Peace and joy. What lovely words, what lovely things to experience. Yet, those feelings can be fleeting at best for mothers juggling all the things. The good news is that peace and joy live in the present moment and they can be reached in the midst of these chaotic days. Oh no, you might be thinking, she’s going to tell me to start meditating. Yes, I am. But I’m also going to give you something that I had to figure out on my own, and it is worth so much. Start your meditation journey with my secret sauce and you’ll discover that it’s easy and fun to show up for this kind of self-care.
If you identify as someone with anxiety or depression, it’s likely that you are living in a constant stress state. Meditation is kryptonite for stress because:
- You slow down your body’s stress response
- You become more self-aware, which leads to more resilience when you experience stressors
- Self-criticism fades, self-love grows
- Your body gets space for deep rest and healing, and
- Sleep improves
Sounds pretty good, right? And let’s not forget, a meditation practice gives us mothers and parents something we’re truly craving – some alone time. As a mother and a business professional, sometimes the only time I get to myself in the day is my meditation space. But showing up for that practice as often as I can sets me up to better handle whatever comes up during the day. Anxiety is something I dial down by returning to meditation, and overwhelm is less common.
Here’s the secret sauce
The thing is, starting a new habit – especially one that forces a busy person to slow down and do nothing – is easier said than done. For many years, reading inspiring books about meditating is as close as I got to the actual act. But I figured out the secret sauce to start your meditation journey, which I’m so happy to share.
Sounds kinda fun, right?
Before your first meditation session, sit down and write a list of all the gifts you’d like to give yourself for the next three months. For each week that you show up every single day to meditate, you get a gift. They don’t even need to be big gifts unless you want them to. Anything that affirms you are on the right track sends an amazing feel-good signal to your brain, and your brain then decides to keep moving forward so that it can get that feeling again. Essentially, you are overriding your brain’s hardwired preference to be lazy and revert to the anxiety-filled life it knows. Which is exactly what you are trying to train it away from.
When I started my own meditation journey, I gifted myself presents weekly for the first two months – little things like new pants or a chick flick night or a trip to my favorite bakery. Then in the third month I spaced it out to a gift every two weeks. By that time, meditation had clearly started to transform my sense of well being. I was feeling calmer. That alone was enough to propel me onward when the gifts stopped showing up. The habit was set, and the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of meditating were reward enough.
There are other methods besides meditating that can calm your nervous system, which I will share at a later day. But meditating – that’s the big one. It is your fastest ticket to accessing your peace and joy. You deserve that, plus a whole lotta presents.
To your joy,
p.s. It can be hard for some people to give gifts to themselves. Help a sister out – what would you put on your gift list? Write it in the comments and then share this with a friend!