It’s More Than Just a Stress Reducer
Meditation came into my awareness because it was suggested to me as a way to quiet my mind and body once I found my way to Addo Recovery. Shortly after I found out about my ex-husbands affairs my body went into such a high level of panic that I entered the ‘fight, flight and freeze response’ almost immediately, and because of his lying and gaslighting me, I stayed there for nearly two years. I blew out my adrenals and my body was just in a constant state of panic. I was flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t function, and I could not get my mind to shut up as it tried desperately to make sense of what had happened to me.
Addo Recovery suggested I take a yoga class to learn to quiet my mind so that I could give my body a rest from the flooding of chemicals I was experiencing. I learned that, over time, this constant state of stress was dangerous for my mind, body, and spirit. Intuitively I knew all of these things, but I did have the knowledge I needed to pursue a solution and had no idea how to make it stop. Meditation was the solution. It was a solution that was so profound that I began practicing meditation twice a day, morning and night, almost immediately. I have been meditating daily for almost two years. In the very beginning it was the only peace I got during the day. But, over time, I learned to bring my meditative mind with me through the day, and into a peaceful, restful sleep at night, with no medication.
The reasons we meditate are as varied as the many ways there are to meditate. In America, most people are drawn to meditation to quiet the internal chatter of the brain and to reduce stress. Meditation is, indeed, a very effective stress reducer, but its benefits – sometimes mysteriously hidden – are far more plentiful.
According to the Chopra Center for Meditation there are 3 reasons meditation is not only good for us, but it is necessary, especially for those who are suffering from betrayal trauma:
1. Because It’s Good for Our Bodies
According to Scientists gathering data on meditation have found that a consistent practice not only boosts the mind, but it also bolsters the body. Studies bear out that meditation can help reverse heart disease, reduce pain, and support the immune system, better enabling it to fight disease.
The mind-body connection between stress and disease is abundantly apparent as science is finding that meditation can lower production of the stress hormone cortisol. This means meditators are better able to adapt to stress in their lives and its common physiologic responses, which can include:
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems
- Memory impairment
- Skin conditions
2. Because It’s Good for Our Relationships
Paradoxically, while meditation helps us tune in and turn inward to our true essence, it also helps us detach from our own egos to connect with others in more meaningful ways. Couples counselors have found when they assign their clients meditation, the couples become less angry, more self-reflective, and more loving.
When we become aware of – and honor – our interconnection with other beings, we are able to recast our perspectives, see our worries in a different light, and embrace gratitude, which is the heart’s memory.
3. Because It Can Change Our Lives
In a world rife with never-ending fast fixes, crash diets, and get-rich-quick schemes, it’s nice to know there is a proven practice that really can change your life (or at least bring about dramatic effects) in just a little time each day.
Yogis and doctors both agree: meditating – even just a few minutes of deep breathing – relaxes the brain, reduces anxiety, and decreases depression. When we feel as though we can’t afford the time to meditate, the truth is we can’t afford not to.
I can attest to the deep breathing thing. Learning to breathe deeply
and properly was life saving for me. I was so stressed out in the beginning of this journey that my resting heart rate
was over 100 beats per minute. It was as if my body thought I was running, even if I was sitting still! I literally felt like I would climb out of my own skin. I was jittery and nervous and I felt scared…all…the..time. This was the state of my body and mind for 2 years without a break. I even started to wear a device to measure my heart rate because my doctor was so concerned about me. She told me that if I could just take deep breaths and count them I could lower my heart rate and calm my mind. Breath in, 1, Breathe out, 2, Breath in, 3, Breath out, 4, and so on, until you get to 10 and then start over. After a couple of minutes of this I could lower my heart rate down to 80 beats per minute, a more acceptable rate, still too high, but better. At least it gave me a little bit of control over my mind and body, something I desperately needed because my whole life was out of control. It helped. Breathing became a saving grace. I took a breathing timeout all day long. Now I am so in tune with my body I recognise the signs of stress immediately and I can just take a minute to stop and breathe to bring it all back down before I spiral out of control. But it takes practice. Everyday.
