Have you ever experienced challenging times, and felt so struck down by the event that it was hard to imagine ever seeing the light of a happy day again?
Some years ago now, I experienced a very turbulent period of my life. My husband and father to our two young daughters, dropped dead suddenly as we were walking and talking. No cause of death was ever determined.
In the early days following the event, it was difficult to imagine how I was ever going to be able to live a happy and fulfilling life again. The symptoms of grief had me captured and it felt all-consuming.
Thankfully, there were things already in place in my life that eventually helped to release the shackles of suffering.
Like my yoga, mindfulness and meditation practice.
Every time I hit the mat for a yoga session and began moving my body and breath, energy was shifting. The movement and rising heat wasn't just purifying on a physical level, it was also allowing all my thoughts and feelings about the event to bubble to the surface.
Yes, this often meant becoming a blubbering mess during many of the classes I participated in!
But resting in the unpleasantness of my own suffering around what had happened, and accepting my own way of showing up for it all - without judging myself for it, ended up being the very process that allowed me to see the rays of hope again.
I've now gone on to teach yoga, mindfulness and meditation to others with the intention to share the healing benefits of these ancient practices so that others too can find happiness again after facing tough times.
Over the years, I've discovered additional, beneficial ways to get back into being yourself again, and discovering a zest for life. Here they are:
1. Finding a belief in something greater again so you can reinstate a sense of purpose. You might focus on your children, or providing for your family, helping someone else in need, spirituality, religion, etc. Something that helps you to reinstate a feeling that life has a bigger purpose and meaning, and that you have an important contribution to make towards that. Join a local community group or online group that feels supportive, where people have common interests to make the world a better place, and where you can contribute your skills, knowledge and experience.
2. Become aware of where constriction presents in the body, breath, thoughts and feelings during turbulent times. When we're able to observe it, we begin to teach ourselves to allow things to be as they are, and even rest with unpleasantness while it's around. The beauty of acceptance, is that it then contributes to the letting go of tense thoughts and feelings about events of the past that are keeping you stuck, clearing the way for different ways to look at the situation (perspective). Start with noticing where constriction presents in the body and the breath, then once you're comfortably able to rest your awareness there, you can begin to observe your thoughts and feelings.
3. Find the gifts in the event that has occurred. This may take time, and you'll need to be patient with yourself here. For example, a gift that I've opened up to receive since my husbands death is finding gratitude for the eight wonderful years that we had together in love, and the two beautiful daughters that resulted from our union. A lot of others in life never get this opportunity.
4. Developing a helpful morning routine, including moving your body, breathing exercises and setting a daily intentions. How you start the day is how you'll play!
5. Lean on your support network. Find someone you can trust who you can talk to about everything that's going on for you - without judgement. If there's no one in your immediate friendship/family network, then research support groups in your local area or that you can connect in with online.
Here are some free resources to get you started:
Join Erin's free online 5-Day Meditation Challenge
Get Erin's free eBook: The 4-Step Morning Ritual for a Power-Full Day
Attend one of Erin's live events, including meditation evenings, retreats, yoga classes and workshops
Join Erin's private Facebook group, My Mindful Tribe to connect with others around the world who intend on living a happier and more mindful existence
Visit the Beyond Blue website for loads of support and advice on living with anxiety and depression
Call Lifeline (Australia) on 13 11 14 for immediate crisis assistance, non-judgemental support and resources if you are feeling like you cannot cope on your own.
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