Mindfulness, meditation & managing stress

For the past 18 months, I have been monitoring my “stress” levels through the App on my phone: Samsung Health. It reads your pulse, oxygenation in the blood and computes your level of stress. All of last year, my results were always “in the yellow” – headed towards “high”.

So, for example, in February 2017, my levels are clearly out of the green and in the yellow.  My monthly average was “stressed”.  My daily average was “stressed”. 

I made it a point to measure my levels at different times of day and before eating, after eating, sitting down, standing up, before meditation, after meditation. Always… stressed.

I was doing a relatively good job, in March, April and May 2017 of meditating daily. Taking 10-20 minutes each day for mindful breathing and just letting the thoughts flow and flicking them aside.

I tried various types of meditation, including a week of Ho’oponopono and another week of “mindful eating”.

I can’t say I found any major differences throughout those months (although I will accept that the May results are somewhat lower than the results in February).  But they say that the benefits of a daily mindfulness or meditation practice are never immediately visible. You see them long-term, not in the short term.  June and July’s results seem to creep back up again, and I can notice that I was not been consistent with my meditation in those months, as I was no longer taking a meditation class and was “struggling” to find my “groove”.

 July was all over the place, but always “stressed”.  It didn’t seem like getting back into a meditation practice was helping a whole lot. But I persisted, accepting that I hadn’t been consistent since finishing my Meditation classes in early May.  As I reached August, and took a week off, I can see the shift down slightly, easing into a light yellowish green.  Still not green and serene!

And then I kind of ignored the measuring for a few months. There are sporadic measurements taken from September through to January 2018, but nothing to give me an idea of how I was really doing those months. I went back to measuring in February 2018.

That was about the same time that I was getting serious about taking care of my health.  I have been meditating regularly through Christmas & New Years, and making time for myself. And I consciously sat down in November/December to look at the 2018 schedule and give myself a weekend off every 6-7 weeks.  By this I mean, a really weekend away every 6-7 weeks. Where I would not be responsible for anything at all at Church, or have any social responsibilities. A weekend to go camping, or to the beach, or to a friend’s house. But time to get away from everything and spend time just with Isabella.

Part of my decision for time off, was also a decision to do some emotional work “releasing”.  On World Day of Prayer, Friday March 2nd, I spent the morning working on forgiveness. The first hour I spent on Ho’oponopono, and then the next 3 hours I spent on active journalling and forgiveness work of things I wanted to release and stop carrying around with me.

What’s the point of studying to become a Ho’oponopono practitioner if I am not truly practicing? Most of the work that day centered on forgiving myself! Letting go.  Choosing how I wanted to build my life “from now on”, rather than how life was happening to me.

Another major change, but that happened a little earlier (the end of January) was a health choice that I made: to start seriously looking at what “feels right” for my body. And this means that I am consciously taking Psyllium & Diatomaceous Earth daily. I’m sleeping much better, because my gut is feeling much better!

I couldn’t tell you, specifically, what makes for such a major change: healing my gut or meditating & mindfulness. What I do know is that getting back to “health” is a conscious choice. It’s something that I choose each day: to look after myself. To be mindful of what I am choosing (or even when I am failing to choose, simply by acting automatically, rather than thoughtfully).  And that all comes from a place of mindfulness!

Now, to make this, my new “normal”.



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