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Self Care Saturday: Meditating

Hello! Don’t be confused, it’s still Saturday. It’s also November and that means it’s National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo. What does that mean? It means that I’m making a commitment to post for 30 days in a row, from November 1st until November 30th. I don’t generally post on the weekends but for this month I will be and on Saturdays I’m going to share the things I do regularly for self care.

For today, let’s talk about meditating.

There’s me. And that’s what I look like when I’m meditating. I’m not actually meditating in the photo, of course, because you can’t take a selfie and meditate at the same time. But when I do meditate, which I had been doing before I took the selfie, this is what I look like.

I have been meditating (mostly) daily for almost 3 years now and it has changed my life. When I started meditating I was dealing with some serious acid reflux. I was taking prilosec every day and it wasn’t helping much if at all. I was chewing up rolaids and tums like a squirrel at a bird feeder. It was bad. So bad, in fact, that I had an endoscopy to see if there was something actually wrong. There wasn’t . . . it was all stress related.

And then I started meditating. Not a lot, at first, I would literally just do a minute or two a day. I downloaded the Calm app on my iPhone and I used the guided meditations sometimes but mostly I just sat quietly and tried to not think about anything but breathing. In less than a week my acid reflex was gone. Did you hear that? G.O.N.E. No more prilosec, no more rolaids, I was symptom free.

Let me say plainly: meditating cured my acid reflex.

Now, I’m not a doctor (and my own doctor was pretty skeptical when I had a follow up appointment and told him my symptoms were gone and it was all due to meditation) and I’m not condoning this for everyone or even suggesting that it might work for anyone else. I’m just saying that for me, meditation was the answer to my stress induced acid reflux.

These days I mostly meditate for 10 minutes each day. Ideally I do it in the morning but sometimes I sneak it in at lunch time and sometimes the day gets away from me and I do it before bed. I’m currently on a 70 day streak and I have meditated for more than 130 hours since I started this daily practice. How do I do it? I just sit down and close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I try to clear my thoughts but that’s pretty much impossible as thoughts are relentless, that’s just the way our brains work. When I have a thought I just acknowledge it and go back to focusing on my breath. It is, as Dan Harris says, a little bicep curl for the brain and over time meditating can actually rewire the brain. Meditation has been shown to help with the aging brain, with reducing anxiety and stress, with improving focus and memory and so much more. In other words: it’s good for you. And your brain.

Have you tried meditation? If you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if you haven’t, I encourage you to follow either of those links to Calm or Dan Harris and give it a shot.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Meditation is pretty magic. For me, it’s walking down the hill and sitting still on the beach for 20 minutes as often as I can.

  2. Good for you Carole. Need to take care of YOU, so you can continue to inspire US with your daily postings.

  3. I’m very interested in meditation and will try the Calm app. Has meditation helped with sleep?

  4. It is pretty magic. I try to convince my patients, though many roll their eyes and are quite skeptical. I’ve let my practice slide a bit, thanks for the little nudge!

  5. I have been meditating for years and it is pretty powerful. And, you are right – you can’t shut off the thoughts, but I think meditation can help direct them in a more positive way. (i.e. it helps show stress the door!) For me it also helps when I am down – a couple of minutes of focused breathing and “mindfully meditating” and the down is not so overwhelming.

  6. I think I am going to try meditation. My anxiety is out of control and I’m having trouble sleeping. I hope it helps.

  7. I have gotten out of the practice but I used to do it a lot when I had trouble sleeping, usually because of relentless thoughts going through my head and keeping me up. I am amazed at how powerful it’s been for you!

  8. I’m devoted to a centering prayer practice that’s different in many ways, but still offers the benefit of connecting with something inside that can heal and help. We should all be here for any and everything that helps us be better humans … and for sure, embracing practices that can replace drugs … well, it seems like a no-brainer! go you!!

  9. I’ve been meditating for years and years. I can’t imagine my life without it! I’m so glad it’s worked so well for you! (I’ve never used the Calm app; I’m a big fan of the Insight Timer meditation app, though.) XO

  10. My CBT doctor suggested meditation to help with my insomnia and anxiety. It’s changed my life!! He explained that we are constantly in a “flight or fight” state, so meditating helps reverse it. I meditate for 15 – 20 minutes once or twice a day, and the last 5 minutes are when I can really feel my body let go. It feels like I’m floating! The technique I used is called relaxation response:

  11. Good for you. I’ve recently learned that long term (daily) use of Prilosec can block the absorption of iron. Eliminating the need for a medication is always a good thing.

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