Does this word speak to you ? It certainly does to me! In Flemish we say ‘stresskieken‘ (literally stress chicken), someone who stresses easily.
It is a strange thing. I consider myself as someone who does not stress easily. There are lots of things that freak other people out that can’t touch me. I don’t mind traffic jams, for example. Is there anybody else who does not get stressed from that?
But it wasn’t always like that. I used to be a real Stresskieken. What on earth has happened that changed that?
Well, Argentina happened, for starters. If there is one thing I learned when living there, it is patience, not to get worked up when nothing goes as planned -which often happens, it is, after all, Argentina-. Nothing can be so bad that you need to stress. So moving to Argentina is one option if you are a Stress Tornado, albeit a bit too drastic for most of us ; having a couple of Argentine friends is another, easier option, but there are other ways to control your stress, and it actually is an Argentine friend who taught me how…
When I saw Ines again just after the pandemic, 20 months had gone by without seeing each other, it was clear that she was not in a good place. Too much had happened over the almost 2 years and she had kind of lost it. I listened to her stories and was devastated. How much bad can one person handle? But then I saw her again on my next trip, 3 months later, she was a different person, or rather : she had become an even better version of who she was before the pandemic. Excited, cheerful, funny, enthusiastic, and instead of looking 10 years older she now looked younger. She blurted out the reason for this change in the first minute :
“I started meditating, you must start too!”
I said nah! that is nothing for me! I tried it once and no way I can sit still and not think of anything for more then 1 minute! My mind is constantly flipping from one thought to another!! I am not a meditating person!
But Ines didn’t give up. She talked and talked and talked, said she’d include me in her online meditation group, recommended me books… You only had to look at her to see it works – at least for her!
I couldn’t help getting caught in her enthusiasm, and when I got home I started to google. How to meditate, benefits of meditation, why meditate etc. It is fascinating! Not only can it give you calm, peace and balance, but it has an influence on your body as well ; lower your blood pressure, your heart rate, and even change your brain!
Literally hours, I spend on all the extensive website of an app called Headspace, and finally downloaded it and started a free trial period.
I was immediately hooked! I had no idea that The Mind can be so powerful, that you can guide it so easily and get control over your Body! And I even got mad to the world around me for not telling me sooner, because meditating is such an exhilarating thing to do!
Meditation does not reduce stress : your problems won’t just go away, just like that, but it is easier to manage them : you teach yourself to control them, you look at them differently. At first it requires some action from your part, later it all comes naturally, and in extreme situations, you just sit down add an extra session, and off you are again!
Headspace is where I started. They have basic courses, (and a free month trial) with a daily session of 5 to 15 minutes. You start off with 5 minutes but very soon you feel the need to move up to 10 or even more. Time flies when you are having fun! It is an easy and great way to try it out and see if it is something for you.
I have now long moved away from this app, outgrown it maybe, as I now want complete quiet and not someone guiding me, but without Headspace, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
There are many different ways to meditate, there are no good and no bad ways, it is very personal that needs to evolve to what suits you best.I did not stick to headspace, but it is a great way to learn the (a) technique.
Stay posted if you want to find out more about this toppic, if you’re really curious, download the app.
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash