You’re stressed? Are you worried about your physical health? Your mental health? Your spiritual health? Do you wish you had less stress and anxiety in your life and more peace and harmony?
Well, I felt all these things a few years ago and I thought I would either go crazy or die. I was working 10 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a very stressful job. I had a wife and two children at home who wanted and deserved my time and attention. I had a mortgage, two car notes, tuition, medical bills, overdue taxes, and credit card debt coming out of my ears!
I ran nonstop during my days trying to take care of everything and make everyone happy, but I never had enough time to take care of myself. In bed at night, my heart was pounding from stress and anxiety. I worried about my job, my marriage, the children, the bills, the house, my health, and even my sanity.
My health was of particular concern. I felt tired all the time. I was gaining weight. My back always hurt. Climbing even a flight of stairs left me breathless and dizzy. I felt like I was breaking down physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I was anxious for myself but didn’t know what to do. I tried the gym, various fad diets, home exercise machines, and even time management programs. I got roughly the same results with every new thing I tried. They all seemed to help at first, but I couldn’t stay with any of them for long. Now I realize that they didn’t work because they were short-term solutions to a long-term problem. I had to change my life.
I knew I had a lot to learn, but I couldn’t afford to buy a ton of books and everything in the library seemed to be out of date. So I made a habit of stopping at the local Barns and Nobles on the way home every day. I read everything I could find about stress, anxiety, health, diet, and self-improvement. I felt like a cheat sitting there reading the books without buying them, but no one seemed to care. Usually, I would buy a cup of coffee or tea just to ease my conscience a bit.
I read a lot of great books with wonderful ideas on how to improve life. Not surprisingly, a theme came up over and over again; meditation. I had tried to meditate several years before, but got frustrated and gave up before giving it a chance. But he was desperate and determined to try anything that might help.
One book, in particular, said: Get started right now! I was too embarrassed to sit in the bookstore and meditate, but I didn’t want to waste another moment. So I got out of the car, adjusted the seat to a comfortable position, set my alarm clock for 30 minutes, then closed my eyes, and started counting my breaths.
That turned out to be a defining moment in my life. Of course, I was not instantly successful. Mediation takes practice and can be very difficult at times. But the decision to include meditation in my daily life changed everything for me.
I continued to stop at the bookstore each night for a while and divided my time between reading and meditating. Nothing else had changed in my life. I still had a stressful job, my marriage, my kids, my house, and bills, but somehow I felt better, less stressed, even more energetic!
No, it didn’t magically solve all the problems in my life. But once I started to feel more relaxed and less stressed, I was better able to focus on the other things I needed to do to become mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy.
Soon I started a daily meditation practice at home. I also started a reasonable exercise plan that included walking, light training, and yoga. These things, combined with eating right (most of the time), have literally changed my life. Now I am happier, healthier, and at peace with the world around me.
I hope this story inspires some of you to take the first step and begin incorporating meditation into your own life. This is the perfect time to make the decision. What better New Year’s resolution than to change your life for the better? There are numerous meditation methods and practices and a wealth of resources available in bookstores and on the web. I’m sure you can find something that works for you.