How Do You Deal With Stress?

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

A couple of weeks ago I read an article on Yahoo! News that gave me pause for thought.  Dan Harris, an ABC News Anchor, shared a part of his life seen by millions around the world.  During a live broadcast, Harris had a debilitating panic attack.  Unable to finish his spot, he turned it  back to Diane Sawyer.  Harris couldn’t breathe and was as surprised as anyone when this occurrence happened.  He took a good look at his life to research reasons for the attack and discovered he had three very problematic areas.  One was his frenzied attempt to rise to the top,  another was reporting from Iraq, and the third taking occasional recreational drugs on the weekend.  He was very stressed.  When he saw a psychiatrist the doctor told him the attack was most likely provoked by the drugs.


 Mr. Harris sought to find healing.  He tried everything and nothing worked.  Meditation was suggested and, desperate, he decided to give it a try.

Mr. Harris’ idea of meditation was sitar music and chanting, but he knew he had antiquated ideas about the subject, a throwback to the era of the 60’s and 70’s.  He thought the idea might be a little crazy, however, he went to a class.  As he learned to breathe he found  peace.   Harris says the trick is to learn the breathing process to keep stress at a lower level.

Once he learned to meditate, Harris made it a daily habit, spending Meditatingbetween 1-2 hours a day.  He slowed down his life, looked around at things he had never noticed before; as his brain slowed down, and his work improved, he slept better, and quit worrying.  As Mr. Harris found answers in meditation he wrote a book entitled 10% Happier.  You can watch a video of Dan Harris’ breakdown here as he explains his experience and how he turned to meditation.

Though his earlier thoughts about meditation took a while to change, Harris overcame those preconceptions and learned to reap the benefits of meditation and relaxation.

I had much the same feeling when asked to try meditation as part of my therapy for Bipolar Disorder.  Although I had many of the same thoughts Mr. Harris did, I do know the quietness of prayer, so thought I could try it and decide then.

A free  21-day meditation from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey was offered on the Chopra website.  I signed up, and from the first day I experienced relaxation, but it took  a few  months to learn to get quiet and kick the “mind monkeys” out of my head.  Mind monkeys are all the thoughts that creep inside while you try to stay focused and relaxed.  You’ll always have thoughts that come and go, but with practice you can ignore them.seafoam

 That meditation ended and there was a break before the Mentors Channel started with a 21-day Meditation, each session taught by different experts on the subject. When that program ended, I haunted YouTube for “guided meditation”.  Between the 21-Day classes I use YouTube and find many wonderful guided meditations.  My favorites on YouTube are those by ‘The Honest Guys.” You can search and find many uplifting and relaxing meditations from them, as well as those presented by other teachers. I prefer to have my eyes closed during meditation, although the experts say it doesn’t matter.  Meditation is your time and you should do it whenever and however you’re most comfortable. 

 I look for 10-30 minute meditations in the morning.  I get up early, make coffee, walk the dog, and meditate.  When I’m through I feel calm and ready to start my day.  I did this for several months when I had a couple of anxiety attacks and my therapist recommended I try doing an additional meditation at night.  Another 21-day Mentors Channel class started.  Instead of listening to a guided meditation, a duo sang meditations.  The name of the artists are are Deva Premal and Miten.  Deva has one of the loveliest voices I’ve ever heard.  She and Miten record together, but there are many earlier albums by Deva alone.  I now do one of these recordings before bedtime to relax.  Some of these are available on YouTube, (search for Deva Primal or Deva and Miten) but I’ve been buying songs one at a time on the iTunes store.  Here is a sample recording.

Doing two meditations a day worked well until I had a mood swing that drained me.  My therapist suggested I meditate four times a day until I felt better.  I did this by not changing my morning and evening meditations, but by adding a prayer here and there, listening to a 5-minute meditation, or sitting quietly for 5 minutes.  I’m still doing this because I have been in a severe depression for a couple of weeks.  I know it will change though.  The meditation helps as I breathe deeply and relax.

I’ve learned is that there is no right or wrong way to meditate.  I prefer guided meditations, as they seem to help me relax more, but there are scores of recordings that are just music.  Some tell you to watch the images on the screen but my mind wanders too much when I do that.  I prefer to close my eyes, listen, and feel the peace and relaxation through my body.  You’ll find what works best for you.sunset

Have you ever tried meditation?  Would you?  What are your thoughts on the subject?

