Coping, healing, meditation, Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Trauma Recovery

3 Reasons to Meditate

It’s More Than Just a Stress Reducer

Meditation came into my awareness because it was suggested to me as a way to quiet my mind and body once I found my way to Addo Recovery.  Shortly after I found out about my ex-husbands affairs my body went into such a high level of panic that I entered the ‘fight, flight and freeze response’ almost immediately, and because of his lying and gaslighting me, I stayed there for nearly two years.  I blew out my adrenals and my body was just in a constant state of panic. I was flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t function, and I could not get my mind to shut up as it tried desperately to make sense of what had happened to me.

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Addo Recovery suggested I take a yoga class to learn to quiet my mind so that I could give my body a rest from the flooding of chemicals I was experiencing.  I learned that, over time, this constant state of stress was dangerous for my mind, body, and spirit. Intuitively I knew all of these things, but I did have the knowledge I needed to pursue a solution and had no idea how to make it stop. Meditation was the solution. It was a solution that was so profound that I began practicing meditation twice a day, morning and night, almost immediately.  I have been meditating daily for almost two years. In the very beginning it was the only peace I got during the day. But, over time, I learned to bring my meditative mind with me through the day, and into a peaceful, restful sleep at night, with no medication.

The reasons we meditate are as varied as the many ways there are to meditate. In America, most people are drawn to meditation to quiet the internal chatter of the brain and to reduce stress. Meditation is, indeed, a very effective stress reducer, but its benefits – sometimes mysteriously hidden – are far more plentiful.

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According to the Chopra Center for Meditation there are 3 reasons meditation is not only good for us, but it is necessary, especially for those who are suffering from betrayal trauma:

1. Because It’s Good for Our Bodies

According to Scientists gathering data on meditation have found that a consistent practice not only boosts the mind, but it also bolsters the body. Studies bear out that meditation can help reverse heart disease, reduce pain, and support the immune system, better enabling it to fight disease.

The mind-body connection between stress and disease is abundantly apparent as science is finding that meditation can lower production of the stress hormone cortisol. This means meditators are better able to adapt to stress in their lives and its common physiologic responses, which can include:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Skin conditions

2. Because It’s Good for Our Relationships

Paradoxically, while meditation helps us tune in and turn inward to our true essence, it also helps us detach from our own egos to connect with others in more meaningful ways. Couples counselors have found when they assign their clients meditation, the couples become less angry, more self-reflective, and more loving.

When we become aware of – and honor – our interconnection with other beings, we are able to recast our perspectives, see our worries in a different light, and embrace gratitude, which is the heart’s memory.

3. Because It Can Change Our Lives

In a world rife with never-ending fast fixes, crash diets, and get-rich-quick schemes, it’s nice to know there is a proven practice that really can change your life (or at least bring about dramatic effects) in just a little time each day.

Yogis and doctors both agree: meditating – even just a few minutes of deep breathing – relaxes the brain, reduces anxiety, and decreases depression. When we feel as though we can’t afford the time to meditate, the truth is we can’t afford not to.

