5 Tricks To Get Off Your Butt and (Finally) Meditate

My sister had a teacher in third grade who tried to teach her students to meditate.  That was over 30 year ago and I still remember her little hands trying to imitate the “Om” hand posture while making fun of what she had learned.    Well, It turns out she that her hippy teacher was way ahead of her time.
 

Things have changed. Over the last 15 years, meditation has become mainstream, along with yoga, reiki, and very fibrous kale.  As the creator of Advanced Holistic Counseling tm, a  fresh modern therapy model that combines the best of Traditional Psychotherapy with the best Holistic Modalities and Alternative Tools, I am ecstatic that being still is finally being recognized for the physical, emotional, mental, and material transformations it creates.    I LOVE that people are realizing that mediation, mindfulness, and visualization can create feelings of peace, help to manifest abundance, and have even been scientifically demonstrated to change brain functioning in a research project with the Dali Lama.    But, even though meditation has gone mainstream, why aren’t most people actually doing it? 

 

“Even though meditation has gone mainstream,
why aren’t most people actually doing it?” 


So…Why Aren’t YOU Meditating?

If meditating is so darn good for you, why aren’t you doing it? (Note: If you are meditating on a daily basis, read on anyway because I’ve got tips for my yogi friends too).

Most of you aren’t getting down with your daily Om for two reasons: time and know-how. You don’t make the time for it in your busy lives and you don’t know what to do to maximize the results of sitting and “doing nothing”.

Let’s solve both right now.

 

5 EASY WAYS TO GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND (FINALLY) SIT DOWN TO MEDITATE
1) Stop seeing this as a “have” to and realize it’s a “get to”. This is your one chance everyday to sit down, do nothing, and not feel guilty about it.  Start realizing it’s actually productive to “be still”.  Change your thinking to:  “Finally, I GET TO meditate!”  
2) Ritualize it. Get it into your routine the way you brush your teeth or make your bed. For example,  meditating after you eat your lunch everyday makes it a habit that you will remember. 
3) Plan it for when you need it. Plan your meditation for a time during the day when you are desperate for quiet or down time. What time of day are you wiped or need to recharge? Once you see how great it feels to relax you will be clamoring to get to your meditation everyday.
4) Just give yourself 10 minutes. Optimal meditations are 15-30 minutes but most people can commit to and will benefit from less. I even have a 7 minute “Immediate Peace Meditation” you can get by putting your email in here .
5) Make unused time feel good! Meditate during these unlikely times and you will easily fit it in your busy schedule: outside during your lunch break, on the train while commuting with itunes meditation music on, in your car while waiting for your child’s pre-k class to let out, when your friend is running late, in the middle of the night when you can’t go back to sleep, anytime you would normally watch a boring repeat on tv.

5 EASY WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR MEDITATIONS
1) Take the pressure off. Meditation doesn’t have to be some big deal. If you are tired, use the time to just rest your eyes and BE. Allow yourself nod off or let your mind wander. Put music on to help soothe you. The goal is relaxation, especially when you are just learning.
2) Expect nothing and you will do it right. Most people feel like they have failed when they try to meditate because they simply can’t stop thinking. But asking your mind not to think is like expecting the ocean not to wave. Don’t expect yourself to be blissful and void of thought when first learning.
3) Use lavender. Get a small bottle of lavender oil from the local health food store and dab some of your wrists as you ready yourself to meditate. Inhale the smell deeply.
4) Let everything come and go. You will think of many things while sitting quietly. This is normal and fine. Every thought wants your attention like a demanding little child. Just notice each thought and let it pass like a cloud in the sky. Your thoughts will slow down over time.
5) Fill your mind with beauty. If your mind is busy, give it good things to think about: Imagine the wonderful summer you are going to enjoy, remember a lovely sunny day or a fun memory, envision something you want to create, imagine white divine healing light gently flowing over your head and whole body.

 

BONUS:  FILL YOURSELF WITH LIGHT. Sit down and think of 5 things you are grateful for. Imagine each item causing your heart to fill with more and more pink light. Once your heart is full, send this light out to fill the room you are sitting in and then send it to people you want to receive your love and healing.

