Meditation for Perfectionism

Racheliza9 | 4:00

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"I was pretty shocked by just a few pointers she told me."

Perfectionism Meditation Mindfulness Breathwork Vagus Nerve

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Last Fall, my therapist encouraged me to get into meditation and previously I've been quite a perfectionist. Like it was something I knew could benefit me, knew I should do, but was always waiting till I was like, oh, I should just do it for 20 minutes or 25 minutes or and I should do it every day... and I don't have that right now. And then when I would try, you know, I would focus on clearing my mind and then get frustrated at how hard that was. I was pretty shocked by just like a few pointers she told me, how much they helped me make it a daily practice. And so the first thing that was so helpful was she told me about some special Buddhist monk, who was…, like there was a philosophical debate about the amount of time you have to meditate. And it was determined that it's like 13 minutes or something, is the most optimal meditation. 13 minutes might be off, but it was like something in the teens and much lower than I expected. But she also encouraged me not to be a perfectionist about it and even if it's a minute or three minutes, to just do it and when I can, practice mindfulness and study my breath about know, daily stressors and things like that. So that was just like all I needed to get start doing it every day was to realize, like I didn't need a big chunk of time or like the perfect atmosphere.

And then, this other thing that I just found so helpful with to finally get me like over the hump, was a way to kind of not let my mind wander where, like previously, I would be just like, okay, don't think about anything. Don't let any of these thoughts that are racing around your head come into your mind for, you know, this duration of time. And one thing she really encouraged me to do was to, like, be in the present, was to think about the present physical sensations I was feeling. So I like started sitting in my living room and sitting on my couch and like thinking about the way that my hands felt on my thighs, and my butt felt on the couch, and my feet felt on the ground, and then like listening to all the sounds around me, which at first I was like, how many sounds could there possibly be? But quickly realized like, okay, there's my air conditioner humming and my dog breathing next to me, and like the neighbor's dog barking on the street and I can kind of hear the cars on the highway and then the wind would start blowing and I hear the leaves rustling and, like, I kind of realized it wasn't about not thinking about anything, but just thinking about these things that are happening right now. That was like enough to help quell my thoughts about the past and the future and just think about it - the physical sensation I was experiencing in the here and now.

And then, the last very simple thing, which I read online, was like in my previous attempt to get meditation, was just like that you have to take a deep breath and trigger your vagus nerve, which is, I guess, located lower in your torso. I don't know the medical science behind this, and kind of triggers your para synthetic nervous system, which calms down your breathing, your heart and counteracts on the stress hormones. I'm probably way off in the medical terms here but like the way to do that was to just visualize breathing into your back and breathing into your belly button. And the way she explained it, the minute I started breathing that way, I could kind of feel that descending trigger to my body and slowing my heart rate. Where before I would think of breathing deeply, I was breathing outward, instead of breathing downward into my torso. And yeah, now I can happily say that if I'm at work, and I know I need a little break and go to the bathroom and just, like, meditate for three minutes, go to my car, I'll use the Calm app, and really not make excuses about being too distracted or not getting the right atmosphere or having the right amount of time. And it has helped me be a lot more mindful.

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