Stressed? Here's what I do every day to stay sane

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This past month has been intense for me - emotionally, physically, politically, and spiritually.  Cold sores, sore throats, migraines, family stuff, the news, the world, and just being a mom who runs a business does the trick. 

To help me stay grounded and connected, (almost) each morning and night I practice a loving-kindness meditation.  I'm sharing this with you because everyone I speak with lately seems to feel pressure in their own unique way. Whether it's showing up at work, a project, in a personal relationship, or wherever. 

Research has found that loving-kindness meditation helps make you happier, can reduce migraines and chronic pain, and can even diminish the effects of depression and other forms of mental illness. 

I just do it because it helps me get back into my heart. I know I have a lot to be grateful for - but sometimes, especially when things go wrong, it's hard to really feel it.  I know when I can't access my gratitude that I have work to do - and this gets me in the zone. I also practice this before any meeting - blessing the group that I'm about to interact with. 

Here's how to do it:

1. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Imagine someone or something (a pet) that you love unconditionally and easily. See yourself sending them this blessing or wish:  

May you be healthy, happy, safe, free to be yourself, and know that you are loved. 

Note: Feel free to modify the language and make it your own. The idea is to just send them good wishes. Also, notice how you feel - sometimes I'll get warmer or notice a softness in my chest. And sometimes there's nothing. 

2. Repeat this for other people that you care about. I start to imagine members of my family and friends. I'll see them in groups to be more efficient.   

May you be healthy, happy, safe, free to be yourself, and know that you are loved. 

3. Now repeat this for yourself.

May I be healthy, happy, safe, free to be myself, and know that I am loved. 

4. Extend this to anyone you'll encounter today:

May you be healthy, happy, safe, free to be yourself, and know that you are loved. 


5. Extend this to the leaders you're impacted by. (I do this for all the world's leaders - we need it!).

May you be healthy, happy, safe, free to be yourself, and know that you are loved. (I also add) May you lead with love and respect for all human beings. 

6. Extend this to anyone who is challenging you, upsetting you, or who has betrayed you (gulp). Yes, this is very healing, trust me.  If you can't bring yourself to this, just acknowledge that you're willing to see your relationship differently and try again another day. 

May you be healthy, happy, safe, free to be yourself, and know that you are loved. 


And that's it!  If you'd like an audio version, you can listen to this one by UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. 

To your health, happiness, safety, freedom, and being loved,

Stella