Daily meditation practice: I recommend 10-20 minutes a day. Here are a few of my favorite techniques:
Plum Village mediation app: Fully free meditation app run by the Thich Nhat Hanh Monastery. Simple guided meditations by the monks and nuns. The most simple meditation I recommend is "Breathing in, I know I'm breathing in. Breathing out, I know I'm breathing out."
Insight Timer: Some of my favorite teachers are Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Sarah Blondin, Bree Mendelson, and Thich Nhat Hanh
Loving-Kindness meditation: “May all beings far and near, all beings young and old, beings in every direction, be held in great loving-kindness. May they be safe and protected. May they be healthy and strong. May they be truly happy.” AKA Metta Mantra.
Embodiment work: feelings get stuck in our body. Dance, sing, chant, laugh, cry just let those feels move through.
Community support: Having a few friends or family I can check in with when I'm feeling stuck.
Consistent sleep routine: I get a lot of sleep. 8-9 hours on average is what feels good for my body (probably because I don’t drink caffeine).
External support: therapy, coaching, transformational work, etc. I think when used as a compliment to the above, talk therapy can be very helpful but finding the right therapist is tricky. I like to ask if they do Narrative Therapy or CBT, I find these are helpful filters for finding a great therapist.
Little things to remember when I'm anxious
“I notice that I'm having the thought that...”: A great reminder that I am not my thoughts. I am the observer of my thoughts.
Recommended reading: Untethered Soul
Playful defusion: the idea that we can imagine our scary or stressful thoughts in a silly way. Imagine them being narrated by donald duck or spelling them out in crayons.
Tong Len Practice: A very deep buddhist practice. A reverse of the metta mantra. Breathing in pain, breathing out relief for those suffering. I love this because I often try to resist pain, this practice helps me integrate it and just allow it to be a passing human experience.
“Her secret is patience”: A George Bernard Shaw quote referring to nature. It reminds me that calms me down and reminds me to look into the natural world to slow down.
“My only job is to…”: This is a game I made up for myself that breaks down life into moment to moment experiences. I would say “Ok, my only job is to get out of bed.” And keep going throughout the day when I would get overwhelmed with how much I felt like I needed to do or figure out.
What else could this mean? This is a practice from Cognitive Behavior Therapy to question the current thought I am having. It helps view life from a less black and white lens and imagine other possibilities.
Leaves on a stream: Imagine a stream with leaves floating down it. Everytime I feel a worry coming on, imagine placing it on a leaf and it drifting down the stream.
“Neutral space is where god lives”: A quote I heard during a buddhist + jewish meditation retreat. Appreciating the mundane and little moments. We are trained to love the highs and hate the lows. A reminder to find beauty in the neutral.
“Have you ever commanded the dawn?” An Elizabeth Gilbert quote I adore. It reminds me that I am not in control of everything on this earth. That I don’t need to try to plan and calculate everything.
I am not the main character in my life: A friendly buddhist reminder.
Who is aware of the darkness? When things get dark and stormy to remember that even when darkness comes into my mind, I can observe it. I am not the darkness. It will pass
“I like to hang out with people who don’t take life too seriously:” A quote from my friend Jonathan. This helped snap me out of some major overthinking and look for more laughter and lightness.
I belong to the community of the universe: A quote from The Courage to Be Disliked. Imagining that I always belong, even if I don’t have a direct community near me. The community can be the world and I am certainly a member of it.
Recommended reading: The Courage to Be Disliked.
“The things I worried about the most never happened”: a quote from my dad. A reminder that anxiety is rarely rooted in reality.
What if you’re doing everything right: A nice counter-thought to check the mean voice that runs through my brain sometimes, similar to CBT practices.
This moment is the perfect teacher: A quote from Pema Chodron. I love this one so much. Trusting that whatever is appearing in your world is hand-delivering a message for you. It may not always be easy, but it will make sense in the future.
Recommended reading: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
“Loneliness as a complete discipline:” More brilliance from Pema.