I feel like I have always had anxiety. As a kid, I would go to school every day filled with anxiety to the point where I couldn’t breathe in the mornings. Of course the term anxiety wasn’t very talked about back then… Now as an adult my anxiety has followed me as I have grown my business.
Deciding to become an entrepreneur was one thing, but having to deal with my social anxiety was another. I would spend countless hours scrolling through the gram and hating myself to the point of hyperventilating because I wasn’t “there” yet. Instead of staying in my own lane, I would waste hours comparing myself, my designs and my business to people who had been doing it for years, while I was only on month two. It got so bad that my husband had to pick me up from our kitchen floor countless times because that’s where I always ended up: crying on my kitchen floor, trying to take deep breaths to calm myself. Meditating helped with my anxiety. But I really didn’t discover that until years later and I had been out of my 9-5 cubicle for five years That’s a whole lot of time letting anxiety hold me back from living my life.
How Anxiety Blocked Me From Living My Dreams
Anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes. It can manifest itself in different ways from person to person. My anxiety comes from my Type A, OCD brain… specifically perfectionism. When I feel like I’m being judged as anything but perfect, when I am creating a new project and think it isn’t perfect enough, when I’m designing but in my eyes doesn’t look perfect (while others think it does)… and basically anytime I feel like I don’t do things ‘right’, I get crippling anxiety that stops me dead in my tracks. It’s ridiculous the amount of pressure I put on myself because I’m worried about what other’s would think of me if I wasn’t perfect.
So when I fall down the comparison hole that is Instagram, and I see are these beautiful bloggers traveling and getting paid to do it… I get anxiety that what I am doing is not good enough. Not perfect enough to get to where they are. Then I start spiraling into low-level thoughts where I tell myself the same things over and over again… That I’m just not good enough to achieve my dreams. All of this stemming from anxiety! And feeding into it is not good, it sucks up all your energy that could instead be used to actually keep going.
Meditation Helped My Anxiety
There was a point in my life where I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to realize that I kept falling into the same traps and telling myself the same excuses. I would get to a point in my business and then break down in tears because of my fears and anxiety. Then I would start over, get to that same point in my business and repeat. I could never push through because my anxiety was always blocking the door. Then I read the book How to be a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, and she talked about meditation in a way that truly spoke to me. At the same time one of my friends from México texted me a link to Oprah and Deepak’s 21 day Meditation (Desire + Destiny) that she had just finished and raved about it. Looking back, I feel like it was the Universe giving me the answer that I needed. Once I started meditating, everything clicked. I had found a way to cope with my anxiety.
Daily Meditation Practice Vs Anxiety
When I started meditating, I started very slowly. I kind of eased into it. I had meditated before, but meditating for a purpose was new to me. Becoming intentional with my meditation to help me cope with anxiety was something I had never done before. But once I started adopting a daily practice, it was all I needed to defuse an anxiety attack. It really does help me whenever I start spiraling into the same thought patterns! Its super easy too… all you have to do is remove yourself from the situation (your trigger), sit and close your eyes and breathe. Breathe until you feel better! In my case, I even quit Instagram for 6 months in order to come back to myself and figure out what I wanted. Meditation played a big part in figuring out my true purpose and helping me with my anxiety. If this all sounds too good to be true, let me walk you through the steps I took to adopt a daily meditation practice!
Step 1: Find a Tool That Works for You
To start meditating you need one thing first: something to ground you. Most people use music or sound, but if all you need is a safe space that’s ok too. Think of what would work best to clear your mind from the situation you are in. So when you get anxiety what would calm you down and get you away from your thoughts. Is it to be around nature? Is it the soothing sounds of the ocean? Is it simply to be in your bed curled up? Whatever it is thats the “tool” that you need to start meditating. Because before you meditate you need to feel that you’re in a safe space. For me, I like to lay down in my bed because it’s my safe space. Then I use an app for music called Insight Timer. I set it to 5-10min or however long I want it to be and then make sure to select the sound I like (a mix of twinkly yoga music with the ocean or a river, water sounds soothe me!).
Step 2: Focus on Your Breathing
When in the middle of an anxiety attack, just lay down comfortably in your safe space and breathe. Breathe and focus on the in flow and out flow of your breath. My mom taught me to start focusing on every part of your body and feel the vibration inside it starting from your toes and working your way up to your head. So instead of letting your mind wander to low-level thoughts or feed into your anxiety, you concentrate on one part of your body at a time. Really observe and feel the energy flow through you. That’s it. Breathe in and out!
Step 3: Don’t Force Yourself + If All Fails, Turn to Oprah!
Because you’re turning to meditation to help with anxiety, your emotions are running high when you are trying to be calm. So don’t force yourself to be calm, that can cause more anxiety! So if breathing doesn’t work to block out your thoughts… I highly recommend Oprah’s meditations. They are so different than the usual ones out there. She talks! She talks about her experiences and gives a little introduction that always calms me down. You are focusing on her words of hope so anxiety tends to melt away. Seriously, try it! It was my introduction to the meditation world and after testing out a bunch of apps it’s still my favorite.
Take it slow! I really only meditate for 5-10 minutes every morning to set my intention for the day and it really is all I need. My anxiety attacks have gone down from once a day, to maybe once a month. So there is hope! Once I changed my mindset about myself and what I could achieve, my whole world changed.
Have you ever tried meditation? If not, would you try it?