***, originally uploaded by Annelogue.

A few precious hours remains of my Easter holiday and I have already started to tune myself into the upcoming week’s tasks. These five days off have been unusually relaxing. I’ve spent the days drinking coffee, reading, surfing on the Internet…it’s been wonderful. It’s been so lovely that I’ve already asked my boss for another week off in the end of April. I need something to look forward to. One of my goals for 2008 was to get better at stress management. I feel that I have been conscious about my stress levels for quite some time now and that I have tried different things to better deal with it. I tried to change some outer factors, like going home from work at five every day, even if the load of work kept piling up. Also, saying no to a lot of things to reduce the amount of things I’d commit to doing. After trying a number of things like that, I still felt exhausted and tired, even when I didn’t have a lot going on. So, in February I started doing breathing exercises and Mindfulness meditation.
How well is all of this going for me? The ten minute breathing exercise every morning was an instant success and I dare say that it has saved my life. I have a greater focus on my breathing throughout the day and it seems to bring a greater balance into my life. I’m much more calm in general and in chaotic situations I seem to be more collected than I usually would be. I experienced for instance a project manager screaming in my face in frustration over deadline delays on my part for a programing task. I was completely cool while he threw a major tantrum. I salute the breathing exercises for this. I slowly breathe all the way into my tummy, which obviously puts me in a parallel universe (ahaha….off she went) where I’m immune towards the blows of hyperventilation and the rest of the ugliness that lack of oxygen can cause in your brain.
Now, the meditation, what does it do for me? I’m still not sure. I was super hesitant to start meditating, because I’ve tried to meditate regularly before and it did nothing for me. In Mindfulness meditation I focus on my diaphragm, there is no mantra involved…which is a good thing for me. I think it’s better to focus on my body than on something in my head. I guess it’s a process and I’m told that I’ll notice improvement in concentration if I keep at it. I’ll give it a go.
The bottom line is, these two things, breathing exercises and meditation together somehow makes me feel more balanced and I deal with stressful circumstances in a much better way than before. So far, it is more than I expected.

2 thoughts on “*Balanced*

  1. I also find that meditation has to involve focusing on body/sensation rather than anything in my mind. If I focus on something in my mind, even just a mantra, I tend to go off on a trail of free-associating thoughts and the next thing I know, I’m forgetting to breathe and my head is full of the things I am worried about.

  2. Exactly, I feel the same way about using a mantra as a focus point in meditation….I also tend to forget to breathe if I only try to focus on a mantra.
    If my focus is on breathing, then at least I don’t forget to do that, even if it happens that I drift away with thoughts. When I realize I have trailed off I just go back to focus without judging myself for it. I can feel that after some months of Vipassana meditation my concentration has improved somewhat. I’m faster at realizing that I have trailed off from focus and I don’t trail off as much as I did in the beginning. It’s a process…a long and slow one :-).

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