 

“Making meditation hard defeats the whole purpose.
Start by giving yourself some quiet time everyday. Over time, you can add new bells & whistles to your practice…but first just build an enjoyable habit. “


JUST SAY YES

Life is full of no’s and challenges. Why not just say yes to making meditating easy and yes to making some quiet time for yourself everyday? If you’re skeptical about your return on investment and whether your time will be worth it, consider one of my clients who was suffering from postpartum who felt overwhelmed when she was stuck in the house with a new baby during the winter. She told me she’s “not too into that kinda thing” because “it seems kinda weird.”     No problem, I said, but let’s just give it a whirl anyhoo because something needs to change, right?  So I sent her my 5 FREE guided audio meditations you can get by signing up here, hoping she would give it a try. I got a call from her the other day. Turns out she’s been giving herself the gift of being quiet…and it’s paying off enormously.

 

 

Beth Miller, LCSW-R, CEC, CAHC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Life Coach, energy healer, meditation teacher, and spiritual counselor in private practice in Sayville, Long Island, New York USA.  She is the owner of the group practice POSITIVE ENERGY Holistic Counseling & Institute where she and her fabulous team of therapists use the breakthrough model Advanced Holistic Counseling to create transformational change in their clients.    Beth is the creator of the trademarked Advanced Holistic Counseling:  modern therapy that combines the very best of traditional psychotherapy with life coaching, energy healing, science, and spirituality.   Now, Licensed Therapists can learn how to experience huge transformation in themselves, their clients, and their careers by becoming Certified in Advanced Holistic Counseling.  For free holistic and psychotherapy tools, visit the POSITIVE ENERGY Holistic Counseling & Institute youtube channel.

 

Just Say No To The New Normal: 6 Steps To Start A Revolution Against Stress, Worry and Anxiety

If you’re anything like me, you might be getting alarmed at our new emotional normal these days. You know how everyone worries, talks about stress, and is anxious in one way or another? Now, we know that stress has always existed for humans – after all, it’s the very stress hormone (adrenaline) we are blessed with that has enabled us to fight or flight throughout thousands of years to get to where we are today.

Unfortunately, we are overusing this stress response that was supposed to be used for survival purposes only as our everyday life experiences, such as traffic jams or frustrations at work spark a cascade of thoughts, emotions and chemical reactions that tell us we should tense up, breathe shallowly, have racing thoughts, and lose concentration. And even though we all know being stressed is a routine experience in our demanding lives, I’ve noticed that somehow being worried and anxious have also become part of the new and accepted normal as well.

In my psychotherapy, life coaching, and energy healing practice, I specialize (in part) in treating stress, worry, and anxiety so naturally I expect to spend my days teaching people the tools and making the shifts necessary to eradicate this unnecessary condition. In fact, it is a true blessing to witness the freedom they experience as they align with who they truly and end the suffering that stress, worry, and anxiety has caused in their lives.

But I’ve noticed the baseline of everyday anxiety has increased for the masses. If I think of the 15 closest people to me in life, I can easily give examples of how each one stresses, worries, or has anxiety that interferes with their happiness in life. Their levels of stress, worry, or anxiety (or what I call S.W.A) may not meet clinical proportions, but their lives would be greatly improved if they didn’t have to waste their precious life energy on the act of worrying, fretting, racing, pushing, ruminating, or generally feeling pressured or negative.

In other words, you no longer need to have a clinical diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder to lay awake at night with worry, think of the worst things that could happen, have inner dialogues battling your own ruminations and self doubt, race around like a chicken without a head, assume the worst about others or yourself, become overwhelmed by paperwork and to-do lists, not sit still until 10 pm, or avoid taking risks or feeling feelings because it could make you anxious. Or maybe the new normal is that many more people actually do meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Either one is not okay.

Stress, worry, and anxiety are SO normal that the word “stress” in an article headlines actually get’s a big yawn from readers because it’s not new or sexy enough. “Stress” as a topic is pretty boring because lots of people simply endure it as if it is an expected bi-product of life, i.e. that it’s a price one has to pay to get other good things they want, is a badge of honor about how busy or successful they are, or is just a cultural norm that gets modeled and repeated over and over.

So I’m thinking we need a big, ol’ revolution! Today I am inviting- even inciting- you to put your foot down about the stress, worry, and anxiety in your life and say no to the new norm. Become a cultural revolutionary on the leading edge and take these steps to be…not normal!

Here’s How To Just Say No To The New Normal:

 1) Get mad about stress, worry, and anxiety and declare that you will not live this precious life in a state of stress and fear-based emotions. What a waste! Then replace the mad feeling with love for yourself and commit to living in a more harmonious way with yourself and your world.

