meditation, Stark Reality, suck it up

Why Meditating With A Raging Hangover Is A Life-Enhancing Skill

IMG_1535 2 2.jpgMeditating with a hangover takes balls

You really won’t feel like doing it, but you’ll learn so much more about yourself than you would from a more ordinary session.

Being properly hungover is a vivid experience. You’ll be acutely aware of your physical symptoms and your mental state is unusual. It’s best to meditate before your preferred damage limitation choices: full English, hair of the dog, painkillers… The more raw you feel, the more material you’ll have to work with!

Get right inside the pain

Sit down in a quiet, comfy place and set a timer for ten minutes. Be brave and focus on how you feel. Place your attention on your body. Where are the strongest sensations? What about the nausea your stomach? What is that really like?  Is there a crest? Does it flash or it is more lurching? Are you clenched around your stomach, trying to control it? Can you make a little space around the feeling? If it’s too strong, back off a little to a more manageable place; maybe focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Then if you can, bring your attention back – has your experience changed at all?

If at anytime you need to go throw up, go right ahead. Try to make it to the sink first though. If you feel dizzy, maybe keep your eyes open and gently focused on a stable spot in front of you. Keep breathing.

Mentally, you’ll have a bunch of stuff going on. You probably have a headache or find it particularly difficult to focus. And there may be some emotional trickiness to deal with, too. Maybe you’ll be worrying over what you said about Brexit or there could be some ominous blank spots in your memory.

There might be some excitement going on – elation that you finally told someone you liked them or some enjoyable booze-induced bonding. You might still be drunk.

Put a little space around these feelings if you can and try to hold them with some gentleness.

There’s a tendency with hangovers to punish yourself because it’s ‘self-inflicted’. Bugger that nonsense.

It’s really important to see being hungover as an opportunity to be super-kind to yourself.

Get up carefully when your timer goes off.

Hungover benefits

Meditating with a hangover teaches that you can deal with your really unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings when your first instinct is to escape them.

Being present with yourself when you feel like shit means you’re less likely to resort to numbing or self-pitying behaviour, like drinking loads more or beating yourself up for getting so drunk.

Creating that space, becoming interested and kind to yourself, means you’re processing the feelings instead of storing them up and letting them fester. It’s a major life-enhancing skill.

Now go and eat a plateful of sausages and drink lots of water. 

 

 

meditation, Stark Reality

Are You Waiting To Feel Better Before You Meditate?

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You want to meditate, but not today because everything is rubbish.

You got turned down for a job, you’re worried about money and your go-to behaviours for handling this sort of anxiety are in full swing. You want to overeat, blame, booze, imagine nobody cares, watch porn – choose your weapon.  The thought of facing all that anxious, itchy, tension in your meditation session is not appealing.

Make a cup of tea.

It’s never a bad idea. While the kettle boils, notice the pattern on the mug and watch the steam rising in an effortless swirl. Then make yourself this promise:

You can do all the destructive crap you want but only after you sit and meditate for 15 minutes.

For a simple meditation technique try this.

Drink your tea then sit and meditate. It won’t feel easy, you will be aware of all tension and edgy thoughts  – all that stuff that you’re feeling anyway.

But it will help and here’s why…

If you can sit with your experience and watch yourself squirming away from your feelings, you become a bit larger than them. You make a tiny space between you and your rubbish day.

That space holds the key to you making better choices. And reminds you that’s how you want to live.

meditation, Stark Reality, Wise things

Suck It Up!

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Sometimes meditation rubs your nose in painful but ultimately helpful truths.

Inescapable realities:

  • Your mind talks rubbish: anyone who tries to focus on their breath for five minutes knows this.

  • You’re insatiable: have you had enough food, sex, praise, comfort, holidays? Has anyone?

  • Because everything changes, you can’t rely on anything.

  • Your chimp-based evolution has wired your brain to see threats everywhere.

  • You’re going to die (okay, meditation doesn’t show you this directly but it’s true anyway).

You were shielded from most of these certainties when you were young but if you ignore them when you’re an adult you’ll create problems for yourself.

Gimmie the numbing distractions!

Popular methods for avoiding awkward truths include: working too hard,  taking drugs, over exercising, procrastinating, pornography, self-loathing and checking your phone every two minutes.

Meditation removes some distractions so you are gently forced to see how things really are. This can be daunting but sometimes your coping methods cause more problems than facing the truths themselves. Late night drinking to avoid the fact that you chose the wrong career might be causing you more difficulties than actually changing your job.

Of course in many ways drinking will seem like a much more fun option than acknowledging that you’ve wasted time in a job you don’t like.

But before you throw your meditation cushion in the skip…

Remember you can only deal with something if you acknowledge it exists in the first place.

When you accept How Things Actually Are it will be much easier to find a happier way to solve your problems. In the same way you don’t become furious at gravity when you fall off a ladder, accepting that life is a bit shit sometimes, helps you come up with better solutions.

You can also take comfort in the fact that everyone you know, and will ever know, also has to deal with the same crap. It might even bring you closer together.

Meditation can feel a little brutal sometimes but life is tricky enough without deceiving yourself.