Meditation: It IS for you. Yes it is.

Let me quickly address the universal feelings we suffer through when we start a meditation practice:

I’m not good at this… how am I this bad at just sitting here trying to think about nothing?… yep, this isn’t for me… how does my nose itch again?

Notice I said, “the universal feelings”? That’s because we all share some version of those initial experiences. We decide to give meditation a try, find it impossible to clear our minds, need to pee, and give up deciding it’s Just Not For Me. So, let me be super clear – right here, right now – YOU CANNOT MEDITATE WRONG. That’s not a thing. If you sit still, get quiet, take a couple of breaths, and relax you are meditating. And you’re doing great. Literally, perfect. Like a boss ass pro. Of course your mind will wander, that’s what minds do. That’s normal and fine. Of course you’ll feel jittery or antsy sometimes, that’s normal and fine. Of course you’ll stop in the middle of it sometimes because it’s hard to ignore a hungry cat (see below). Totally normal. Totally fine. Just keep at it. Refuse to feel like meditation isn’t for you. It is. Yes it is.

Step One

Step One to cultivating a strong meditation practice: put it back on the list.

If you think that I heard six billion reviews on the benefits of meditation, decided to go for it, and then dug right in and Zenned my ass off – you’d be 2/3rds right. (See that optimism right there? Not 1/3 wrong, 2/3 right. I’m going to chalk that positivity up to meditation.) Like everyone with a connection to the internet, each new podcast and blog post had me deciding that Today Is The Day and Here I Go. I fully believed that meditation was for me. I assumed it did the things the Super Zen claimed. I wanted a calmer mind, and better brain waves, and to be totally healed(?) – I just couldn’t get myself to fucking do it. You get it. So one day I decided that I was going to put it at the top of my to-do list every day. Period. If I didn’t follow through, fine, but it was going on there again tomorrow. And there it sat… on my to-do list… day after day… boldly and rudely uncrossed off.

So each day it went back at the top of the list.

Apparently shame and guilt and psychology work, because one day I accidently sat down and meditated and crossed it off my list. Super proudly. Then it sat on my to-do list ignored for a few more days. What? -_-

Step Two

Step Two to cultivating a strong mediation practice: Find a way to challenge yourself.

In those first few weeks, I just couldn’t seem to gather enough steam to maintain consistency. During my first several sessions I struggled with all of the aforementioned Universal Feelings. It was hard to be consistent and stay positive with all of that negativity crowding out my Zen. It was then that the Universe smiled down, or took pity, or got bored and I stumbled across a 30 Day Challenge. I like 30 day challenges, don’t you? They seem so doable. Knowing that I could do anything for 30 days and deciding I wouldn’t be defeated by something as simple as sitting quietly, I dug in, didn’t miss a beat, and crossed it off my list… every *clap* damn *clap* day *clap*.

Again, super proudly.-

Step Three

Step Three to cultivating a strong meditation practice: Develop your goals (or expected outcomes).

In the beginning, I just wanted to experience the hype. I had no goal apart from the 30 day challenge. That was plenty. The result of being consistent – and I’m by no means an expert here, I’m just sharing my early experience – has been a calmer, more easily focused and relaxed, Baseline Laure. Now I notice out of sync emotions and run away thoughts immediately and it’s easy to settle back into calm. It feels incredible. It feels free. My goal now is to keep being able to center myself in any situation. Plus if it cures a secret cancer I have or I become a sage philosopher, bonus.

So, if you’ve decided to give it a try there are a million places to start. I won’t address that here except to say that I did The Meaning of Life app and moved on to the paid version of the Calm app. I use the Daily Calm feature most days. The app also has other features I use a lot: music, backgrounds, quick breathing exercises, and sleep stories. (Sleep stories are bedtime stories for adults and they are HEAVEN.) If you use a different app that you love, share it in the comments so I can try it out.

Regardless of what path you venture down to get started (YouTube is also great), just START. Today. Don’t wait for Monday – that’s not a real thing either. It only takes a few minutes, you don’t have to achieve Level 10 Zen, and then you can mark it off your list with me!