What I can tell you is that there is no fast fix for betrayal trauma. It will take you making some permanent changes in your lifestyle to feel good again. There is no way around it. So just wrap your brain around the idea that you will have to do some things differently, probably for the rest of your life. Meditation is one of those things. But I have found that isn’t a bad thing necessarily. I know that if I skip a day of meditating, I pay for it the next day. Heart rate goes back up, anxiety drops by for a visit, and I quickly find myself not in a good place. So I agree, with what is at stake, we cannot afford to not meditate! I am happy to report to you that there is hope to be found, a quiet mind is possible again, and a calm body is within your reach. My resting heart rate is now somewhere between 60-70 beats per minute. That is physical, hard evidence that mediation and deep breathing (which is part of it) works! It works for me, and it will work for you too. And the good news is that you can get started… right now, today.
You do not have to take a class to learn to meditate, although I highly recommend it in order to learn from someone who is experienced and knows how. However, YouTube is a wonderful place to get tons of guided meditations for free. Some of my favorites are:
(is Norwegian, and I like his voice, some people don’t though.)
Check them out. See if you like them, if you don’t try someone else! It will ruin the meditation if the person you are listening to has an annoying voice. Find one or two that work well for you to start with and explore more options. Many of them have meditations for anxiety, letting go, fear, and sleep. You can start there. I recommend that you do the 21/90 rule. 21 days to form a new habit and 90 days to make it part of your lifestyle. Most of the meditations are 20-45 minutes. So it’s not a huge time drain. Start out small. I will warn you though, I have loved this so much that I now will frequently do 1-2 hour meditations. Once you are able to do well with guided mediations then you can branch out on your own. There are a lot of ways to mediate and the internet is full of good information on this topic. Just google “beginner meditation.”
I can give you suggestions but if this is something that interests you then it is best to go on your own journey of discovery and enlightenment. At some point I will write about my personal meditation practice, but I would rather you do you. It will be more helpful to you and more fulfilling if you find what works for you. For example; I really, really like Tibetan Singing Bowls
, but it took me forever to find a video that I loved. Some of them were too high-pitched for me, some of them had drum beats I couldn’t stand, others had certain Binaural Beats* that made me feel more anxious. Until one day I found one that really is perfect for me! I love it! But the point is, you may not love it, you may hate it, and it could cause you to hate mediating as a result because I told you that you should love it, and you really hate it. So go find what works for you, trust me, there is something on YouTube for everyone! Find what speaks to your body, mind, and spirit. Meditating is deeply spiritual and personal. If you don’t like something, don’t give up, find something else that works better for you. I save videos all the time that I end up deleting a week later because they just were not as good or helpful as I thought they would be.
I usually meditate sitting up in the morning and lying down on my bed at night. At night I use mediations that are meant for sleep so I don’t feel like I am missing something if I fall asleep, because that is the point. So do what works best for you. That is the great thing about meditating, you don’t have to worry about getting it right, just do it. I also mediate with my headphones on so that I can benefit from the sounds many of them use in their mediations. Here is some information about the sound frequencies and beats
. I love the idea that different frequencies can entrain our bodies to resonate with that frequency and helps our bodies to heal. I need all the healing I can get so I opt for the headphones. There are meditations that are meant for deep healing with the Rife Frequencies**. Some of them get on my nerves, but I learned from reading in the comment that listening for 10 minutes a day was enough to reap the benefits. So read the comments too, it helps to learn from others who are also in the process.
Here are some of the meditation YouTube Channels I subscribe to:
I hope this will get you started on your own mediation journey. It is something that has made a life or death difference in my life and that is not an exaggeration. It is one reason I chose to start with sharing mediation, it is something you can do immediately and see tangible results in a matter of days, or even hours, depending on how much you do it. All I can say is try it, you’ll like it. You will like how you feel, and it will give your mind and body a break so you can cope with the un-cope-able.
Share with me in the comments your own experiences of meditating. I’d like to know what works for you or if you have any cool tips, tricks or meditations you have discovered.
Stay Strong, Be Sweet
The Cupcake Warrior
* “Binaural Beats” is a term given to playing one sound frequency in one ear, and another sound frequency in the opposite ear, creating a two-tone effect in the mid-brain that is actually perceived to be one tone. This causes an “Entrainment” effect in the brain that has a variety of results depending on the frequency.
** These frequencies are based on the work of Royal Raymond Rife was a 20th century inventor who through frequency was able to cure many ailments of the body, including most common illnesses that we seek medical assistance for today.