I can attest to the deep breathing thing.  Learning to breathe deeply and properly was life saving for me.  I was so stressed out in the beginning of this journey that my resting heart rate was over 100 beats per minute.  It was as if my body thought I was running, even if I was sitting still!  I literally felt like I would climb out of my own skin.  I was jittery and nervous and I felt scared…all…the..time. This was the state of my body and mind for 2 years without a break. I even started to wear a device to measure my heart rate because my doctor was so concerned about me.  She told me that if I could just take deep breaths and count them I could lower my heart rate and calm my mind. Breath in, 1, Breathe out, 2, Breath in, 3, Breath out, 4, and so on, until you get to 10 and then start over.  After a couple of minutes of this I could lower my heart rate down to 80 beats per minute, a more acceptable rate, still too high, but better.  At least it gave me a little bit of control over my mind and body, something I desperately needed because my whole life was out of control. It helped. Breathing became a saving grace. I took a breathing timeout all day long.  Now I am so in tune with my body I recognise the signs of stress immediately and I can just take a minute to stop and breathe to bring it all back down before I spiral out of control.  But it takes practice. Everyday.
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What I can tell you is that there is no fast fix for betrayal trauma.  It will take you making some permanent changes in your lifestyle to feel good again.  There is no way around it.  So just wrap your brain around the idea that you will have to do some things differently, probably for the rest of your life.  Meditation is one of those things. But I have found that isn’t a bad thing necessarily.  I know that if I skip a day of meditating, I pay for it the next day.  Heart rate goes back up, anxiety drops by for a visit, and I quickly find myself not in a good place. So I agree, with what is at stake, we cannot afford to not meditate! I am happy to report to you that there is hope to be found, a quiet mind is possible again, and a calm body is within your reach. My resting heart rate is now somewhere between 60-70 beats per minute.  That is physical, hard evidence that mediation and deep breathing (which is part of it) works! It works for me, and it will work for you too. And the good news is that you can get started… right now, today.
You do not have to take a class to learn to meditate, although I highly recommend it in order to learn from someone who is experienced and knows how. However, YouTube is a wonderful place to get tons of guided meditations for free.  Some of my favorites are:
Jason Stevenson (has a cool Australian accent.)
Joe Tracey (his voice is very calming.)
Kenneth Soares (is Norwegian, and I like his voice, some people don’t though.)
Check them out. See if you like them, if you don’t try someone else!  It will ruin the meditation if the person you are listening to has an annoying voice.  Find one or two that work well for you to start with and explore more options.  Many of them have meditations for anxiety, letting go, fear, and sleep. You can start there. I recommend that you do the 21/90 rule.  21 days to form a new habit and 90 days to make it part of your lifestyle. Most of the meditations are 20-45 minutes. So it’s not a huge time drain. Start out small.  I will warn you though,  I have loved this so much that I now will frequently do 1-2 hour meditations. Once you are able to do well with guided mediations then you can branch out on your own. There are a lot of ways to mediate and the internet is full of good information on this topic.  Just google “beginner meditation.”
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I can give you suggestions but if this is something that interests you then it is best to go on your own journey of discovery and enlightenment. At some point I will write about my personal meditation practice, but I would rather you do you.  It will be more helpful to you and more fulfilling if you find what works for you.  For example; I really, really like Tibetan Singing Bowls, but it took me forever to find a video that I loved.  Some of them were too high-pitched for me, some of them had drum beats I couldn’t stand, others had certain Binaural Beats* that made me feel more anxious. Until one day I found one that really is perfect for me!  I love it!  But the point is, you may not love it, you may hate it, and it could cause you to hate mediating as a result because I told you that you should love it, and you really hate it.  So go find what works for you, trust me, there is something on YouTube for everyone! Find what speaks to your body, mind, and spirit. Meditating is deeply spiritual and personal. If you don’t like something, don’t give up, find something else that works better for you.  I save videos all the time that I end up deleting a week later because they just were not as good or helpful as I thought they would be.
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I usually meditate sitting up in the morning and lying down on my bed at night. At night I use mediations that are meant for sleep so I don’t feel like I am missing something if I fall asleep, because that is the point.  So do what works best for you.  That is the great thing about meditating, you don’t have to worry about getting it right, just do it.  I also mediate with my headphones on so that I can benefit from the sounds many of them use in their mediations.  Here is some information about the sound frequencies and beats.  I love the idea that different frequencies can entrain our bodies to resonate with that frequency and helps our bodies to heal.  I need all the healing I can get so I opt for the headphones. There are meditations that are meant for deep healing with the Rife Frequencies**.  Some of them get on my nerves, but I learned from reading in the comment that listening for 10 minutes a day was enough to reap the benefits.  So read the comments too, it helps to learn from others who are also in the process.
Here are some of the meditation YouTube Channels I subscribe to:
I have also found this meditation program that is not very expensive from EOC Institute. They have a list of 141 Benefits of Mediation  to show meditation is a very good thing.
I hope this will get you started on your own mediation journey.  It is something that has made a life or death difference in my life and that is not an exaggeration.  It is one reason I chose to start with sharing mediation, it is something you can do immediately and see tangible results in a matter of days, or even hours, depending on how much you do it. All I can say is try it, you’ll like it.  You will like how you feel, and it will give your mind and body a break so you can cope with the un-cope-able.
Share with me in the comments your own experiences of meditating. I’d like to know what works for you or if you have any cool tips, tricks or meditations you have discovered.
Stay Strong, Be Sweet
chocolate cupcake warrior
The Cupcake Warrior
* “Binaural Beats” is a term given to playing one sound frequency in one ear, and another sound frequency in the opposite ear, creating a two-tone effect in the mid-brain that is actually perceived to be one tone. This causes an “Entrainment” effect in the brain that has a variety of results depending on the frequency.
** These frequencies are based on the work of Royal Raymond Rife was a 20th century inventor who through frequency was able to cure many ailments of the body, including most common illnesses that we seek medical assistance for today.
Becoming, grounded, healing, meditation, My Story, Self Care

