I don’t want to brag, but I am exceptionally good at worrying. If there is a real (or assumed) situation, issue, non-issue, or potential future scenario in need of a place to settle in, my brain is always open for business. It’s fortunate to be riddled with anxiety because it means that I get to wake up in the middle of the night and re-evaluate every word I’ve ever said to another human being, which is an efficient use of time that would normally be wasted by sleeping.
There is an interesting social phenomena called “prevalence-induced concept change,” which states that – in its simplest “I’m-not-a-scientist-don’t-take-my-exact-word-for-it” form – when a person’s actual problems are reduced, they will redefine other non-problems as problems so as to keep the quantity the same. Or, in other words: if you don’t have anything to worry about, you’ll give you something to worry about.
Which is what happened to me. I’d finally reached the point (knock on wood, knock knock) where my kids, husband, job, home, hobbies, and nighttime skincare routine were all in a good place. With nothing to stress over, my brain went on the hunt for something new. It all came to a head – pun intended – when I found myself having full-blown panic attacks every time my six-year-old told me a kid was no longer his friend (if you’ve never been around a first grader, you should know this happens 1000x times a day).
I decided to take my crazy down a couple of notches through the practice of meditation. And by “decided,” I mean my best friend told me I needed “Xanax, meditation, or both.” I opted to start with meditation.
There are many, many forms of meditation. There’s Guided Meditation, in which a whispery voice tells you what you should be thinking. There’s Mindful Meditation, in which you are fully present with your own thoughts (yikes). There’s Metta Meditation, for sending good thoughts to other people; Focused Meditation, for going all in on one of your five senses by staring at a candle or rubbing a rock or whatever; and Mantra Meditation, for those who like to repeat a word (presumably not a swear word) or sound over and over again. There’s Yoga Meditation, which is what it sounds like; and Movement Meditation, which is Yoga Meditation for people who stink at yoga. There’s Visualized Meditation, and Zen Meditation, and Chakra Meditation, and Sound Bath Meditation, and Transcendental Meditation, and meditations for basically every type of spirituality under the sun.
The reason why there are so many types of meditation is that the goal is to control your mind instead of it controlling you…and your mind isn’t always a good sport about it. For example, I fell asleep during my first three tries at Guided Meditation, and I spent the entire session of Yoga Meditation thinking about how I was going to do laundry when it was over.
What finally worked for me was Breathing Meditation (what it sounds like: breathe in, count one; breathe out, count two; breathe in, count one; etc). I was physically at my son’s hockey practice but mentally in a work situation that had happened hours before – I figured I could either breathe for three minutes or just leave the building, since I wasn’t there anyway. Wouldn’t you know it, I calmed down.
While I still do Breathing Meditation, I’ve also started Mantra Meditation because…well, I like it (I use the phrase “Release” because my husband and I like to shout it at one another when we’re overthinking things). Some people meditate for like an hour at a time; I think I’ve maxed out at thirty seconds.
Anyways, I feel better. I haven’t entered a new state of conscious being, but at least I’ve stopped wallowing in a sea of anxiety every time I get an unimportant text message. One day, I’ll realize that none of it is important; or I’ll get a prescription for Xanax. Maybe both.
The photo above is of what I think I should probably look like when I’m meditating. Truth be told, I’ve never meditated like this in my life (usually I’m just walking around or living my life; I’m not exactly a crackerjack meditator). It took me five minutes to get my feet like that. Those house plants usually live in the kitchen. Also, I was sitting on a slippery blanket and kept sliding forward.
This week’s news has an amateur meteorologist, a one-day mayor, and a snowmobile taxi service. Read on.
Mandan’s Ronda Gustafson turned her hairbrush into a microphone and became part of North Dakota’s newest storm team. (KFYR TV)
Watford City third grader Brocktyn Devlin has been elected as the city’s Mayor for a Day. (McKenzie County Farmer)
You may have heard that we got a lot of snow last week. In Dickinson, Kari and Jeff Maas helped over a dozen essential workers get around town, courtesy of their trust snowmobiles. (KFYR TV)
It’s the anniversary of the Flood of ’97, and in honor of the dramatic rebuilding and revitalization that has occurred over the years, here is a series of photos from when it all happened. (Grand Forks Herald)
Thank you to Voyage Minnesota for featuring North Dakota Nice on their site! (Voyage Minnesota)
Let’s Be (Official) Pals!
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