Freelance writing requires independence, persistence, and patience. You can not be freelance writer and a wimp; the two do not go together. While I am grateful for an even personality, there are times when I feel anxious. My automatic response to this feeling is to work harder, just what I do not need.
Experience has taught me that working less relieves anxiety. I take mini meditation breaks to slow my thoughts and clear my mind.
What is meditation? The online medical dictionary defines it as “practice of concentrated focus upon sound, object, visualization, breathing, movement … to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.” Humans have been meditating for centuries.
Meditation may be divided into two basic types, concentration and mindfulness. Mayo Clinic describes the types in a website article, “Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress.” The types include guided meditation (also called guided imagery), mantra, mindful, Qi Gong (a combination of meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises), Transcendental (eliminating all thoughts from your mind), Tai Chi and Yoga.
When I am stuck or confused about writing, I call time out and take a 5-10 minute break. First, I eliminate all background noise. I close my eyes and do some diaphragm breathing. Then I envision my mind as a blank, gray television screen with no images. I try to clear thoughts from my mind. Sometimes, though, I focus on one word, such as love.
This may not be the classic way to meditate, but it works for me. After a few minutes of silence and stillness, I am always re-energized. In fact, I feel as if I have just awakened from a refreshing nap.
If you are not familiar with meditation you may wish to watch a Mayo Clinic video, “Need to Relax? Take a Break for Meditation,” which is posted on its website. A female narrator guides you through the video and you hear soothing background music that has no melody.
Lawrence LeShan offers start-up tips in his book, “How to Meditate.” First, sit, lie or stand in a comfortable position. Set a clock alarm or timer for 15 minutes. If you do not have an alarm or timer, look at a wall clock. (Do not move your head while you look at it.) Count silently and consecutively each time you breathe out. Keep doing this until your time is up.
Meditation is not easy, according to LeShan. As he explains, “The first shock of surprise comes when we realize how undisciplined our mind really is; how it refuses to do the bidding of our will.” He thinks regular meditation leads to increased mental alertness, awareness, and decreased tension.
For me, the best things about mini meditations is that they take little time and yield big results. You can take mini meditation breaks almost anywhere. Early in my writing career I did not take mini meditation breaks. Today, they are part of my work routine. Maybe they will become part of yours.
Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson