You know what you should be doing: Shopping for nutritious foods. Going to the gym. Getting eight hours sleep. Using your time efficiently. However, you don’t have time to do all those things, and the omissions only add to your stress and the guilt that accompanies each failure.
What if you expected less of yourself and turned to a few minutes of quiet meditation every day to reduce your stress levels? A fter all, stress is reported to be one of the factors in about 60 percent of doctor visits, and research seems to indicate that meditation reduces stress and makes people calmer.
The enthusiasts in Today’s Bride office say to test yourself to see if this is right for you. Choose a word or short phrase that has meaning for you – perhaps something that relates to your religion. Let’s call this phrase a mantra.
They recommend starting with someone who already practices meditation. You likely will be shown how to relax your feet, ankles, legs and ultimately shrugging your shoulders and slowly rolling your head and neck. Then start saying your mantra. Repeat for awhile, but, as a beginner, don’t push yourself to maintain the ritual longer than is relaxing and comfortable. When you’re finished, sit quietly for a few minutes before you resume your day.
To do it well, rely on an expert who can be your guide. You can also go online to find programs that promise to put you on the right path. Without this help you may be just fooling yourself that you are reducing your stress!
If it’s not for you
Those in our own office who meditate tell us that the stillness they experience in meditation is so calming that they find themselves wanting to learn how to go deeper into that silence each time they meditate. Neverthless, they admit that this is not for everyone. If you find that sitting quietly is difficult for you, give up meditating with a mantra and instead consider doing yoga, tai chi or walking to relax your mind.
The important point is to find your own escape. When you do, you will be doing something positive that directly relates to your physical and mental wellness.
Finding your own way
Perhaps your concern is depression, anxiety, trouble going to sleep, even anger. Your problem can be your relationships at this time in your life when everyone connected to your wedding seems to be hyper-sensitive. Meditation may not be your answer, even though some famous celebrities have said that it worked for them. Oprah Win frey has talked about its usefulness and Sir Paul McCartney, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, Clint Eastwood and Jerry Seinfeld have all been reported to use transcendental meditation techniques.
The point, throughout the months preceding your wedding, is to let the world go away for a few minutes every day while you relax and re-energize.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Fall/Winter 2015.