"Anytime that you're feeling restless, take a deep breath and let it go."

- Erasure

MY MIND IS ON 100. ALL THE FUCKING TIME. AND MY BODY IS PAYING THE PRICE.

It may not seem like that, because on the surface-level, I'm quiet, keep to myself and look dis-interested (#RBF 😒) all the time. Unless you are in my very tiny circle of people that I let in, actually like and who 'get' me - I don't shout out rando ideas, share thoughts openly, show emotions freely, or act like a scattered person when there are a million tasks on my plate. But - i'm thinking. Overthinking, observing, calculating and contemplating about a lot of fucking shit.

I am a Sag. We are known as perpetual over-thinkers. I am also a creative / intellectual / philosophical soul. There is a lot of shit going on, at all times, in my brain.
I have complete monologues in my head about hypothetical conversations that never happen IRL - on what I would say approaching certain situations, or how I would present ideas if I was in an elevator, or what I would say to an ungrateful know-it-all pop-tart that's trying to test me. I also think about a hundred business ideas, stuff I need to do the next day, if I should or shouldn't colour my hair this month or what meal-prep delivery service I should use (and why I should just stop being lazy and do it myself). The point is - my brain has ALL the tabs open, is on 100 all the fucking time, and I need to learn how to calm tf down, sometimes.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT PANIC-MODE.

There was a point mid summer 2017, where I went though significant, noticeable periods of anxiety and stress. I remember a moment on a Sunday afternoon in June, where I was sitting on a patio and having an impromptu conversation with a few people about a business idea that I am developing, and going home and feeling SO edgy and restless - and not in a good way. I don't know what exactly triggered it (looking back it was probably a build-up of mental stress), but my heart was racing, my limbs restless, and I COULD NOT calm my body and brain. I felt like I was vibrating at a way different frequency than normal. I was in a 'fight or flight' panicked mode, and did a bunch of different things in the next 6-8 hour span to try and dissipate this feeling of anxiety and panic.

Step 1: roll and smoke 💨 (indica obv). / Step 2: turn off tv, macbook, spotify, phone ringer + notifications. / Step 3: find + download meditation app.  / Step 4: learn how to meditate, then meditate. / Step 5: gentle yoga. / Step 6: sit in a hot bath. / Step 7: smoke again. / Step 8: meditate again. / Step 9: try and sleep. / Step 10: sit in a hot bath again. / Step 11: meditate again. / Step 12: lie in bed with nature sounds, hoping to fall asleep. Ugh.

MINDFULNESS + MOVING FORWARD. AND FALLING AGAIN.

I woke up the next day still feeling on edge, and it did take a few more days to calm my body completely. I can tell you, that because of the anxiety attack, I have taken on daily meditation and self-care a lot more intentionally. I was never really that person that was into 'thoughtful mindfulness', 'daily intentions' and 'that kinda hippy/yogi/om stuff' - but being open to it has honestly changed my balance spectrum of being on 100 vs being at a 0. I found a median that works for me. Oftentimes in the past, I thought that I didn't have time for meditation, or 'just wasn't into it', but 10-15 minutes of meditation a day is more valuable than most people think. Your mind is a crazy powerful thing, that manifests itself in your body - and your body suffers when least expected.

A month after that anxiety attack, I got hit with Bell's Palsy very rapidly and very randomly. Not saying that stress was the main cause (and my physician says the actual cause is still unknown...and I really had no idea what tf BP was, but according to the ER doctor apparently 1% of the population gets it randomly from something as simple as a cold virus 😕), but I am pretty sure it was my body STILL harbouring stress and manifesting itself in my body. Not going into detail, I became depressed, frustrated and forced to really slow down and take a break from everything. I was devastated and drained, but it was a low-point that I used to really re-assess, re-group and re-up myself.

The thing I learned was that I needed to allow myself to BE STILL, CLEAR MY MIND and REST MY BODY. I wasn’t balanced, because I was always overthinking, taking on too many things, stressing about dumb things and letting people in that I didn’t even like. I didn’t take time for mindfulness - and my body shut down.

So that said - meditation and being 'still'? I now work on it every day. There are days I've missed, and even while in meditation my mind wanders and gets distracted, but it's inevitable and natural for this to happen, especially in the A.D.D. world that we live in. I've learned it's OK to be imperfect, to wander, and to fall. To be honest, I am the kind of person that doesn't do well with habitual things and routine (and commitment in general), but for the past few months, it's the one thing that has been a constant, gets me up early, and a ritual I actually look forward to doing. Just like we work on our physical fitness, working on our mental fitness is equally important.

MY MEDITATION APP OF CHOICE - 'CALM'

Although traditional meditation certainly doesn't involve an app, and even the idea of a 'meditation app' seems quite odd - I felt like I needed one because I'm a newbie, needed guidance, and like the idea of having it at my fingertips at all times (and I am obsessed with my phone). I downloaded the CALM App. It has helped me introduce daily meditation into my routine, and is now key 🔑 to my day to day. I am sure there are other meditation apps out there, but I was honestly drawn to this in the app store because of the aesthetic of the icon and the simplicity of the word 'Calm'.

 Image Source: Calm website ( www.calm.com )

Image Source: Calm website (www.calm.com)

When opening the app, you get a screen that says 'take a deep breath' then it brings you to the home screen where you have three main options: MEDITATE, MUSIC or SLEEP. There is also an option on the main screen for the 'Daily Calm' which is a daily guided meditation. I typically use MEDITATE, and choose the guided sessions (I'm not quite there in terms of doing unguided silent meditation, mainly because I get easily distracted). I started off using "7 Days of Calming Anxiety" which is a 7 Day (~10 minute sessions) guided program to assist with anxiety/stress, and also use the "Breathe" session, which is literally just a screen that guides you through deep breathing exercise (honestly this option is so simple and effective at instantly calming you, but it's amazing how we don't practice 'deep breathing' on a regular basis). What I like about the app is that you can choose different focuses (Anxiety, Focus, Sleep, Self-Care, Personal Growth...), and within each focus there are a number of different programs you can choose. There's even a 2 minute "Emergency Calm" for those i'm-gonna-explode-and-cut-a-bitch moments. I also like that you can leave the home screen sound on and just keep it on as calm background noise - I often just turn it on when I'm writing (like right now), reading or just need something neutral to listen too. All in all, if you're a newbie to meditation, you might be surprised how an app and 10-15 minutes can calm your restless (sometimes reckless) mind.

SO. PAUSE. BREATHE DEEPLY + INTENTIONALLY. BE STILL. THEN GO BACK TO YOUR DAY-TO-DAY HUSTLES.

P.S. There's a free version. I upgraded to the monthly subscription (access to more shit), because I realized that my mental health + wellness is key to my overall self + wealth. 

P.P.S. Watch the movie "FEEL RICH" - it's on Netflix, honestly just watch it.

CALM AF, BUT ONLY SOMETIMES. ðŸ’†ðŸ»
KMV

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