I know that I’ve written in the past about different ways that I or dads in general can relieve stress. I think that a big one that I may have mentioned before but may have gone unnoticed is meditation. I used to balk at the idea of meditation and how it seemed to out there for me. Maybe I didn’t think it was masculine enough of a practice for me to try, whatever the reasoning in my head, it didn’t really hold up. I remember when I was in a walking boot after one of my deployments and not being able to run my stress off, I really could’ve used a release!
I started looking more into meditation after hearing Dan Harris speak about his on-air anxiety attack. He had a lot of factors that didn’t match up with mine, but after his war time reporting stress and a drug problem, he was able to make it back into the public eye. When he explained that his top method was meditation, I was a little surprised. When I heard Arianna Huffington give a speech as she was taking over Thrive Global and how stress nearly killed her, I really began taking note. I actually conversed with Arianna via email when she invited me to be a contributor to the Huffington Post Blog and wanted me to look more into digital detoxing and meditating. Maybe there is something to it after all. I tried it a few times with guided meditations via YouTube but felt like I just couldn’t turn my brain off and didn’t get any benefits so it got dropped with many other great ideas that I’ve come up with.
More recently, I’ve been on a kick to really try to get healthier in all aspects of life. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and was slacking on my workouts and eating like total garbage which assisted in my gaining back 10 of the 25 pound I lost earlier this year, and definitely feeling it. I began taking my life back over little by little but I needed a plan. I started using my calorie tracking app and set it at a reasonable level for my diet and to work out at least 5 times a week. I got back into my FitBit challenges which kept me more active on my breaks at work and set the bar at 15,000 steps a day as a goal. Well that wasn’t quite enough, I needed to get my head right too. I made a decision to read every day for 30 minutes after the tiny humans are in bed and my wife agreed to do the same and keep the TV off during that time.
It still didn’t seem like enough for me. On one of my favorite Podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe had Dan Harris on and always talks health and wellness. This time Rogan started going on and on about how great meditation has been for him. He also said something that really stuck with me about it, he said that like anything, it takes practice and you aren’t going to be good at meditating the first time you try. I almost shook my head at myself; obviously I needed to work at it! That night I went home and found a new skill on my Alexa to help me with guided meditation.
It has taken some getting used to, but I find that I really enjoy it. It is a great way to be completely alone with myself and just let the stress of work and annoying tiny humans just leave your head, even if only for a few minutes. I realized that this was the missing step to my plan that I needed to help reduce my stress and feel better all around.
I am still very new to this world and by no means claim to be an expert, but I am learning. I always used to picture Buddhists sitting around with legs crossed, incense burning and chanting going on. Or I would see Martin Lawrence’s character in Bad Boys rubbing his ears and saying Woo-Sah but that isn’t what it is. My favorite part about meditating is that you can do what you find works for you. I am always looking for new ways to relax and center myself and this is a great starting point.
I am always looking for new way to reduce stress; that is actually one of the main reasons that I started my writing, was to help unleash my brain. Most of my stress relief methods include me sweating or getting angrier but I may be on to something here. I find myself just concentrating on my breath a lot more when I would usually find myself getting worked up. I may not sit through a full guided meditation session after I’ve had a beer or two, but even when I lay in my bed, I can center myself and control my obsessive brain a little bit easier (just a little, that thing can get out of control sometimes).
Stay strong and centered with your Chi out there dads!