"When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what's happening. That is where your power lies." - Unknown
When I first began Grit and Grace Meditation, I crafted my mission statement around what I deeply felt in my heart. It was written with a profound intention of the desire to connect with people. As a 200-hour Mindfulness/Meditation Instructor (CMMI), my mission is to “help people live their best life one breath at a time through the practice of meditation." Meditation has been an absolute anchor for me in my life. It has aided me through some very dark and difficult times, and it continues to aid me to navigate these current uncertain times as we deal with this world-wide pandemic. I know the practice transforms, as I have personal experience with that transformation. I feel called now more than ever to teach people this beautiful practice.
With that being said, I have stepped up where necessary, and I have led several mediations live on various social media platforms, and I will continue to do so during this quarantine. I have also crafted new recorded meditations and posted them on my website and Facebook page, as well as posting meditations on a world-wide app, called Insight Timer. These are free, downloadable meditations for everyone who wants to meditate with me. Won't you meditate with me?
As we all deal with the unknown, this can take a toll on your mind and body. It can show up as fear, anxiety and stress. This is not where you want to stay! Be consciously aware of your thoughts and where they take you. Stressful situations activate and trigger a response mechanism within your body known as the fight or flight response - the body's sympathetic nervous system response (accelerator). This is a physiological response that automatically occurs within your body. This can include a release of adrenaline and cortisol, an increase in your breath and heart rate, and a tightening of your muscles. This is an involuntary reaction that occurs within your body in response to a PERCEIVED or REAL harmful event or attack on your survival. The problem here is that your body reacts the exact same way to any stressor. Your brain does not know the difference of the perceived or real threat. As a matter of fact, your body can even overreact. You do not want your sympathetic nervous system to become hyperactive and your stress response to be the "norm."
The good news is there is absolutely a way to combat the stress and anxiety you feel. You do that by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the relaxation response. This is where the body functions optimally…hormone balancing occurs, the immune system strengthens, muscles relax, and tissues heal. We can activate the parasympathetic, or rest and digest in many ways, but the easiest is through your breath. Simply taking three long, slow deep breaths in through the nose when you feel anxious or stressed, sends a signal to your body to come into a relaxed state. Give it a try right now. There are other breath work exercises to center and calm you, and I am happy to share them with you.
Another method, if stress has you anxious, tense and worried is the formal practice of meditation, which is sitting for a designated time in stillness. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment. You can practice meditation wherever you are…whether you're out for a walk, riding the bus, at work, waiting at the doctor's office, or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
It's a simple technique that, if practiced for at least 10 to 20 minutes each day, it can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation. The relaxation response technique consists of anchoring your attention on something like your breath, a silent repetition of a word, sound, or phrase.
During meditation, you work to slow down the stream of thoughts and calm the chatter in the mind. Just relax and breathe. If you meditate, the physical and emotional consequences of stress can be reduced through regular practice.
Some of the many benefits associated with meditating on a regular basis include:
👉🏻Increased ability to concentrate
👉🏻Increased happiness and peace of mind
👉🏻Reduced levels of depression and anxiety
👉🏻Lower blood pressure
👉🏻Stronger immune system
👉🏻Improved cardiovascular health
We are navigating unchartered times during this pandemic, and we need to dig deep to find the tools within us to allow us to stay calm, make rational, clear decisions, and show up as our best self.