2) Get busy learning new ways to shift your current habits to new ones. S.W.A. is very treatable and curable. There are tools and shifts that truly work. This means get a therapist, coach, self-help book, or group that is committed to helping you reduce your stress response behaviors and increase your joy quotient.

3) Learn to meditate. Seriously, it’s time. You’ve wanted to learn for years or people have told you to, so wait no longer. Meditation isn’t just for new-agers anymore. Everybody who feels happier is doing it and it’s more accessible than ever:
CLICK HERE to get these free guided meditations.

4) Slow and steady wins the race. Make changes, like writing in a gratitude journal everyday or grounding yourself with a daily walk, with commitment, consistency, and patience, Over time, it will make a measurable difference.

5) Shoot for 90%- You are probably not going to eliminate all of your S.W.A. and some of it has VERY useful benefits, so let’s aim for only being in a state of stress only 10% of everyday. The rest of the day will be met with a different way of life and heart.

6) Remember two important messages: This is YOUR LIFE and LOVE IS THE ANSWER. Everything else is just filler.

Live By These 2 Three-Letter Words To Have A Pretty Rockin’ Life

No, I’m not talking about the most well-known of two-word mantras, although we certainly know that saying “thank you” all day will shape your life into a magnificent thing. Giving thanks for what you have AND for what you want to have (in advance) is a sure-fire way to live a life that is happy. After all, a grateful heart attracts more to it to be grateful for.

But this article is about two OTHER words that need your attention if you are going to make this year one of your best. Life can sometimes get a little routine, filled with repetative tasks like the circular flow of never-ending laundry, work tasks, cleaning up after a meal (only to make another to clean up after), driving to and fro jobs and after-school activities. Sometimes it seems like the routines that make us feel comfortable can backfire and actually drain the life out of life.

After a long winter (like the one we had here in the north east USA), your energy might need as much spring cleaning as your floors to bring some color back into it.

Take a moment right now to remember back to a time when you felt really alive and excited by life. How old were you? What were you doing at the time? Chances are that two little words were the reason you loved (and now miss) those time periods the most. These two words bring out the bold and beautiful in any moment and have the natural side-effects of laughter and smiling. What words could bring out the fountain of youth within each and every one of us? Simply put, they are “yes” and “fun”.

1) YES
Boy is it easy to say “no” in life. Just ask any kids you know- they hear it all the time!

As adults, we say no to life pretty frequently. Do I want to drive an hour to go out to dinner with my friends after I worked all day? No. Do I want to be intimate after losing sleep taking care of my sick children overnight? No, not really. Do I want to get off the couch and get ready so I can go dancing? Not so much. Do I want to take the long way home to enjoy the view? Not if I have million errands to get done.

But if we let every impulsive “NO” win, if we allow our first response to decide our fate, we are likely to have way too little fun.

See, as children and teens, saying Yes was our natural state. Yes, I want I ice cream before dinner! Yes, I want to play outside until it’s dark, skip my bath, and go another day dirty. Yes, I want to cut high school math and go to the beach with my friends instead! Yes, yes, yes!

The consequences were of little concern. Yes ruled the day. And even though our parents said No often, insisting that we do our homework before playing or not ride our bikes without helmets, Yes was our predominant inclination.

And that’s what made life feel good.

I think what happens, as we get older, is that we have so many darn responsibilities and goals that we say No to pleasure and play too frequently. We are working so hard that we actually become lazy about having fun. We say No to last minute plans with friends, No to spontaneously flirting with our partner, No to playing with our kids instead of just watching them play, No to loud music in the car, No to spending some of our hard earned money on adventure.

When I graduated college, my more spontaneous best friends proposed we go on a trip across country. Our one-month drive from east to west coast and back again was not well planned (all four of us slept in a 2 person tent almost every night), not particularly high-end (we drove and slept in our rented mini van), not well financed (we each had $1000 and no debit cards or cell phones), and mostly half-brained (on more than one occasion we were naive, duped, and almost in jeopardy).

It was the time of our lives. Mostly because we said Yes to experience, Yes to fun, Yes to “let’s see what’s next”, Yes to love and play. We said Yes to life.

2) FUN
This three letter word can be the compass that guides your life if you let it. There are two ways to do this: 1) Make fun a priority by setting an intention to have fun experiences and 2) transform any dull moment into a fun one with minor adjustments.

Setting The Intention To Have Fun
I tend to be a task-oriented person, always with a to-do list in my back pocket and a pen ready to add to it. This can be very non-fun for my loved ones, and for me. Thankfully, I add “have fun” onto the list so that my kids and I make space for lol activities.

