We ALL want to be the woman who lights up the room, right? Well, you can’t be that beautiful, confident, light-filled woman if you’re consumed by worry and anxiety. This meditation for stress is my go-to when I’m feeling strung out, wired, and stressed… I hope it helps you too.
Give it a try right now:
- Just like the Light and Love meditation, start in an easy cross-legged position (or even lying down, if that’s more comfortable for you). Initiate GENTLE core breathing. Don’t feel like you have to breathe super-duper deep… Just make it gentle and relaxed. Feel that your belly and lower ribs gently expand as you inhale, and that your core muscles gently pull in (as if to help push out the air) as you exhale.
- Similar to the Light and Love meditation, do a body scan from head to foot in order to feel which area of your body feels most “fluttery” and anxious. You’ve heard of “butterflies in your stomach,” right? Those butterflies can be felt in other places in your body as well! Anxiety and/or stress is most often felt in the head, heart/chest area, or tummy area. Although many people feel stress/anxiety as a cascade of fleeting, fluttery, swirling thoughts, the physical sensation of stress differs for everybody. You might feel a sensation of tightening or squeezing around the chest, or heaviness like a stone or a rock stuck in your gut.
- Like the Light and Love meditation, focus your attention on the primary area that’s feeling stress/anxiety. This is where you’re going to stay for the remainder of this meditation. Illuminate the area by switching on an imaginary flashlight. Make the light bright and harsh and really LIGHT UP the area that’s feeling the stress.
- If you’re like me, your stressful, anxious thoughts will be fluttering around like butterflies or moths. They’ll actually be attracted to the light and will really start fluttering like crazy when the light is shining on them. Grab an imaginary butterfly net and grab the first fluttering, anxious thought. Identify the thought, acknowledge it for it’s existence, and then scoop it out of your mind (or your heart, or your stomach) and toss it away. Use your butterfly net to scoop up all of your fluttery, swirling, anxious thoughts, one at a time. We’re not trying to kill them or squash them, but it’s absolutely imperative that we get them out of our head (or heart, or stomach) before they eat you alive.
- Once you’ve scooped out all of your fluttery, anxious thoughts, put your imaginary butterfly net aside and switch off the flashlight that was illuminating your mind (or heart or gut).
- Spend a few moments in the quiet, serene dark. Then, ever so slowly, imagine a warm ball of golden, healing light expanding and filling the space that you just cleared out. So for example, after you’ve cleared all of the fluttery, swirling, butterflies from your head, switch off the flashlight, and take a few moments of peace and quiet in the new STILLNESS that is you. Now slowly fill your mind with a warm, golden light. This light is healing. It is love. Sit with it and allow it to grow.
- Breathe and relax, and then when you’re ready, gently open your eyes and move on with your day.
- Do this butterfly net meditation anytime you feel anxiety fluttering in your head, clawing at your chest, or sinking in your stomach. Use your imaginary butterfly net to identify and then scoop out and remove whatever feeling you’re feeling. If you feel anxiety as a sense of a clawing in your chest, you might want to scoop out spiders. If that’s way too creepy for you, then just scoop out the FEELING of clawing. You don’t have to represent the feeling with any type of animal or insect… Only do that if it works for you.
Let’s fact it: life is full of ups and downs, rough patches, worry, and stress. One of the most important aspects of healthy living is learning how to put yourself (and your health) FIRST… Ahead of your family, friends, and your various obligations and commitments. It may sound selfish, but just like anyone who’s ever been on an airplane knows, you have to put on YOUR oxygen mask first so that you can be healthy and vital enough to help those around you.
One way to put yourself first is to look after your own mental and spiritual health with deep breathing exercises and/or brief meditations like this one. Caring for your own health in this way will allow you to “show up” more fully for your family and your life’s work!