Are you stressed out? Do you worry about your physical health? Your mental health? Your spiritual health? Do you wish you had less stress and anxiety in your life and more peace and harmony?
Well, I felt all of these things a few years ago and I thought I was going to go crazy or die. I was working 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week at a very stressful job. I had a wife two kids at home who wanted and deserved my time and attention. I had a mortgage, two car notes, tuition, medical bills, overdue taxes, and credit card debt coming out of my ears!
I was running nonstop through my days trying to take care of everything and make everybody happy but I never had enough time to take care of myself. In bed at night, my heart would pound from stress and anxiety. I worried about my job, my marriage, the kids, the bills, the house, my health, and even my sanity.
My health was of particular concern. I felt tired all the time. I was gaining weight. My back was always hurting. Climbing even one flight of stairs left me breathless and dizzy. I felt like I was falling apart physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I was really worried about myself but I didn’t know what to do. I tried the gym, several fad diets, home exercise machines, and even time management programs. I had about the same results with each new thing I tried. They all seemed to help at first, but I just couldn’t stick with any of them for very long. I now realize that they didn’t work because they were all short term fixes to a long term problem. I had to change my life.
I knew I had a lot to learn, but I couldn’t afford to buy a bunch of books and everything at the library seemed to be outdated. So I made a habit of stopping at the local Barns and Noble on the way home from work each day. I read everything I could find on stress, anxiety, health, diet, and self-improvement. I felt like a cheat just sitting there reading the books without buying them but nobody seemed to mind. I usually bought a cup of coffee or tea just to ease my conscience a little.
I read a lot of great books with wonderful insights on improving one’s life. Not surprisingly, one subject came up over and over; meditation. I had tried to meditate several years earlier but had gotten frustrated and quit before really giving it a chance. But, I was desperate and determined to try anything that might help.
One book, in particular, said, “Start right now!” I was too embarrassed to sit in the book store and meditate, but I didn’t want to waste another moment. So I went out to my car, adjusted the seat into a comfortable position, set my watch alarm for 30 minutes, then closed my eyes and started counting my breaths.
That turned out to be a defining moment in my life. Of course, I didn’t have instant success. Mediation takes practice and can be very difficult at times. But making the decision to incorporate meditation into my everyday life changed everything for me.
I continued to stop at the book store each night for a while and split my time between reading and meditating. Nothing else had changed in my life. I still had a stressful job, my marriage, my kids, my house, and bills but, somehow, I was feeling better—less stressed—even more energetic!
No, it didn’t magically solve all of the woes in my life. But once I started feeling more relaxed and less stressed, I was better able to focus on the other things I needed to do to become mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy.
I soon started a daily meditation practice at home. I also began a reasonable exercise plan that included walking, a light workout, and yoga. These things combined with eating right (most of the time), have literally changed my life. I’m now happier, healthier, and at peace with the world around me.