Meditating 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.
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.