What Meditation Can do for Your Mental Health

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Meditation is an interesting concept.

Reaching a calm spot in your mind can be hard, especially if life is busy. Your mind is racing with thoughts and slowing down can seem almost impossible.

There are meditation apps on both Apple and Android platforms, even on YouTube. It’s up to you. I prefer an app, Insight Timer. I like the selections- some are led by a person, some use music. I prefer the person.

I started meditating as part of running a group at a former job. I got really into the quiet time to gather my thoughts and just relax. Everyone knew that was my group. The patients also loved it- the group was usually packed.

I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to restart.

Less than five minutes can change your whole day.

Feeling Good All Over

Meditation can help your mind get into a better place, which can help the rest of your body.

How can you get to that place?

  • Find a comfortable space. I prefer sitting on my bed or couch, but this is entirely up to you. Some like sitting on a yoga mat on the floor as part of a yoga practice. It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
  • Quiet is a must. It is hard to meditate if there is a lot of noise in the room you are in, so try to find a good time/place to try this. It can be an almost impossibility with children, pets and/or other people, events, etc, but it’s possible.
  • Do you need a timer? Some do, some don’t. I’ve tried untimed and timed, and I prefer timed. Otherwise, my mind tends to wander off and it defeats the purpose.
  • It’s okay if your mind wanders. If you’ve never tried meditating before or you are coming back to it, your mind will tend to wander. It’s natural. It’s hard at first to let your mind just be. If you’re listening to meditation with words, it can be hard to listen to and connect to the meditation. This is why I suggest short ones at first. As you get deeper into practice, you can work up to longer ones, if you decide it is for you. Everyone has different needs and preferences.
  • Don’t force it. Meditation isn’t for everyone. If it isn’t for you, you will realize it.

Calm sky

Meditation can help you in the following ways:

  • concentration
  • relaxation- as you meditate, your breathing slows and deepens, helping you relax. Also, your mind clears. This is helpful in many situations.
  • pain management- keeping your mind off severe pain, even if for a short while
  • anger management- thinking through things before adverse actions, using relaxing breaths
  • stressful situations/anxiety
  • can help children and adults
  • sleep

Self-care is vitally important. I’ve covered this topic many times on this blog. It’s not just a passing fad or something to do when we’re bored or just when we have time, but something we should find time to do every day, even if it’s just five minutes. I entirely need to get better on the meditation- I love it. It helps me center my thoughts for the day. Restarting an old habit can be a pain sometimes. How do you do it?

For further reading:

Self-Care Isn’t Just Bubble Baths

Alone Time Is A Wonderful Thing

Is It Time for A (Mental Health) Break?

How Can People Pleasing Hurt You?

I like (some) people.

Those people make me happy and I like to try to make them happy. This is how friendships and relationships work, at least in part, right?

Falling Into a Pattern

It’s one thing to try to make people happy when you can and it’s reciprocated, but sometimes, without seeing it, we can fall into a pattern of “people pleasing”.

I describe this as doing things that you may or may not be okay with or may even be detrimental to your life (financially, emotionally, physically, or in other ways, and can be a combination of these).

Everyone has a point, however, in which it just becomes too much.

Do we always see it?

No.

Do we try to change the pattern if we do?

Sometimes.

In a way, this goes back to how we are raised. Some families are rooted in religious and/or other traditions that basically require putting your needs aside for others. Even so, there’s still room for self-care. There’s space for not resenting putting yourself behind others.

Of course, our parents usually raise us in the way they were and not too long ago, it was understood that most girls were taught to please everyone, even if it made them miserable. Lily got lucky because I didn’t like this idea. This idea is still out there but is changing.

“No” is NOT the end of the world

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re an adult.

When we were little, if we didn’t get what we wanted, we threw tantrums. If you’ve got kids, you have probably been on the receiving end of one. If not, please tell me what your secret was. Send an email, DM, something. I’m curious.

If you get nothing else out of this post: no is not the end of the world. Read that many times if needed.

Feelings tend to build up over time and if you spend most of yours doing everything that you don’t want to, those feelings aren’t going to be positive ones. Resentment, anxiety, and depression are just a few emotions that might pop up.

What can say “No” do for you?

  • Free up time that you would rather be doing something else
  • Give a sense of control
  • Increase sense of self-esteem
  • Relieve the stress of having to do something you don’t want to
  • Lead to other areas in your life that you can work on, like assertiveness, self-worth, etc.

People might be a bit surprised at first because they’re so used to you saying “yes” to everything, but they will get used to it. If they get mad, well, they just get mad. This might be weird and slightly weird but… It pays off.

