Reduce Feelings of Overwhelm With Mindfulness MeditationJun 30, 2020 ● By Briana Bragg
Photo by Filbert Mangundap on Unsplash
Many changes and challenges have occurred over the past few months that threw us into a state of overwhelm with shifts in our daily personal and professional routines. These circumstances have caused increased stress hormones in the body, racing thoughts in the mind and for many, disrupted sleep patterns. Fear, anger and sadness have come to the forefront for us to deal with while also trying to manage a new work/life balance with kids at home and nowhere for us to go to get away from it all.
During challenging or difficult times, it is common for the brain to operate in survival-based thinking, allowing fear to shut down the logical mind. When the brain is in this mode, it is not thinking clearly. For example, if we constantly create thought patterns of catastrophe, failure and worst-case scenarios, our thoughts, feelings and actions feed the body with cortisol. Once the body is used to getting cortisol, it wants more.
It is possible, however, to retrain the brain to align with unlimited potential. Negative feedback loops in the brain cause thoughts from the past to resurface, leading to emotions held in the body that produce chemical reactions. We become addicted to these chemical reactions and often create scenarios that feed them, thus keeping us stuck in a negative state.
The blessing in all of this is we are being invited to go within and create an opportunity for self-growth and transformation. Transformation is never easy, but if there were nothing to transform, we would not get triggered, which can be viewed as “shadow work”. It provides an opportunity to see what’s underneath an upset, especially when a person, a group or a collective mindset triggers it. Often, we want to blame others when sensitive emotions get exposed; when we blame, externalize and project our emotions onto the world, we stay contained in a sea of low vibration. However, when we allow emotions to surface in a healthy way, we honor ourselves, surrender to what we cannot control and release the tension held within our body. Mindfulness practices and meditation are the answer to becoming unstuck and less reactive, while also becoming more aware and capable of living in the present moment.
- Put your attention on your intention. Every single day we have the opportunity to learn something new. In fact, pieces of information enter the brain per minute. This infiltration of knowledge is a tool that can be used for reflection. Begin reflecting more often about your actions, experiences, and results. This will help you sift through the information you are receiving and generate awareness about what is useful, what is valuable and what doesn’t work.
- Contemplate the following questions: What can I accept about my current situation? How can acceptance make an impact in an area in my life that I am not in control of? What am I afraid to face?
- Become aware of your thoughts and emotions. Tune into them and try to understand why they are showing up in certain moments. When awareness occurs, change can occur. Begin to honor your thoughts and emotions, and when in a negative state, work to move through them and not stay there.
Meditation Techniques for Calming the Mind
- Breathwork – Align your inhale and exhale with the same count. Inhale for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Repeat 10 times and then notice the changes within the body.
- Observe Thoughts – Often, we tend to attach to thoughts and become emotionally charged by them. Instead, try becoming the observer or witness to your thoughts – watching them float by in your mind as a movie reel, rather than attaching to them.
Benefits of Meditation Include:
Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves cardiovascular health
Enhances focus and concentration
Encourages a healthy lifestyle
Increases retention and memory