Last year I had the most fun summer ever. This happened because I told myself in the prior winter and spring months that I was going to have an EXTREMELY fun summer, which I then acted upon by filling up our June, July, and August calendar months with tons of vacations, mini-trips, and activities. My philosophy was that if I penned it into the calendar, super events would be guaranteed and the weeks would be less likely to pass in a blur. I also know how a day can go by easily without really taking advantage of it or saying Yes to doing more than the have-tos. So my strategy was to make a lot of plans and seal the deal by committing to them. This way, we would have guaranteed fun and could opt to say yes to spontaneous plans along the way as well!

I didn’t want to end my summer and say “I can’t believe it’s over! We didn’t even do that much!” Rather, I was already envisioning myself telling people in September “I had my best summer ever!” And as I did, I also learned what I need to do to create a blueprint for fun: schedule and commit to plans in advance and get the heck out of the house. Why the latter? Because if I am home, I will get sidetracked by the never-ending tasks that hijack my day. It I want to have a lot of fun, I have to be out in the world where I can’t see my laundry pile, work calendar, or full dishwasher.

An easy place to start is to make a list of 12 things you would like to do that would feel really fun for you and get them on the calendar. Even if you picked only one to do per month, a more fun year would be guaranteed!

Making Non-Fun Things Fun
Organizing your world around the idea that life can be fun, no matter what you are doing, elevates the energy of any moment. But you have to say Yes to making fun your highest priority feeling.

It’s great to teach kids that you can make anything fun, and it’s a lesson each one of us usually needs a daily refresher course in. Again, having fun requires intention if you are not naturally fun all of the time . Putting music on when it’s clean up time, being goofy while making lunch, and having a contest to see who can brush their teeth the longest or find the most dust bunnies are all simple ideas that only require a fun-seeking parent.

If want my children to describe their childhood as fun, I know I have to allow it to be fun and inspire laughter and non-sense.

But you don’t need kids to make mini moments of fun. Let your hair down and whistle while you are taking care of the business of life. Make it a priority to belly laugh at least once a day. Be a little sillier that you usually allow. Turn the music on at the same volume you did when you were an exuberant teen. Text funny notes to friends and start a virtual giggle chain of messages.

What get’s in the way of allowing fun into even the most mediocre of tasks? “Rushing” or being stressed can make you a real fun murderer, decapitating smiley opportunities before they even get a chance to lighten your mood. If you’re not having fun, maybe it’s time to slow down just enough to let the light- and the love- into your day.

After all, without our 3-letter friends YES and FUN, there’s a whole lot of 4-letter words that will fill your day.

The Absolute #1 Trick To Stop Anxiety And Stress Immediately

If you have stress, worry, or (gulp) even anxiety attacks, you know how frustrating and exhausting it is. And even though you know you shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff” and that it’s a waste of time to worry about things, you keep doing it anyway. In fact, I’m sure you’ve noticed that everyone considers being stressed a new- and acceptable- normal. Yikes.

I’ve been helping people with anxiety (and it’s equally annoying cousins, stress and worry) for over 20 years  and I know how daunting it can feel to transform. When starting to work with me, my clients usually describe having few actual tools to use or relying on an age-old strategy of trying to push away or ignore their stress. As Dr. Phil might ask “How’s that working for you?” Usually the answer is not so good. You might be really surprised when I reveal the

#1 go-to trick that will seriously reduce your stress, worry, and anxiety because it will be the opposite of what you would imagine.

For example, if you feel an anxiety attack coming on, your instinct is to run from it, to push it away, to keep it form happening by fighting it. And if you feel stressed, your impulse is to try to move faster, bark orders, or do more  so that you can fix whatever is stressing you. But believe it or not, I am going to tell you that the best strategy you can use if you feel stress, worry, or anxiety coming on is to go into i.

“What?” , you say. “This lady is crazy herself and she’s a psychotherapist? She is recommending that, just as I am about to become frustrated by my day or descend into the hell of an anxiety attack, I should just let it happen?”

Well, no, not exactly. But that’s close. Let me explain.

My suggestion is called Radical Acceptance, a Buddhist technique that says if we accept what IS so wholeheartedly and completely, it will enable us to then change. See, the problem is that most of the time we don’t accept what is true in the moment and this makes us much less able to shift and transform because we haven’t totally grasped where we already are.  Running from what we fear causes stress. Being with it, making friends with it. tames it.