Grounded: A Right to Be

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The element of the first chakra is EARTH.  Being grounded.  It is the ground that supports and nourishes you.  Without a solid foundation your temple will not be strong, without deep roots, your tree will not grow tall.

“All journeys begin with a single step.  You can only take this step by making solid contact with the earth.”

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So this journey of becoming starts at the very bottom, by going down into the earth.  The Sanskrit name for this energy center is Muladhara, which means – root support. There is the thought that you go down to rise up.  Think of what happens when you jump.  You bend your knees to gather the energy and power to  rise up.  This is the essense of the first chakra – going down to rise up.

This chakra is associated with the survival instinct and the will to live so it affects your basic health and vitality. It is also where you manifest all your creativity.  To be able to fully manifest you must be able to ground yourself and your energy into the earth.  If this chakra is in trauma (which mine is) you will find it difficult to feel safety or security.

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The truth is: I haven’t felt grounded for a long time.  For the past two years I have been living “up in my head” as my yoga instructor likes to call it.  I get that.  My head is a jumbled mess of disconnected chaos.  I am unable to connect to anything.  I am untethered.

Imbalances in Being Grounded

Some of the imbalances of the first chakra are: heaviness, sluggishness, resistance to change, workaholism, spaciness, vagueness, restlessness, overeating, overweight, anorexia, fear, anxiety, feeling disconnected from your body, restlessness, resisting structure, inability to manifest. Some of these things are polar opposites, which represent the excessive and deficient characteristic of having an imbalance here. You can have some of both at the same time.

When you are in balance, in other words, grounded, you will feel:

  • Grounded
  • Have good physical health
  • A sense of safety and security
  • Stability and solidity
  • Right livelihood
  • Prosperity
  • Ability to be still
  • Present in the here and now

Whoa!  I have some work to do.  I largely depended on my ex-husband to provide me with safety and security.  He wasn’t very good at it, physically, spiritually or emotionally, so it left me feeling insecure and threatened for the better part of our marriage.  The constant moving did not help as it kept me off-balance. I couldn’t feel settled or grounded because I was being constantly uprooted. It wasn’t all his fault.  I did not know I could provide these things for myself.  I didn’t need to rely on someone else for my own peace of mind, I had the power all along to provide myself with my own safety and security.  I didn’t know that then, but I do now.

Issues that have plagued me my whole life, overeating, weight gain, anxiety, fear, depression all stem from not having a root support to my tree.  It couldn’t grow because I was constantly being up-rooted.  I wasn’t grounded.

The Right to Be

The right of the first chakra is; the right to be here and the right to have. 

