5 Easy Steps to Meditate the Stress Monkey Away

I’ve never been one to sit in long periods of meditation. Twenty minutes was a challenge to me as my mind raced with thoughts of the day and plans for the future. Now each morning for one hour, I become aware of each breath I take as I sit in silent meditation. I focus on the cool inhale and warm exhale. I’m always checking in with the quality of my breath. Is it fast and shallow? Is it slow and deep? Does it originate in my stomach area or the top of my lungs? How is it making me feel?

Most of the time, I’m not feeling good. The built up stress is still attached to me like a baby monkey to his mother. The mother monkey jumps from rooftop to rooftop with added weight making the journey much more difficult. When her baby is hungry, the mother monkey has to stop whatever she is doing and sit to feed. She surrenders completely, and devotes herself to him.

It’s much like I was doing with my stress. Carrying around the extra weight wherever I went. Feeding it constantly with negative thoughts and a stressful lifestyle. Surrendering myself to the stress, and devoting my thoughts to it.

I’ve decided I’m through with feeding it, and carrying it around this beautiful life. Now, my challenge is to detach from it. It became habit for me, my mind trained to cater to it. I gave stress power over me. Finally I’m taking my power back through meditation.

My Guru here in India is teaching me how to incorporate meditation into my every day life. It’s no easy feat, but there are a few easy steps to get started:

  1. Time– pick a time, either in the morning or the evening, when I have at least five to twenty minutes to dedicate (and aim for the same time every day)
  2. Sitting Position– choose any comfortable seated position (crossed-legs, legs out in front, back against a wall), make sure spine is straight
  3. Breath– begin with a few deep abdominal breaths followed by normal rhythmic breathing
  4. Mind– allow my mind to wander, don’t fight with the thoughts. Instead, observe the thoughts in my mind like I’m watching a movie, eventually they will fade away
  5. Point of Concentration– select a focal point on which my mind can rest, like nature, stars, colors, music or simply breathing

As the days progress, I add more time to the daily meditation building it up to one hour. Although my Guru says that twenty minutes a day is enough to de-stress the body and mind. With meditation, I’m beginning to see a change in my thought patterns. Positive thoughts start to outnumber negative thoughts. Slowly but surely, my baby stress monkey is starting to take the hint…

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

xoxo Kate

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