Twenty five years ago, if you asked me what I would be doing today, I probably would have said, “Wall Street executive, real estate professional, or retired and working on my golf game”.
I never would have thought that I would be a Mindfulness Meditation Instructor. But that is what I am doing now, and I really enjoy it.
It all started in April, 2003. The internet bubble popped and took the economy with it. I lost my job as a stock trader and my wife was pregnant with our first child.
With very few contacts and the job market shrinking, I felt completely helpless.
I started to obsess about the future. “How am I going to get another job? How am I going to pay the mortgage? Will I be able to support my family? If I can’t get another job, where will we live? Are we going to have to live on the street? Where will we get food?”
I was also pissed off about the past. “How come I got laid off? Why didn’t that other asshole get canned? What a jerk my boss was.”
These thoughts wouldn’t stop. They just kept coming, one after the other. My mind would race from one worrisome thought to the next. I would lie in bed at night and stare at the ceiling unable to fall asleep.
I started to drink a lot. This was my way of “checking out”. At the time it seemed like the only way I could calm my mind.
Then one day, while sitting at my desk, my heart began to race uncontrollably. I started to feel numb on my left side. I began to sweat profusely. I didn’t know what was going on. “I think I am having a heart attack.”
As it turns out, I didn’t have a heart attack. I had suffered a severe anxiety attack. I questioned my ability to function with such acute anxiety. My confidence was shot, and I knew it showed in every conversation that I had.
I finally decided to take some action. I started going to therapy and taking prescription anxiety medication. This helped me sleep and many of my negative thoughts seemed a little less intense. However, I felt like this was just a small band-aid on a large gaping wound.
At about this time a relative suggested I try Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Meditation. I had no idea what this was. I heard the term meditation and the first thing that popped into my mind was a vision of a bald man, wearing robes, sitting on a mountain while chanting. Regardless of my preconceived notions, I was ready to try anything at this point.
I went in with an open mind, and practiced diligently everyday. I found the practice to be transformative. Within a relatively short period of time, I stopped going to therapy and taking medication.
I have been practicing Mindfulness Meditation for over ten years now.
I founded The Mindful Advantage to teach others how mindfulness can improve their lives. Mindfulness helps: lower stress, increase focus, boost productivity, aid decision making, and enhance creativity.
Originally published at www.themindfuladvantage.com on December 12, 2015.