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The right to be here means being comfortable with the right to fully occupy your body and live your life, and to take up a reasonable amount of space for doing so.  If you are uncomfortable with this right, you might find yourself apologizing for just being.  Do you say you are sorry too much?  Do you find yourself apologizing for everything, including things you did not do?  Do you feel the need to apologize for existing? If so, you might need to work on being more grounded.

I struggled with almost all of these, thanks to my ex-husband! I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t apologizing for existing.  I felt so much discomfort for anything that I did that I was ALWAYS SORRY! I was even sorry for my successes!  This is NOT how our Father in Heaven wants us to see ourselves.  We should not be apologizing for being.  Along with the right to be we also have the right to make mistakes – to be human. I think having a right to be is a basic right that everyone has.  We have a right to be – without apology, for being who we are.

The only apology we ever need make is for the things we do that cause harm to ourselves or others, our mistakes and sins.  This is also known as repentance.  And repentance is different from feeling sorry for being.  repentance is a catalyst of change.  Feeling sorry for existing is shaming.  There is a difference. Otherwise, we have a right to learn and grow at our own pace.

My ex-husband shamed me for most of the things I did.  He shamed me for not being clean enough, smart enough, making small mistakes over and over, for my grammar, or the way I phrased things.  I wasn’t allowed to just BE. I had to BE what HE thought I should BE.  By his constant criticism, he taught me that he did not have the confidence in me to get it right, so I believed that too.  And because of that, I spent way too many years caring what other thought of me.  My sense of well-being didn’t come from within, it came from without. No wonder I never felt safe!

For me the first step in becoming is feeling a have a right to be-ing!

The Right to Have

The right to have begins with having what you need in order to survive, and rests on top of the right to be here.  Your right to have includes your right to have success, prosperity, time to yourself, pleasure, adventure, friends, or any number of other things.  You will know you have a problem with the right to have if you find it difficult to receive. If you have problems with money, housing, friends, or creature comforts, you may want to explore how you feel about your right to have.

Even though my Cheater was a good provider for our family, he lives his life in the mindset of scarcity.  No matter how much money he makes, his response to my asking for money or anything, was there wasn’t enough.  I was shamed, for the most part, for the things I needed and wanted.  Looking back, I realize that there was no reason for him to behave this way.  He could have had an attitude of being generous. There was no reason for him not to be generous. We never wanted for anything!  But his attitude portrayed an illusion of lack.  He lives having a million reasons why something cannot happen instead of finding a way to make it happen.  No wonder he is such a miserable and lonely person!

“Gratitude is the key to abundance.”

Sitting as a guidepost to the right to have is an attitude of gratitude.  Having an abundance of all that life has to offer is brought about by having a profound gratitude for what you do have!  I am sure our Father in Heaven has many blessings to pour out on our head’s if we will only show gratitude for what He has already given us.  Part of showing that gratitude is being free with what we have to bless the lives of others, especially our own families! No matter how much or how little we have, we should be generous with what we do have with those we love the most.

How to Root Your Feet into the Ground

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Luckily, many of the things I love doing are also grounding!  My inner core, my spirit, must have known all along how to heal from being so disconnected from myself because there are some things I naturally do:

  • Writing
  • Hobbies (creating)
  • Gardening

BUT there are other things I could and should be doing to help feel more grounded. I am starting to work on some of these:

  • Play more
  • Laugh more
  • Move more
  • Connect with Nature everyday
  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Yoga
  • Hiking
  • Biking

Anything that brings you closer to your basic need to be and have will help you to feel more grounded. And, of course, engaging in a yoga class will help with all of these.  I highly recommend one that teaches the principles behind it as well as the poses. I have taken yoga classes before, but I haven’t learned much from it until I got both the theory and the technique. If you want to know more about being grounded, search the internet for grounding techniques and exercises.  There are lots of them, so many that I couldn’t pick one to  recommend to you.

Nameste 

The Cupcake Warrior

chocolate cupcake warrior

Be Sweet, Stay Strong!