Here’s a picture of my cat (you’re welcome).
She’s a super great meditator.
She’s also super great at interrupting meditators.
She’s a double-threat.

Vitamin B: Why You Should B Getting More…

We recently put our home on the market which had us meeting with our amazing Realtor. We were catching up and chatting about the changing season- the upcoming holidays, the fall colors, the cold, the mild depression, you get it.

As the days shorten and the weather turns cooler, you might find yourself a little more… melancholy. I get it. I’m Southern. I don’t tolerate the dark, chilly, indoors well (slash at all).

One of the best, and easiest, ways to combat the upcoming winter blues is to add a high quality vitamin B Complex to your morning routine. Sooner rather than later.

Let me explain to you how the human body works… -Joey Tribbiani

Your mini-lesson on neurotransmitters: (hang in there) Your body uses neurotransmitters in several important, regulatory functions. There are over one hundred identified neurotransmitters (because, Science), but those of interest to us today include:

  • Acetylcholine (affecting muscles, hormones, and heartbeat)
  • GABA (a mood regulator)
  • Epinephrine (your flight or fight friend)
  • Endorphins (wOOhOO)
  • Dopamine (related to mood, memory, learning, and the like)
  • and sweet, sweet Serotonin (your happy drug). Serotonin, our most popular neurotransmitter, is closely linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this time of year, but is by no means a stand alone in the arsenal against SAD. Your brilliant body makes a concoction of these chemicals to work together and you need everyone getting along and working together to fight back against freezing temperatures and barely-any-daylight.

How neurotransmitters and B-vitamins are connected: Your body uses the protein in your diet to synthesize neurotransmitters needed for regulating energy levels, improving mood, leveling your stress response and more. Sounds important, right? IT IS! TAKE SOME! *sighs* Sorry for yelling.

What and when to supplement: For our conversation today, the most important B-vitamins to supplement are B6 (found in beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs), B9 (found in green, leafy veggies), and B12 (found in meat, dairy, and eggs). The best time to take your B-Complex is the time of day you’re most likely to take it. Kind of like the best time to exercise – whenever you’ll do it! I take my B’s with my morning water, sans food. Unless I don’t and then I take them when I walk past them again.

Before we go, let me make a point about B9, commonly known as folate or folic acid. There’s plenty to google on one vs. the other, but in case you’ve read enough for the day and just want to be told what to do please so you can get on with your day folate (levomefolic acid or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate) is the naturally occurring form of B9. Great sources of naturally occurring folate include legumes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, green leafy veggies, and avocados. (there are more… give it a google) Folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamic acid) is synthetic. Notice the different, yet easily pronounceable names? Yep, not the same thing. If you’re still in doubt, are pregnant, or know someone who is or might become pregnant, be sure to read up on the difference between the two and make an informed decision about how to best get your B9.

Lastly, in case you’ve gotten all the way here, are totally convinced you need to add B’s to your regiment (you do!), but get overwhelmed by the 1.26 million options on the market… I use this brand for a several reasons. First, I trust the brand to use the quality ingredients to create a quality product. Keep in mind the supplement industry is more self-regulated than not, so find someone you trust and stick with them. Second, it checks the other non-negotiable boxes for me… it’s plant-based, it’s gluten free (take that, Celiac), and it’s made from whole foods. It’s really that last point that should seal your deal *wink, wink*. There is no debate that whole food sources of nutrition are far superior to chemistry experiments and “enriched” processed foods.

Garden of Life B Vitamin - Vitamin Code Raw B Complex Whole Food Supplement, Vegan, 60 Capsules
This is an unsponsored shout out – if you have a great supplement you trust, please share!!

Until next time… Feel free to leave a bit about how you cope with the changing season (or how much you love it… to inspire me to be a better, more tolerant person 🙂 If you have a B Complex you love and trust, give it a shout out!

Coming soon on Who Made This Mess… Meditation – why it’s not the fad you should ignore and how you can add it to your day… today!