I am currently reading The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté. The book has some wonderful strategies to build resilience – a vital skill for the Highly Sensitive Person and for those susceptible to stress. One of the strategies the authors suggest is controlled breathing when you find yourself in the midst of an adversity. By taking deep breaths and by concentrating on your breathing, you reduce your heart rate; increase the amount of oxygen in the brain (for better decision making) and minimise the risk of an amygdala hijack.
In this blog I have mentioned the fact that meditation has helped me in my healing journey of my stress-induced condition. I want to make one thing really clear however: I’m no expert. I’m trying to obtain the benefits of mindfulness and to implement calming strategies. For the average person who has never tried meditating, it can be daunting. I found this article to be a great help on how to get started.
The strategy I use is simple: focus on my breathing and ensure that my belly rises as I breathe in, and falls as I breathe out. I downloaded an app on my phone in order to guide me initially. There are a few apps providing soothing music and some guidance in an ever-so-calming voice.
Now that I’ve become more accustomed to it, I simply use my timer on my phone which I have increased from the initial two minutes to ten or fifteen minutes. I focus on my breathing and try to clear my mind. That is the trickiest part and the more stressed and busy you are, the harder it is but also the more necessary it is too. At times I wonder if I’ve dozed off because I seem to be close to sleep. I’m not sure whether or not that is supposed to happen but it can’t be harmful.
“Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?” – Albert Einstein
Many people seem to solve problems or get ideas in the shower. Back in university I used to solve my programming defects almost as soon as I got into the shower. Perhaps when the mind relaxes, solutions are easily found. I encountered this fun list of reasons why we get our best ideas in the shower.
This phenomenon seems to happen to me when I start to mediate as well. All sorts of solutions come to mind for things that have been troubling me. If you’re thinking that I’m not doing it correctly, you’re probably right. It is a great struggle for me to clear the mind and I don’t always get it right. But I figure that even if I get it right for a few minutes of the ten, it’s helping me to be calmer and to restore order in a stressed and busy life.
One of my strengths is to implement strategies to mitigate the risk of problems recurring. I wish I’d known before I got sick, how important it is to still the mind and how much meditation helps to combat stress. If you are under strain I’d highly recommend finding some time in your day to implement a meditation strategy that works for you.