I have struggled with anxiety my whole life, especially when I was faced with the early death of my father over 10 years ago.
The death of my father brought all my insecurities and deep hidden triggers to the forefront. I struggled with thoughts of all men inevitably leaving me and if it was my fault.
When things did not work out with some of the men I dated, I would go into a tailspin, often blaming myself first and looking for anything I did wrong in the relationship, moment by moment.
Plagued with feelings of self-doubt and perpetual anxiety, I felt paralyzed when I was going through a break-up or in an ambiguous time in a relationship.
Even if nothing was actually wrong, I would go to the worse case scenario in my head when I did not hear from a guy.
It was truly a horrible way to live and experience my dating relationships.
And then I discovered meditation.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to meditation. Meditation for me is an opportunity to bring me back into my body. When we over analyze, there is a tendency to get worked up, creating somewhat of an outer body experience that perpetuates the situation and can even make it seem worse than it actually is. The act of meditation for me is to bring me back into my body and out of my analytical head. Through meditation you’re able to quiet the over analytical brain and ground yourself.
Next time you’re overanalyzing if you’re going to hear from him, find yourself spinning out, questioning a recent break-up, crying uncontrollably or feeling sick with anxiety, try the following:
- Find a quiet spot to sit down or lie down (depending on your preference). I prefer to lay down on my bed but choose a nice, quiet, safe place where you will not be interrupted. Is there a time of day that feels better to do this? I prefer right before I go to sleep.
- Make sure your phone is on vibrate or off (no distractions).
- Close your eyes and just start by focusing on your breathing.
- Take deep, slow breaths into your belly, in and out. Essentially you want to breathe in until you can’t anymore and then slowly let it out, but don’t force it.
- When a thought comes into your head, acknowledge it and as best you can try to direct your attention back to your breathing. This can seem really hard at first, especially if you’re in a worried state but just keep bringing your thoughts back to your breath.
- How long should I meditate for? As long as you need. I try to stay in a meditative state for at least a half an hour but at first I could only do it for a few minutes at a time. There is no judgement here. Take as long as you need and do not be hard on yourself. There is no “exact right way” to meditate. Even a minute of this practice can help. What I have found with meditation is, it takes practice to get comfortable.
- When you’re ready to complete your meditation, notice how your body feels. Have you’re anxiety levels come down? What thoughts came up for you during this time? Acknowledge it all.
At first, meditation almost felt painful for me because I did not want to let go of my thoughts. It seemed impossible to quiet my brain but the more I kept up with my meditative practice, I began to relax into it. I learned to let everything else go, even if it was only for those few minutes I could meditate.
I find through meditation things become a lot clearer for me. Situations I thought were stressful, no longer seem as stressful. We attach meaning to situations that are not always accurate when in a state of fear. Instead, just take a moment to breathe.
Meditation is a way of telling myself, “You’re OK and you will be OK.”
I could argue that I have many dating “superpowers” that have brought success in my dating life but this is one superpower I use especially when things appear unknown or stressful in my dating life.
Meditation is the true key to bring you back to you and back to self-love.