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ShannonGonter Jul 2, 2020

Meditate to Calm Chaos

Welcome to the 10-part meditation blog series that focuses on the various ways that meditation can assist you and your overall well-being.

Each week I will publish a blog specifically dedicated to how a meditation practice can assist with lowering anxiety levels, seeing your path, help your thoughts go by more easily, etc.

Before diving into this week’s topic, I want to take some time to provide some definitions and answer some questions to ensure that we are all on the same page.

Meditation: thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation

Mindfulness: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis

Why should I care about meditation?

Because it has a direct connection to health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol levels, more feelings of well-being, less stress and deeper relaxation.

Who should meditate?

EVERYONE! You don’t have to have some enlightened, spiritual abilities to practice meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi and go around saying namaste to everyone.  You don’t have to know someone within the meditation community to be invited into it. Literally anyone from toddlers to elders can do and benefit from meditation.

Where should I start?

Take your time in trying out all different types of meditation and mindfulness activities to figure out what suites you best (resources provided below). After more and more time is spent meditating you will become more and more comfortable with the idea of being still and focusing your attention to your breath.

Quick Practice: Let’s give it a go!

  1. Find a quiet space.
  2. Sit or lie down and get comfortable.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Breathe naturally. Make no effort to control your breathing.
  5. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your body's movements with your breath. Focus your attention on your breath, remembering not to control it and allow it to flow in and out naturally. When your mind wanders, that’s okay, just thank your thoughts for coming and return your focus back to your breath.
    • Start with doing this for a few minutes, and then add on more time as your practice progresses.

 

Resources:

Books:

The Mindful Twenty-Something

Wherever You Go There You Are

How to Walk, How to Sit, How to Eat, Reconciliation

Coming to Our Senses

Real Happiness

Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness Self-Compassion

Online:

KORU Mindfulness

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Wildmind

Meditation Oasis

YouTube:

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Pema Chodran

Sharon SalzBurg

Tara Brach

Apps:

Koru Mindfulness

Insight Timer-Meditation Timer

Mindfulness

Calm

SanoMind

Headspace

 

Chaos [key-os]

a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/chaos

 

Being in a state of chaos or a prolonged state of chaos can cause immense amounts of stress within your body and mind. When stress arises, a lot of us shut down, overreact or lose track of what needs to be done. It is important to understand the mechanics of stress in order to bring more self-awareness to the front line and give you the upper hand in tackling it. The increased awareness will allow you to take better care of yourself, your family, friends, and colleagues. 

Tip 1: Your body doesn’t care if it’s a big stress of a little stress, it still has an impact on the body.

Tip 2: Stress can make smart people do stupid things by inhibiting certain parts of the brain to work.

Tip 3: People can become numb to their stress due to being so used to the prolonged high levels of stress.

Tip 4: We can control how we respond to stress.

Tip 5: The best strategy to handle stress is to tackle it in the moment.

Try it out now!

Guided Meditation: Finding Calm in Chaos – Listen here

Guided Meditation For Inner Peace and Calm – Listen here

______________________________________________________________________
Shannon Gonter is a professional counselor in Louisville, KY who works with young adults and specializes in mens issues. She strives to create a counseling environment that men and young adults can relate to, feel heard in and find new solutions to their negative patterns in. Learn more about her and the services she provides at www.therapybyshannon.com
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