How do you respond when you get hit with something really heavy in life, and I’m not talking like a refrigerator or a Plymouth? When life really does a number on you, you get laid off, someone close to you dies or sick, you are breaking up with your love, what do you do? I usually freak out a little, sometimes a lot. And if we could somehow figure out how to harness all the energy caused by worrying, I’m sure I could power a good part of this city with my worry alone. “But Scott,” I hear you say, “surely YOU don’t get stressed or worry. After all you’re teaching other’s how to deal with those things.” To that I say, thank you very much for your confidence but that’s absurd. I can worry the best of them under the table.
And while I don’t have an immunity to worry, I do have a few tools through movement, yoga, and meditation that have really, really helped. Maybe they can help you, too.
T Talk to someone. I’ve been blessed with some wonderful friends in my life who have earned their calling on high after hours—days-- of listening to my plaintive worries about this and that. Sometimes, if only to hear yourself talk through your own thoughts and process, by talking it through you might come to some greater clarity about your worry. Good friends worth their salt might also remind you of your deeper nature, your capacity to overcome adversity, and give you a clear perspective because they know you. They can also call you on your own bullshit.
3. Move your bod. Wallace Stevens wrote, “Sometimes the truth depends upon a walk around the lake.” Damn! That’s right on. Sometimes, I gotta just move my body, maybe run or get to a yoga class, breath in and out, stretch out tension from my muscles, put some blood flow into my brain and wow it’s incredible how much clarity I can get. Even if my problems don’t go away after a yoga class, I might be more clear-minded about them afterword. At very least, I don’t compound worry with feeling crappy in my body. Also, movement produces endorphins, the feel good that often will stop a downward spiral of negativity. When you know you’re in a bad space, go and buy the monthly unlimited pass and go every day. I’m serious. It will change your life.
4. Meditate. Face the lion square in the face and take a minute to look at your worry objectively. As objectively as possible, and without judgment, notice everything about it, how it feels in your body, what it’s doing to your thoughts, where in your body you feel it. As you meditate regularly, especially when you’re not in the middle of a freak out but that works too, you become familiar with the part of you that doesn’t change when life’s events come and go. You can realize that events will come and go but your True fundamental self, your soul or spirit or consciousness, whatever, doesn’t change even when something crappy happens. Eventually you’ll start to see problems, even big and important ones, as transient against a backdrop of constant equanimity. Don’t get me wrong, this takes practice but it is real and very effective. At very least with a bit of objectivity, you’ll separate yourself from a myopic view of your problems and will hopefully be able to put them in to perspective.
5. Action. Do something about it now, even if that is only to write down your worries or talk to a friend. Even if there is something small you can do, put something into action to feel empowered.
We all get hit with something in life. Hopefully we cultivate the tools to respond to those heavy parts when they hit. Maybe I’ll see you in class or on the trail, or be stopped at a light next to someone doing some therapeutic sighing. For those interested in meditation, even if your brand new to the idea, I’m hosting a Yoga Nidra course on Wednesday nights from 6:30-7:45 pm where I’ll lead you through a great meditation process. Talk to Prana Yoga for deets by calling 801-596-3325801-596-3325 or click here.