Swear.

In the meantime, you get to have the fun of figuring out what matters to you. How do you want to spend your time? How do you feel about getting back control of your life, even by taking just one step?

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

You’re back?

I’ll continue.

Taking back your life

After you put some thinking and action into not making everyone happy…what’s next?

You can read Setting Healthy Boundaries to get a good idea on where to start. Are You Meeting Your Needs? can also be a bit helpful. Those posts are full of tips to assist you in feeling okay with making your life a bit easier and hopefully, happier.

Changes like these don’t happen overnight, so don’t get upset with yourself if you slide backwards. It happens. Just keep trying.

I’m no expert here, but things do get easier after making changes for yourself, at least in this capacity.

Go forth and be awesome!

I’m raising money to get a book published, please go here for more information. ❤

Filling the Hole in Your Heart

Purple rose quote

There are times in which the people we think love us really don’t. Instead, they break our hearts in a number of ways.

We forget to love ourselves. We forget that we are worth love and even in a world that values relationships and marriage, we forget that it’s okay to be single.

I’m not single, but I would be okay if I were. Taking time to work on yourself may require you being single. Sometimes it doesn’t.

The love that you have for yourself can make up for the love that others don’t have or show for you. It hurts. It’s not pretty to realize that people that you love may not love you back or even in the way you want them to.

This missing love can leave a bit of a hole, an emptiness in your heart. Fill it with happiness, good times and love. This will carry you through the harder times.

The Best Benefits of Sobriety

I’m coming up on two and a half years of sobriety on July 1. I don’t count the days anymore, I count the months. My math sucks, but 2 1/2 years is 30 months, right?

The Sunlight Does Come In

Sobriety isn’t always fun. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it just sucks..including the work, it takes to stay sober. It doesn’t matter what your DOC (drug of choice) is. Sobriety is rough.

You have to get in touch with yourself, even the parts you don’t like. This part was not fun at all for me when I started and I am glad I was in therapy at that point. Nobody is perfect.. So I was trying to rebuild myself while not drinking.

Ha.

This can get bad. Lots of tears, yelling and venting are involved. Or maybe that’s just me.

There’s a lot of looking at yourself, thinking about your mistakes and how you can be a better person. Maybe even how you can fix things with people, if that’s possible.

If you’re familiar with the 12 Steps, that sounds like stepwork. Making amends can be hard and I learned it isn’t always possible. Sometimes you break a bond and that’s it- there is no fixing it. All you can do is wish that person well and try not to repeat those actions.

I’ve had to do this and my goodness, it is painful. It has been one of the hardest parts of my recovery.

The Work is Worth It

After some work on yourself, developing a positive outlook, good things happen. It happens a little each day.

Eventually, you actually start liking yourself again. Wow! It’s a neat thing. You don’t mentally bash yourself on a daily basis and want to take care of yourself, maybe even start a new hobby, job or something similar. Every day isn’t a blast, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.

The sunshine is here and it peeks in a bit every day.

Sunshine

Is That ME?

Going out with your friends and being able to remember it?

Not waking up hungover and regretting dumb things the next day?

Caring about yourself a bit more?

Being present for your family and friends, and work performance improving?

Sleeping, eating and feeling better all around? (Once the withdrawals are gone, of course. Those can get bad.)

WHOA… that is you!

Applause

What Are the Benefits?

Besides the obvious of not using/drinking, here are the best benefits I’ve seen so far:

  • Clearer thinking
  • Happy to try new things
  • Saving money (fireball and vodka are NOT cheap, and believe me, I drank a LOT)
  • I can remember things from the night before
  • No hangovers (who really likes those?)
  • More time to do things with my friends and family
  • Ability to be there for friends and family- my mom broke her shoulder in three places and I was actually able to be supportive and helpful while she recovered. (She’s okay, btw)
  • I’m much happier (even on my bad days)
  • My liver functions well again (minus the sulfa medication allergy snafu)
  • Better coping skills have been formed- writing, actually talking it out (eek), coloring, reading, yoga.. Healthy things

These are just the first ten that I could think of. I can’t recommend a Y12SR class enough. It’s a yoga class but for those in recovery (from anything).

The first half of the class is a meeting then yoga. I started going when I was super struggling and I was close to relapsing. I didn’t and have been attending this class since November. There’s only two classes in Louisville, so it might be hard to find depending on where you are.

I am working on myself daily to stay sober because it’s a long term thing. Some days are harder than others. #OneDayAtATime

If you do need help with addiction please seek it! You will thank yourself so much later. Please see my resources page for information.