Real-World Applications of Meditation Techniques
In a recent video on stress and meditation, I briefly discussed the dangers of unchecked stress, the benefits of meditation, and led the viewer through a guided meditation. In this article, I am going to share a few examples of how the techniques learned during meditation can be applied to everyday life.
In meditation we learn to be present in the moment, to let go of judgments and thoughts that take us out of the moment, and we learn to use our breath to calm our bodies and minds to take ourselves out of fight or flight mode. These lessons can be used in times when our minds wander and spiral to apocalyptic scenarios, towards unwelcome thoughts and judgments of ourselves and other people, and can be a touchstone of helping our bodies and minds remain calm.
If you’re like me, then when an anxiety-producing situation is looming in the known future, you tend to try to imagine different outcomes or conversations that could happen as a result, and what started out as planning ahead becomes spiraling to all of the possible negatives. It can be difficult to differentiate between planning and spiraling. In unexpected situations, you may find yourself feeling keyed up with your heart about to beat out of your chest. Let’s also not forget the times that we feel that someone or something has wronged us in traffic or in some other aspect of society.
In all of these situations it can be easy to let our lizard brains take over, but using what you learn in meditation can help let reason, calm, and ultimately well-being take over. After all, while arguing against every perceived wrong may feel good in the moment, or while letting our catastrophic thoughts feed our anxiety may feel reassuring at the time, constant exposure to these feelings and reactions ultimately leads to a decline in mental and physical health. In times of perceived wrongs using breath awareness and the instructions given of how to let go of random thoughts and judgments can be grounding and remind us that sometimes letting go of anger is the answer. Imagine these feelings floating away as used in the meditation from my video. When thoughts of the calamitous future get the best of you, bring your attention back to the task at hand or to your breathing and without judgment remind yourself what is and isn’t in your control. For your own well-being be present, be kind to yourself and others, and live your best life. JRB