I’ve made it through the first month of my Happy 2018. Coping strategies was a good place for me to start, although definitely not easy. I think I needed to address the emotional elephant in my life. My favorite of the coping strategies was expressive writing and this is something I want to keep doing. I think it helps me to process my feelings by writing about them rather than try to stuff them in a hidden closet.
Now it’s on to month two of my Happy 2018, which is all about of taking care of my body. (This is from the book: The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyumbomirsky.) I’m looking forward to taking a bit of an emotional break and focusing on something else for this month. Taking care of myself physically is just as important as taking care of my emotions. I’m generally good at eating healthy and I go for lots of walks. I take my dog for walks twice a day for about forty minutes and often on the weekends we’ll go for long walks or hikes up mountains. Walking definitely helps to keep me sane by giving me the time and space to think.
This month I want to take care of myself by focusing on mediation, yoga, sleep and strengthening.
It seems that everywhere you turn, someone is talking about the benefits of meditation. From helping depression, anxiety, memory, improving immune system functioning and even living longer, it seems that meditation is the panacea for everything. Here’s 76 benefits of meditation!
I’m not a stranger to meditation. In college, I minored in Eastern philosophy and I remember one class we had to meditate and keep a journal. I don’t remember a lot about this experience. I think as a sleep deprived college student my mediation time often turned into nap time. In graduate school, I took a meditation class with a friend. I had a problem that when I meditated, I would feel like I was spinning. I thought that maybe if I didn’t close my eyes it would stop, but with or without my eyes closed, I felt like I was spinning in circles even though I could clearly see that I wasn’t moving. When I asked the teacher about this experience I got an answer about spirits trying to enter my head. Being a biologists-in-training, I wasn’t really onboard with spirits spinning me in circles.
Then last summer I took an online class on Mindfulness Meditation. This class was much more up my alley because it was based on the science of meditation. I also learned that my spinning issue was because I was controlling my breath too much. I was exhaling for so long that I was depriving my brain of oxygen! Once I learned to breathe normally, the spinning stopped. Since last summer, I tried to make meditation a more regular part of my life, but it has fallen to the wayside.
For the first week of February, I’m going to take care of myself by meditating daily. I’ve used the Insight app in the past, so that’s what I’m going to use. I like guided meditations because they help me focus better. This coming week I’m going to need some calm because I have to see him at court to sign our separation agreement. I haven’t seen him in the past four months, so I feel anxiety and dread. Breathing and more breathing will be my strategy for the coming week.