So often I get asked practical questions like, “What did you eat today?” “How do you stay so cheerful?” These are normal how to questions from people who are simply curious, and need or want, to get the real deal IRL (in real life).  I thought I would share this with you because yesterday I was overwhelmed with junk. I was angry at some things out of my control; such as confusing paper work, a car issue, and “administrivia”. It was hard! I like to plan, be organized, and keep things moving along; life working out is what I prefer (ha-ha like I have a choice!). When things happen that hold me up, when I am confused and anxious, I can get irritated with myself and others.

Yesterday was such a day. Once I did as much as I could to manage the tasks and paperwork, I could do nothing else about it except decide how I would respond. Of course, I could moan and groan, bother my friends, and be miserable. I could make myself sick. Or I could take action. I could be in charge of my thoughts, instead of my thoughts being in charge of me. So I grabbed the dog leashes, and despite a bitterly cold, late afternoon, ran out the door dressed for The Arctic. I marched around purposefully trying to let go of stuff. It was freezing! The dogs didn’t care and were happy to go at my fast pace so I could stay warm. When we got home, I was a bit more relaxed. Then I thought, I need more…. I’m still not over it.  So I mediated for 15 minutes using free guided meditations from the University of CA Los Angeles Mindful Awareness Center. Session #9 of my program: Stress Reduction and Maintaining a Positive Mental Outlook, is all about how we manage our thoughts and emotions on a daily basis. 

Mediating gave me a better perspective on my difficulty. My problems are nothing! I am not a refugee mom fleeing to a safe community so my kids will be safe. I am healthy, I do not have to choose between food and important bills. No one died. My house has not been bombed or flooded. For years I have called many of our problems “uptown problems” which are similar to the hilarious first world problems people post. By focusing on my breathing, and listening to the calm voice guide me though the session, I felt better. She said to hold myself in loving kindness. I felt better. Why was I being mean to myself before? Interesting that I have thought of that phrase all day today: “Hold yourself in loving kindness.” I needed to hear that voice of reasonable empathy to get a grip.

Every day we make decisions about how we will respond to the events around us. We are fully responsible for some of these events; yet not for others. Some of the events that happen in our lives are much more serious than others. Life is complicated! But we all have the opportunity to decide how we will respond to what happens around us every minute of the day. Every Nano-second we decide whether we follow the path of a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and some sort of regular, consistent stress reduction — or not. Exercising and meditating are both effective, easy, actions we can certainly incorporate into our daily lives.  Next time you are angry, frustrated, or feeling edgy, I hope you jump around, walk, dance, sing, or run, get it out! Then sit down and be still for a for minutes. Hold yourself in loving kindness.