Radically Accept Stress? SeriouslyLet me give you a concrete example. So let’s say you have 7 deadlines for work all due within an hour, a big meeting later this afternoon, your starving, and you just got a run in your tights. Typical Monday morning stuff. Your habit would be to get really ramped up, try to do several things at once, maybe yell at- or cry to- the nearest person close by, and scramble to get it all done, probably spilling your coffee or slamming your finger in the car door along the way. Later at night you will beat yourself up for not doing a good enough job (even though you were great), for being a jerk (for being a little too assertive with your child/partner/employee), and for the bag of chips and glass of wine (actually 2) you just consumed to numb and reward yourself. Sound familiar?

How would using Radical Acceptance help this scenario? First, before you even go to work, start talking to yourself with total acceptance, like this: “This morning I have many things to accomplish. I accept that I have set up my day this way. I also know and accept that I will get done what I can. I accept that it may not all happen perfectly.” This will help to reduce the pre-work anxiety. Later, as you feel yourself getting stressed or tense during your morning, use Radical Acceptance by talking to yourself aloud like this: “I am starting to get stressed. I can feel my body tense and my mind race. I am feeling frustrated that I have so much to do. But I can only do one thing at a time. I am going to take a very deep breath into my belly and simply slow down enough to do one thing at a time. I am present.”

By describing to yourself aloud what is happening in your body, how you feel, and then what you are going to do to problem solve, you are Radically Accepting the situation. It will instantly calm you down and enable you to handle your situation with presence and grace, instead of panic and pressure.

“Acceptance” and “Anxiety Attacks”. Isn’t that, ummm, counterintuitive?  Not at all. In fact, Radical Acceptance is your immediate way out of hell if you are panicking. Let’s say you have had a few anxiety attacks over the last year. When they happen your heart beat races, you feel like there is an elephant sitting on your chest, your body shakes, your paranoid that people can tell you are freaking out on the inside, and you mind is foggy and preoccupied with wondering if you are about to die. One of the main problems with this experience is that it leaves you petrified of the next time it will happen again. Now you fear your next fear response, you have anxiety about having an anxiety attack. You worry that you are not in control of your own body, emotions, mind, or behavior and without that what do you have?

Here’s what to do: When you feel the symptoms of anxiety coming on, begin practicing Radical Acceptance. Describe aloud what is happening.

“My heart is starting to race and my mind is getting overwhelmed. I am sweating. I am beginning to have some simple anxiety. That’s all. I am feeling stressed by something and it is causing adrenaline in my body. That’s all it is. I will take deep breaths and sit still for a few minutes. This will help.” Yep- I’m telling you to go right into it. Don’t avoid it. Describe it and feel it and tell yourself that it is just stress. This will help you be okay with WHAT IS much and shift you into the solution. Breathing, sitting still, calming down.

Radical Acceptance 1-2-3-4-5

        1) Stop moving, slow down. Become present and aware of yourself.

 

        2) Describe what is happening, preferably aloud. I am having anxiety.

 

        3) Describe how you feel in your body. My heart is racing and I am sweating

 

        4) Describe your emotional feelings. I feel fear and worry.

 

      5) Now tell yourself this is only an excess of adrenaline in the body and can change quickly.


Now begin your belly breathing to reduce the adrenaline in your blood stream and repeat “I radically accept that I have too much adrenaline in my blood and this can get better very quickly.”

But Isn’t Acceptance Approval? Nah. Acceptance is just being in the NOW. We don’t approve of stress, we don’t want it, but since we have it we need to befriend it’s existence in order to work with it and change it. And if there is anything I’ve learned from helping both the people who have the garden variety of unhappy stress or those with intense anxiety, fighting what is only makes things worse.

Keep in mind that, like hot sauce, you can use Radical Acceptance on everything. It’s not just for stress, worry, and anxiety. Try it on your next problem and see what happens!


Beth Miller is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Life Coach, energy healer, and spiritual counselor in private practice in Sayville, Long Island, New York USA.  She has one foot firmly planted on the earth while the other is exploring the spiritual mysteries of energy.  She works with individuals in person and via telephone, teaches workshops and groups, and has a lively youtube channel in which she teaches tools to cure anxiety and get in the flow of life. She is the author of The Soul Cure For Anxiety: The Ultimate Modern Therapy To Be Calm, Cool, and Connected (no matter what happens in life), a program that delivers the most effective therapy treatment to the inbox of anyone and everyone who wants to radically change their stress, worry, and anxiety. In USA 631.327.0090