Have you ever had the feeling that you are just about to freak out?
You feel the pressure build and build and build and you know that the next time someone asks you when you are going to finish that project (or get a real job) you are seriously going to FREAK OUT and probably say or do something you'll regret.
I felt that way the other morning. About three times. Luckily, I remembered a technique that has kept me from losing it on more than one occasion.
I ask myself if the current negative event is likely to bother me in two weeks. Asking that simple question helps because it takes me out of the present moment that feels so stressful and requires me to get analytical about it
Will it really matter two weeks from now that my husband didn’t remember to buy dog food, even though I reminded him of it before he went out? Will it really matter that my mom has asked me to do “just one more thing” for our family celebration, even though I think she’s asked too much already? Two weeks from now will it really matter that I ate a half-pound of fudge?
If it just doesn’t seem that likely that it will bother me two weeks from now, I take a deep breath and remind myself of who I want to be and how I want to feel.
I want to feel happy, or at least peaceful, no matter what the circumstance. I want to be kind and loving, even if the people around me don’t seem to “deserve” it. Most of all, I want to be kind with myself.
I’ve learned that before I enter into any situation that’s likely to be challenging (deadlines at work, family gatherings, caring for a sick child), I need to set an intention for who I want to be and how I want feel no matter what, and then it’s easier to remember when I’m triggered.
When I feel the cares of the world wearing on me I also try to practice the Loving Kindness Meditation I learned from Jack Kornfield in his book, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book.
He writes that with a loving heart as the background, all that we attempt, all that we encounter will open and flow more easily.
You start with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others:
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
Be aware that this meditation may at times feel mechanical or awkward or even bring up feelings contrary to loving kindness – feelings of irritation and anger. If this happens, it is especially important to be patient and kind toward yourself, allowing whatever arises to be received in a spirit of friendliness and kind affection.
When you feel you have established some sense of loving kindness, you can then expand your meditation to include others in the same meditation period. After focusing on yourself choose someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture that person and recite the same phrases: May he/may she be filled with loving kindness, and so forth.
After this you can include others: friends, community members, people everywhere, animals, all beings, the whole earth. Then you can even include the difficult people in your life, wishing that they too be filled with loving kindness and peace.
Loving kindness can be practiced anywhere. You can use this practice in traffic jams, in buses and airplanes. As you silently practice this meditation among people, you will immediately feel a wonderful connection with them – the power of loving kindness. It will calm your life and keep you connected with your heart.
I hope these simple, but powerful, techniques help you get through any especially anxiety-inducing moments in the days to come.
Please leave a comment and share your favorite anxiety-busting techniques!
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