Stressed? Try this


Got too many thoughts going on in your head?  A friend told me “it’s like I have too many tabs open in a browser.”

It’s a modern American affliction.  Everyone is always “busy”. No one has any time.

Maybe people are saying that to avoid talking to others.

Maybe it’s a status symbol when people want to feel important and/or are worried about unemployment.

I actually think being able to afford to not be busy is the real status symbol.

If you can’t afford that, being able to create space and peace in your head is arguably just as good.

Meditation and mindfulness is an effective way to do that.  All the cool kids are doing it. Business leaders like Richard Branson, financial gurus like Ray Dalio, comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, artists and writers…  If you listen to Tim Ferriss’ excellent podcast, it seems like 8 out of 10 of the amazing guests do it.

(Side note: Somewhat ironically, in the most recent Ferriss podcast I listened to, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote playfully predicts that Zen is over and Stoicism is next.  I better get my modern translation of Marcus Aurelius’ meditations finished!)

The New Yorker, seemingly always up with the Zeitgeist, even in Silicon Valley, covered this mindfulness movement in depth in July 2015.   A year before they reviewed Dan Harris‘ attempts at mindfulness in his bestseller “10% Happier”.

A stressed colleague recently said with respect to meditation: “I wouldn’t even know where to start”.

That’s when I remembered Headspace.  It’s a beautiful app. Guided meditation.  No woo woo spiritual stuff.  Andy whispers in a delightful British accent in your ear.  First 10 days are free.  About $70 for a year’s access to over 350 hours of guided meditation across a surprisingly wide range of themes: relationships, health, balance, focus, change, creativity, performance, …

I’m on my second year.  As I’ve heard a number of people say,  the days with it are typically better than those without.  My attention, patience and sense of good will are improved.

The trick is to stop fighting and learn to impassively observe.  You step out of the torrent of to do lists, endless re-runs of things you should have said or not said, done or not done.

You just sit and breathe.  You notice thoughts or feelings when you mind invariably gets distracted and come back to the sitting and breathing.

That’s it. No levitation.  No transportation to a higher mental plane.  It creates mental peace to cope with what life throws at you.  And it creates the distance (you step back and see the forest, rather than spinning your wheels down in the trees) to enable insights into what’s bugging you, and what you need to do.

Here’s the other thing.  If you think you’re too busy and you haven’t got time, or too stressed, that’s when you most need it.  Andy even has a 1 minute SOS meditation.  Trust me. Give your mind a little space and everything will come into perspective.

Try it and let me know what you think.