1 – Stress Relief
This project has to be completed by tomorrow. I still need to make a doctor’s appointment and at home, there is the bathroom waiting to be cleaned. Tasks and responsibilities as far as the eye can reach! This was one of the many moments in my life when my head started spinning and it became hard to breathe. Sometimes, life can be so overwhelming that we don’t really know which way to turn. And stress is a vicious circle! As soon as you let it take the upper hand, this feeling of helplessness becomes even stronger and very hard to conquer. That’s when I realized that something had to change. I needed to find back my inner balance, or the challenges of my everyday life would overpower me. Since it’s difficult to change the external conditions, I decided to work on myself, on my way of looking at things and dealing with stress.
Sport and physical exercise are one way to let off some steam and fight the stress hormones, so I started my transformation by adding some workout to my weekly schedule. Not much, I didn’t want to lose weight or become a bodybuilder, but just enough to feel exhausted in a positive way now and then. This was already a good start, but exercise only brings a selective moment of relief. I needed more, something with a long-term effect.
Fact is, that mental and emotional sanity is at least as important as bodily health. Only if the body and mind are working together as a unit can you find inner peace and learn how to cope with demanding situations. Meditation helped me to take a step back, calm down, and see things as less threatening. It gave me new energy to confront the challenges of everyday life with confidence and a clear mind. I started with only five minutes per day, without exactly knowing how it works and what to expect. It became my little ritual, my personal haven where I could let things be and focus on nothing but myself. Step by step, I increased the time frame, and I noticed the effects on my behavior. Especially right after the session, but even during the whole day, I could feel that I was more relaxed. There were still moments when the stress became too strong to ignore, but this happened remarkably less often. In those cases I just take a deep breath and bring a smile on my face, knowing that stress as everything else is only a transitory phase and that I can find peace in my personal haven whenever needed.
2 – The Important Things
Before I started meditating, the high-stress level came along with a notable decrease in concentration. My brain felt like a sieve with enormous meshes; my thoughts were anywhere but in the present moment. I forgot important information within the blink of an eye, I could not even remember my seat number on the way from the entrance of the train station to the tracks. I was shocked and worried at the same time, wondering if this state was the new me and if it would stay this way forever. It felt as if my mind was constantly working at full blast, processing a huge amount of information without being able to differentiate between those who really mattered and those who could be forgotten without any regrets.
In brief, it felt as if I were about to lose sight of myself. In our modern world, where everything has to be better, faster and even more efficient, where we are exposed to an overload of news, messages, and information all day long, we’re forgetting about our personal needs and well-being. So did I. When people were asking me about my dreams and plans for the future, I had no idea what to tell them. In fact, I knew less about myself than about the struggles in some celebrity’s relationship or about the latest cat video. This was alarming, and it made me sad! I didn’t want to watch my life passing by without consciously being a part of it, so I started looking for the emergency brake.
For me, meditation became a way out of the hamster wheel, a chance to step away from the overstimulation, from social media and other distracting factors. The meanwhile firmly established meditation sessions are my obligatory “me-time”. A time where I can close the door behind me and connect with myself, listen to my thoughts and my body. At first, I felt naked without my phone. I was longing for news like an addict for his cigarette. But after trying several times and finally staying seated and focusing on my breath, I started feeling an incredible relief. Nowadays, I’m looking forward to my little islands of peace during the day, wondering how I could ever do without them. Because fading out the turbulent world from time to time and creating space for a little contemplation opens the view for the truly important things in life. Things that no type of media could ever tell you about.