“Self-care is not selfish.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
— Eleanor Brownn
When our feet hit the floor in the morning, we are often running around, tending to this and that, until we collapse in bed that night. Stress is part of life, especially when you have a career, family, and other responsibilities. But we can’t let it control our lives. We have to preserve ourselves if we want to accomplish everything and maintain balance.
Your physical health depends on your ability to manage stress. Stress can be dangerous because it overworks our adrenal glands, a pair of pea-sized glands located at the top of each kidney that produce hormones in response to stress. When you spend your days tense and anxious, your adrenal glands have to work overtime, causing adrenal fatigue. Once adrenal exhaustion sets in, it’s not long before the body starts experiencing chronic illness.
No matter what challenges you face, you simply can’t afford to live your life chronically stressed out. Something eventually has to give.
“Stress reduction and mindfulness
don’t just make us happy and healthier.
They are a proven competitive advantage.”
— Arianna Huffington, past president
and editorial chief of the Huffington Post
So, how do we handle everything? How do we take care of ourselves during life’s inevitable tests and trials? How do we keep from going crazy? We build a system of stress-busting techniques that work. Stop wasting time thinking about what you should be doing. Feeling guilty only perpetuates the cycle of stress and takes you out of the moment. Don’t let this happen any longer!
Meditate. Yes, Really.
Meditation is a practice that centers and calms the mind. By focusing your attention on breathing and letting disruptive thoughts and worries slip away, meditation gives your mind a well-deserved rest. (Even when you sleep, your restfulness can be interrupted by anxious dreams or nightmares.) It also helps you gain clarity and direction, which will help you handle your day, your job, your family, and everything else going on in your life.
The word meditate might make you think of sitting cross-legged and chanting. While that’s certainly a method, there are others, too, such as simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing and nothing else for a few minutes.
For readers unfamiliar with this increasingly popular practice, here are the basics: Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, sit in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Then, take deep breaths from your lower abdomen, expanding your rib cage and your chest, all the way up to your throat as you inhale, breathing in and then exhaling out through your nose. You can also purse your lips and exhale slowly. Thoughts are going to enter your mind, especially when you’re new to meditation. Acknowledge these thoughts and then release them. You can do this for as little or as long as you like.
Meditation Is A Gift You Give Yourself
Countless scientific studies prove that meditation lowers stress and improves cognitive function, creative thinking, and productivity. It even helps improve physical health. When your brain is spinning in a million different directions or you are distracted and your mind is somewhere else, meditation restores focus and provides energy to tackle the next item on your plate. Meditation is a gift you give yourself: It provides a peace of mind that will help you more effectively live in the moment.
Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Robin Roberts, Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Dr. Oz, and Richard Gere, the list goes on and on, have all been known to meditate. Google, AOL, and Apple corporations even offer meditation classes to their employees. Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, said, “Meditation, more than anything in my life, was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had.”
These successful people meditate because it works. Even a consistent five-minute meditation practice yields results. If necessary, hide out in the bathroom and shut the door if that’s what it takes to build five minutes of “me-time” into your daily routine.
What people discover is that meditating for five minutes is so beneficial that they slowly increase their daily commitment. As this practice becomes increasingly more widespread throughout the country, the number of resources for meditating expands. Take advantage of them! There are a number of meditation guides and timer apps you can use right on your phone. You simply adjust the time to as long as you need and a chime will signal when the time has been met. You can also check out websites, such as www.insightmeditationcenter.com, www.tm.org, www.tmhome.com, or www.chopra.com, which offer meaningful and well-guided meditation practices. I encourage you to keep an open mind as you look through these resources.
©2017 by Marja Norris. All Rights Reserved.
excerpt from Chapter 3 of:
The Unspoken Code: A Businesswoman's No-Nonsense Guide to Making It In the Corporate World
by Marja L. Norris
The Unspoken Code contains no-nonsense advice to help women climb the corporate ladder with confidence, as well as valuable insights from successful businesswomen reflecting on their own journeys to the top. The book's three sections guide readers towards their professional goals and empowers women to push through barriers with moxie and gives them confidence to achieve their professional dreams.
About the Author
Marja Norris is the CEO and founder of MarjaNorris.com, a company dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals with style and confidence. With a distinguished career in finance, she has successfully navigated the male-dominated business world and is passionate about coaching women on how to be taken seriously, be heard, and get what they want at work.