Why Moms Should MeditateBy Winnie Yu for Completely You
I’m no good at sitting still. In fact, I’m more of a whirling dervish, with bundles of energy and plenty of movement. So when I tried to take up meditation a few years ago, it was a struggle. A big one. My thoughts whirred in all directions. What do I need at the store today? Did I forget to pay that bill? What time is Samantha’s dentist appointment?
Bringing myself to stillness turned out to be more challenging than any athletic endeavor I ever attempted. It was tougher than learning to ski and play tennis. It was more difficult than the ballroom dance classes that my husband and I took. It was certainly more difficult than yoga and tai chi, which still allowed me to move while watching my breath.
Yet I’d heard so much about the benefits of meditating that I simply had to try it. The result is my own special brand of mediation, what I call mom’s meditative magic. I like to think of it as a temporary suspension from reality -- a short break from the chaos around me.
How I do it: Basically, I try to put what’s going on around me into the background and bring my breath to the foreground. When the focus shifts, I begin to listen to my breath and feel for the rise and fall of my chest. Sometimes, I count: one … two … three. Often, before I even get to 10, I have zoned out, but in a way that’s deliberate, focused and calming. Want more instructions? Check out this video on one-moment meditation.
Sometimes, my brief meditative moments are the only thing that keeps me sane on a bad day. For instance, when the kids are fighting, I will sometimes disappear into my own head. Or when I’m rushing around from one thing to the next, I’ll pause and think about my breath. Sometimes, I just focus on the mundane task at hand, like washing dishes or driving.
These fleeting bouts of meditative escapes may not bring about the brain-boosting, soul-soothing calm that 20 minutes on a yoga mat might. But they keep me sane when I’m feeling anything but. For busy moms like me, that’s priceless.
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Winnie Yu is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.