December 14. 2016

Relaxation and Meditation

Good morning all! It's Wednesday and the holidays are around the corner and it's an exciting time of year for most. For others however, it's the most stressful time of year and even though it brings us joy, we dread it like being sick with the flu or a medical bill. It's one of those things we just want to get over with. There's obviously many, many reason for this, but I think the biggest reason is we lose sight of what is important in our lives and how to prioritize things so that we are accomplishing great feats. 

The most important thing in life (in my opinion) is happiness. If you are not happy, then you cannot properly live life and feel like you're doing the right things. 

So how can you be happy? I'll be honest with you, it's not easy. I have spoke about this before, but a lot of us are afflicted by mental disorders or by circumstances that are out of our control. Most of us are over-worked, under paid, under appreciated, and have a general sense of loathsomeness towards our everyday journey. It's usually not something that happens on purpose either. The people we feel that are wronging us or under rewarding us a lot of times have their own personal demons that afflict them in the exact same manner.

What we need to do to fight these feelings of self loathing, depression, anxiety...etc. Is to take an active approach towards being in a state of zen several times a week. I know that sounds a bit corny or like it's complete crap, but I assure you it's not. Zen is defined as being in a meditative state. All walks of life and religion need this at times in order to find balance. 

Now I never used to believe this, but when I took time to break down what meditation can be, I realized that I've done it my entire life. Meditation has many different meanings, but it's most powerful is being in a state of reflection and contemplation. It's like nostalgia in a lot of ways, and many of us, especially those of us passed our 30's experience nostalgia from early parts of our life. We remember things fondly and sometimes wish they were the same as they once had been. We could perhaps feel this way because the time was simpler or we had less responsibility or maybe there's a loved one we miss. The reasoning is not important, the fact that we think on things is however. 

Meditation leads to relaxation. Who in the world doesn't need to relax more? I can tell you that I for one do. I have more gray hairs than I can count and most of them have come from this last year. I was mega stressed by many events this year or by having that self loathing feeling. Does that mean I had a horrible year?? No way. I made it through, got to spend time with my family. Hang out with friends. Get closer to my business partner and about a million other things I can't recall off the top of my head.

Without a way to relax and meditate though, I feel as if I'd be a jumbled mess. I am an extremely high strung person. No joke and it's not a fun thing. So I do multiple things that I consider relaxing and meditative.

Firstly I exercise. This has been a key to my personal happiness for years, even when I was not in great shape. I've always valued exercise and know first hand what an impact it can make on your happiness and stress levels.

I play an instrument and have for the past twenty years. This has allowed me to put emotion into something other than words and get our aggression or create happiness for myself. It has been a constant release for me and I try to play everyday.

I listen to relaxing music. Now my relaxing will be different than your relaxing most likely. I can relax listening to heavy metal, classical, hip hop or right now I listening to a man from Indonesia play a tubular zither. I create a play list of what I call "music for my soul" and I listen any time I'm feeling down. It helps enormously. 

I talk to people. When I'm in a rut or need to express myself and can't keep it in, I talk to others who will understand me. They don't always understand my circumstances, but they understand the way I process things and often times can give me some objective way to think about the things upsetting me. 

I go to a therapist. Yes, I do and have for years and years now. I am not ashamed and I feel honored that I had almost 15 years with this woman who helped me get through those rough patches in life. She recently retired, but I'm happy for her and that's another story.

I pray. Now this is one that is a personal preference based on my belief system, but you can also meditate if you don't pray. To me, praying is meditative. I'm embracing my higher power and saying thank you and at the same time asking for grace, understanding and patience.

There are many other small things I do, but these are the main ones. Without these, I could still survive, but it makes my life easier and that's ok. You don't always have to feel beat up and just accept the feelings of pain that you experience. When I do feel them however, if I cannot overcome them, I try to embrace them. It's not always easy and I don't always succeed, but I try. That's half the battle in life. Trying. 

Believe it or not, mental exercises are just as important as physical exercises and in a lot of cases they are more important. 

Relax the best you can folks. Enjoy your lives and love the people around you as well as yourself. 

Thank you and have a fantastic week,

Adam Hartley

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