’m a wife, mom to two kids seven and under and a needy rescue pup, work a full-time demanding job, and as you know, need to make time for a daily skincare routine too. Living in LA, I’ve obviously heard about the benefits of meditation. But I‘ve always wondered how people possibly have the time for it all – taking on one more thing could possibly be the straw that breaks this BLT mom’s back!
With these thoughts, somewhat reluctantly, upon the recommendation from my therapist, I tried an app-based guided meditation. Shockingly, it’s working for me. I like having the flexibility to choose from something as simple as 5 minutes up to a full-blown 30-minute session. I am able to focus on the narrator’s voice instead of the thoughts racing through my head. In doing so, I am also able to come back to my breath. Anxiety can trigger the fight or flight response in the body, and breathing deeply and calmly is what stops it.
These days, in addition to a regular 5-minute guided mediation session, whenever I feel my mind going down the rabbit hole, I try to stay present. For me, that’s as simple as noticing what’s around me. Being stuck in traffic during a long commute is already unpleasant and it makes it easier for my mind to wander. If I start to stress, I take a minute, focus on feeling my breath, then start making observations about my surroundings. I’ll note the shape of the clouds, the wind blowing through trees, birds flying through the air. A couple of minutes into this, I usually feel my body start to relax.
There still are really challenging periods when the same stressful thoughts keep coming back to me no matter how often I mediate or observe birds or trees. In those times, I give myself a break and just sit with those thoughts. Instead of trying to empty my mind and shoo those thoughts away, I make room for them allowing myself to fully explore.
In my experience, resisting thoughts can strengthen them. Have you ever heard of the saying, "if you don't confront your inner demons they hide out in the dungeon...and lift weights?" For thoughts that won’t go away, I stop resisting and let them be without giving them control. This can be helpful in stopping the nagging negative narratives that can permeate and ruin your day.
Just like my skincare routine and most things in my life, the key for me when it came to mindfulness was finding something easy that I genuinely liked. Ease and convenience are necessary elements for any kind of consistent and sustainable practice for a BLT mom.
It all started with a regular 5-minute guided meditation but now I feel I have the tools to make clarity and calmness my new baseline. I’ve also added in acceptance and gratitude as focus points to expand upon. Keep it simple, be consistent, and I promise, even BLT moms like me can reap the benefits of a peaceful mind.