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I cannot begin to count the number of times someone has tried to sell me on meditation as a way to deal with anxiety. This concept is laughable to me. Like, I literally burst into laughter most times it is suggested to me. I know it works for many people. I know it is a practice, and therefore I might need to, you know, practice if I want it to be useful down the road. But, honestly, right now, at this point in my life, meditation does sort of the opposite of what it is supposed to. As I once told a dear friend, “Yes, because what I need is more time alone with my thoughts.” So when I came across Casey Johnston’s “A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind“, I couldn’t stop laughing. Welcome to the inside of my brain.

Welcome to your Buddha Buddy five-minute guided meditation. During this practice, we will focus on your body and breathing awareness, in an attempt to soothe the mind. Find a comfortable seated position somewhere in nature. Now close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture your front door. Did you lock it when you left? Even if you did . . . well, we can’t guarantee anything.

As you let your breathing settle into a steady pattern—eyes closed, arms at rest, palms face up—ask yourself, is that a pain in your forearm? You haven’t even done anything yet today. How can your forearm hurt, when there are hardly any muscles in there? Resist the urge to poke it. If you poke it, the pain won’t go away, and it might even get a little worse. Yes, it does feel worse. Do blood clots cause pain?

Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let it out—slowly, very slowly—through your mouth. Draw another breath in, and feel your belly fill with air. Your pants are awfully tight. You haven’t been to the gym in several days. Has it been two weeks already? It seems like you’ve been extra bloated after your last three Seamless orders from the Thai place downstairs. Food poisoning can cause bloat, can’t it? On your next inhale, fill your belly just a little bit less. Stop at, like, eighty per cent full. Maybe not just when you’re breathing, but when you’re eating, too. Just a thought. Now let it go.


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