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If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you probably already know I am a single mom with 2 very busy kids, a fast paced career and now a passion for health and nutrition that I am trying to cultivate into something I can share. This kind of stressful and over scheduled lifestyle can lead to a multitude of negative side effects if not well managed. Stress has been linked to just about every ill that mankind suffers from. I am not exaggerating. It was a large part of what made me so sick a few years ago.

At one point in my life (just a few years ago) I was suffering from sleep issues and chronic fatigue, chronic headaches, brain fog, severe nasal and respiratory problems (I thought they were allergies), blood sugar regulation problems, as well as anxiety and panic attacks.  I know, sounds like a blast, right? My traditional medical docs proscribed me several meds to control my symptoms.  I wasn’t cured, I was just existing.  When I couldn’t control my anxiety, I was basically told I need to find a way to relax and calm down. In other words, “Chill the F*&# Out Laura!”

The obvious solution to my doctor at the time was anti-anxiety meds…..what’s one more prescription on top of the 5 I was already taking, right? I wasn’t sure if I felt comfortable taking anti-anxiety medication, but I was so desperate to get better, I gave it a try.  I knew within 2 days, that medication was not the answer. Not for me anyway. While these medications may be appropriate for some, I just felt crummy. My brain felt numb. I wasn’t feeling better, just not frantic. There had to be a better way.  Once I found my way to a to a natural holistic doctor, Dr Boyd, I was finally able to heal my physical wounds through natural methods including dietary changes and through learning to meditate. Meditation has become my saving grace during frantic stressful times. 

Meditation has provided me:

  •  The ability to find a quiet place inside my mind that provides clarity and the clear thinking
  • A place to calm down when life gets frantic.
  • A calm environment that brings focus to my unruly and scattered thoughts. 
  • A better sleep pattern
  • A way to manage my adrenal fatigue.
  • The ability to make decisions I have confidence in.
  • The patience to not throttle my kids when they are driving me insane.
  • An overall sense of serenity.

In this very busy, very hectic, multi-tasking world, being able to calm down and find some peace is a necessity.  Our bodies were not built to withstand this kind of manic lifestyle. We were built to thrive under acute stressors, like running for our lives from a predator,  or acquiring food for our families that day. We were not built to handle the constant demands of todays lifestyle at all. Our current lifestyles are very un-paleo for sure. This is where meditation can help us slow down and reduce some of that chronic stress.

 There are different types of meditation techniques. If you have never meditated before a guided meditation can be really helpful. There are  books, tapes, disks, iTunes recordings,  and smart phone apps you can use to help guide your meditation. I often use an iPhone app called Simply Being . I can choose a meditation that ranges from 5 to 20 minutes. You don’t need to meditate for hours to get a tremendous benefit from it. And you don’t need to sit in the lotus position with your middle finger and thumb forming a ring chanting ‘”ohmmmmm…” unless you want to of course. . You can sit quietly with eyes open or closed, you can lie down, or you can even be moving. What ever helps you focus.

Meditation can be in any number of forms. Some examples are basic, focused, activity oriented, mindful and spiritual.

  • Basic techniques are about clearing your mind and thinking of nothing.  Just sort of being aware of your thoughts but not engaging in them, letting them pass through and then letting them go. I found this kind of hard at first and guided meditation was really helpful.
  • Focused techniques are done focusing on something very intently. It can be a statue or picture, your own breathing,  a specific thought or phrase, or something auditory like music or nature sounds.
  • Activity Oriented techniques are just that. They are focused on some sort of activity in which you can find a “zone” like walking and focusing intently on just the act of walking, or yoga or even cleaning!
  • Mindful techniques  are about staying present in the moment and not thinking at all about the past or future. Only about right now. What are you feeling and experiencing right now? What do you notice about your environment right now? What does your body feel like right now and only now? etc.
  • Spiritual techniques are grounded in some sort of spirituality, it can be a specific religion or non-specific spirituality.  It can be in the form of a prayer or even a focus on asking “God” for the answer to a question or for guidance.

These are all very broad examples, there are many more specific examples of each of these. One great book I found on Amazon that helped me get started is called, “ Meditation, How to Reduce Stress, Get Healthy and Find your Happiness in 15 minutes or less” by Rachel Rofe. I bought it on amazon.  Another highly recommended resource from someone I respect and trust, Dr Chris Kresser is Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Midfullness Meditations.

There are literally hundreds of resources including classes as well.  I encourage you to at least check it out. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed, anxious, stressed out, unable to focus or make a decision or just plain need some ‘YOU” time, meditation can be the answer. You can always take it with you. It always fits, no matter how fat and bloated you feel. It is always there just for you and nobody else.  It never leaves you feeling worse after you’ve indulged yourself!  It’s better than Ice Cream! (Well, almost.)

 Until Next Time,

~ Laura, MGP

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