Below are some links you might find helpful if you decide to try it.  I know you’ll reap benefits.

Explanation of Meditation on Wikipedia

The following video on YouTube is short and explains the benefits of meditation.

How to Meditate

My favorite meditations come from The Honest Guys on YouTube. Here are two examples.

 Blissful Deep Relaxation

 Guided Meditation for Health and Healing


Books by L.Leander:

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer





Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)




Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer




13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing








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You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

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L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews






18 thoughts on “How Do You Deal With Stress?

  1. I did some meditation — or relaxation exercise — back in the late ’70s after taking a class on meditation at the community college in Ohio. When at home, I’d do it whenever I felt like I needed to take stress out of me. One time I got so relaxed that I actually felt my “awareness” shift to something “different.” It was so different that it scared me and I jerked back to “normal.” Never able to relax enough to get that mind sensation back. I meditated well int the ’80s, but not nowadays.


    1. As I said it was suggested as part of my treatment. I had never meditated until now. I am reaping such rewards and it really relaxes me. I enjoy reaching the “awareness” phase because it’s then I know it’s working. Mine hasn’t shifted to something different and hope it never does!


  2. For a while I practiced meditation regularly. I have been much more irregular about it for the last several years. I do find it very helpful though, and I’m glad you are finding it to be helpful as well, Linda. Thanks for all the links and information about online resources. Wishing you all the best in your continued practice.


    1. I find something new every day in meditation, but the main thing for me is keeping quiet and becoming aware. I really like it and hope to make it a habit for life. I’ve got little meditations for on the go on my iPhone, so I can do the in-between ones even if we’re out. My morning and night meditations are non-negotiable – I’m here, I meditate, and nothing interferes. Thank you for the comments.


  3. I have attempted (lamely) to meditate. I know I should take time to, but I have so much going on. I am sorry you are having these attacks. I am praying for you this minute. Since you are doing so much praying, please keep me in your prayers. Del and I are taking turns with surgeries. I’m in the hospital right now for a procedure. I’m kind of depressed because I have so much to do and not enough time. I so much wanted to do some painting. Do you paint? Watercolor is fun. Love you. You can contact me any time day or night. Cher’ley


    1. I didn’t even know how to meditate until I started this process. I have to make time in my day or I feel worse. Have been praying for you and Del and I certainly understand the frustration in not being able to do things. Enjoy the rest – it’s what your body needs. I have painted in oils and acrylics but am just learning watercolor techniques for Art Journaling. I used to do it and I am trying to do some new things to keep me motivated. Love you too!


  4. Linda, I have been meditating for over forty years. Over the years I’ve varied from guided, music, just breathing and walking meditation. The practice has allowed me to accomplish a lot in my life. For me, it is as natural as “breathing”.

    Here is to continued success for you as you journey through this chapter in your life. Doris


    1. Wow Doris! I wish I had been meditating as long as you. It definitely would have helped me. I am genuinely reaping benefits from it and am constantly searching for new meditations that touch me. It’s becoming as natural as breathing for me too. I do not let anything stand in the way when it’s time to meditate. It is definitely helping me in a lot of ways and I’m so glad my therapist suggested it!


    1. Thank you Abbie. The meditation not only relieves stress but helps with medical issues such as heart disease, hypertension, stress, and a myriad of other things. Glad you’re not as stressed as you used to be.


  5. Linda, I’ve not done meditation, mostly due to time factors. I do pray, however, from which I draw my strength. I do several short prayers throughout the day and I read to relax as well. So sorry you having these attacks of both anxiety and depression, and I hope you continue to find peace through your prayers and meditation times.


    1. I use prayer too, Gayle, and it definitely helps me relax, as does reading, of course! I’m also trying to find peace by being thankful for where I am right this minute. Thank you for the kind thoughts. I’m finally really beginning to realize this is for life and I can take control to help myself by taking my meds regularly and relaxing as much as I can. Life is good!


  6. I’ve not tried meditation but know people who get great value from it. I hope you feel better soon, Linda. I’ve a lot going on at home just now and feel a little out of sync at times but times pass and things that seemed big somehow get resolved and I realise they weren’t really that big after all.


  7. I especially like the last part of your comment Nancy. I tend to get overwhelmed about things that seem hard to handle when if I just stand back and look at the problem or ask for help it’s really manageable and not a big thing at all! My meditations even help with that, although I must confess that therapy has played a big part in my overcoming that problem. Thanks for the comment!


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