I have the type of mind that never shuts down. I believe even when I’m asleep my mind is active which is why I often wake up feeling tired. Learning how to not think all the time and live in the present moment was and still is a challenge. I could live weeks in my head being physically present in the moment but mentally somewhere else. So my first question to myself was – WHY – Why is this happening?
Wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else with someone else is the definition of STRESS. We try to escape the present moment because we don’t like it so we mentally run away either to the past or to the future living our lives in constant fear. Fear of accepting life as it is, good or bad. While I am great at accepting good in my life I struggle with accepting the bad, the downs of life so whenever they appear in my life I runaway. Not physically but mentally. And running away is not a solution, it’s a constant delay and fear of facing and accepting the truth. The truth that life and the people in my life will always come in waves and embracing all of them is key to finding a balance.
I used to runaway from my problems and find refugee, comfort and that ” good feeling” in food, alcohol, recreational drugs and TV. So I decided I want to stop doing that because it was physically unhealthy for my body, mind and soul. Nevertheless while I am significantly better at this my mind found a new way to escape once again. It was not Netflix, a slice of pizza or a bottle of wine this time, it was living in my imagination. In a world that doesn’t even exist. In a world of ” what ifs” trying to either find comfort and that ” good feeling” again in a beautiful memory from the past or in a wonderful imaginative moment from the future. It became clear to me that until I am ready to face life with all its goods and bads my brain will come up with all kind of different ways to escape reality.
So how do you face life without getting overwhelmed and cry for a week while you eat a ton of chocolate? Well I found two things that really worked for me that I’d like to share them with you.
Keep in mind that when I first tried to meditate which was almost 6-7 years ago I was not able to keep my eyes closed for more than 3 seconds. Learning how to meditate requires a lot of patience and commitment. It’s a journey and I believe one keeps learning from it every single day.
What is MEDITATION?
Meditation is a type of mind-body complimentary therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years. There are many varieties of meditation, all of which help to produce a deeper state of relaxation and tranquility. Generally, meditation is practiced alone, however, group or guided meditation is also widely practiced.
The practice allows you to focus your attention and quiet the mind, promoting stress reduction. The end result is enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
Meditation grounds me, helps me quiet my mind, observe my thoughts and live in the present moment. It is definitely one of my favorite tools that I use when feeling lost.
Exercise is another tool in your healthy toolbox you can use when life puts you down. When we exercise we release all types of ” feeling good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. It’s all about choosing the right thing for you. Yes when feeling down you can choose to become a potato couch, order a pizza and watch a full season of your favorite show. But that’s a short term solution that’s going to take the wrong toll on your mental and physical health and most probably will make you feel even worse after it ends. You’ll sleep interrupted, bloated and wake up feeling extremely tired the next day.
Or you could choose to go out for a walk, a run, ride your bike or swim for 15-20 minutes. That will give your body enough time to produce all the ” feeling good” hormones which will stop you from trying to get them from somewhere else like a big bowl of pasta. Plus we all know how good and healthy exercise is. Any type of exercise. You will most probably come back home with a fresh new perspective, a more quiet mind and relaxed body. You’ll sleep like a baby and wake up the next day feeling fresh and well rested.
These are the two things I do when I feel lost and/or unhappy with a certain situation and find myself trying to escape reality. While I agree that there are times when we have control over our lives and can fix the problems in our lives, sometimes we cannot and the only thing we can do is to sit back, accept life and learn how to deal with the outcome in a healthy way. Hopefully these things that have worked for me will work for you, too!
To Your Health and Happiness,