Meditation for Trauma, Anxiety, PTSD, Mindfulness, and Overall Health
The practice eventually will lead to positive changes. Below are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from meditation:
*PS: I like to smudge sage before meditation. It is an ancient Native American ritual used to ward off any negative energy i.e, “cleansing” your self or your space, the smell to me is also calming. You do not need to smudge sage to meditate too.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
As I’ve said I do struggle with anxiety. Stress and anxiety come hand-in-hand. Anxiety is something that has been a part of me since childhood. Since I started to meditate I no longer spend the entire day in a tug-of-war with my anxiety thinking about it 24/7. It’s a dang miracle! In fact, when I meet with my therapist weekly, we always do a quick mood check; on a scale of 1-10 what was the most anxious, sad, angry, or happy I was during the week. I’ve seen that over the weeks it’s pretty hard to even remember the last time I’ve felt that intense anxiety above a 4. I believe meditation has a lot to do with this.
“Being in the Now”
I am a dissociator (I know, not an actual word). But dissociation, however, is a common symptom of people who have suffered from trauma and/or PTSD. It’s a kind of “I’m physically here but I’m not mentally here” feeling. In other words, “checked out” or “spaced out,” you get the idea. Psychologically you are disconnected. Being a dissociative person has affected my memory and my ability be-here-now for the people and events of my life at certain times. I want to point out though that this is not to be confused with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) because that is a whole other disorder to which dissociation is a very severe symptom regarding one’s identity. Being in the now is still something I grapple with from time to time; especially as a mother. Meditation, however, has helped me because I am taking the time to balance my mind, my body, and my soul to the present moment. I am mindfully grounding myself in awareness; an awareness that I carry throughout the day.
Being more aware of “me” through both meditation and regular therapy has allowed me to understand a lot more of myself and grow in so many areas of my life. In confidence, empathy, in maturity, in relationships, in emotional intelligence, and in compassion for both others and myself. Looking internally has allowed me to fall more in love with ME for exactly what I am, who I am, and who I was in my past, i.e. radical acceptance and not need that from anyone else. Being able to look internally allows you to connect with the good, the bad, and the ugly and accept it all and/or make changes where they are needed. To me, self-awareness is the key to personal growth and reaching a higher level of “self.”
Positive Thoughts & Feelings
Be Kind To Yourself
Speaking of positive thoughts and feelings. As I said in the beginning I know a lot of the time when you first start to meditate that you can certainly become flooded by thoughts, feelings, and memories you actually don’t want to encounter while in your calm. So, the next time you try meditating and find yourself in frustration. The tricks I learned were: be kind to yourself. If you experience a thought that you don’t want, imagine you’re sitting in front of a flowing stream… put that thought on a leaf and visualize it flowing down the stream and then come back to the practice. The second trick I learned is: come back to the practice gently. Imagine you’re talking to a tiny baby whose attention you want to grab… most of us won’t yell at them and say “Gosh! Why are you so stupid, why can’t you do this! etc etc” right? Instead, tell yourself something you would say to a baby or your younger self: