You may know that I live on Staten Island which has been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The amount of damage is tragic and unbelievable. So many have lost their homes, cars and lives. My family has been extremely fortunate and we were just inconvenienced by power loss.
Not a big deal in the scheme of things. In fact it made me more aware of what I’m grateful for, what we truly need in life and what I can do without. Gratitude is a powerful stress buster. I can do without power as long as I have the people I love, food and shelter. I am grateful that this was the case.
I cannot say that I didn’t find the storm scary or stressful, it was. I prayed, meditated, and did a lot of deep breathing. I even took a candle lit bath. The next day I journaled and exercised to keep my mind clear and calmer. There is a lot to be said for practicing self care during stressful times.
I’m not the best at meditating but it’s better than letting fear and wild thoughts run in my brain like a hamster on a wheel. And it’s called a practice for a reason! If you are new to meditation I suggest starting with 5 – 10 minutes of sitting quietly in a comfortable position. I sit in a chair or on the floor with my back against a chair.
Set a timer so you aren’t focusing on how long you’re sitting still. Close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. Then just focus on the breath, not changing it – just noticing how it feels going in and out of your body. Then start silently saying the word so on the inhale and on the exhale silently say the word hum. So hum.
If your mind starts to wander, acknowledge the thought but don’t follow it. Gently bring your attention back to your breath and the so hum phrase. When your time is up slowly open your eyes and just sit for a moment or two before getting up.
If you are able, another way of showing gratitude is to make a donation to the Red Cross or to volunteer. In the NY area you can find out where to volunteer here: https://www.facebook.com/nycservice.