December 31st, 2014
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Today is unbelievably my last post for 2014 and I find myself reviewing the year and wondering, “Did I do something different this year that personally broke new ground?  Something that was healthy and healing? ”

Yes I did!

This year I made a commitment to learn how to find quiet time time and meditate.

It was awkward at first and really very hard for me to settle myself, sit still and keep all my stray thoughts at bay while trying to focus on the absence of thought.  But I kept at it and I am making progress.  And that’s a positive thing right?

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I am a person who likes movement and I feel better if I am walking or exercising while trying to work out my problems rather than sitting in one place.  Sitting and thinking tends to make me feel stuck.  But I was up for trying to learn something new this year, something that made me break away from my usual routine and I also wanted to try meditation because I kept hearing from others how much it helped them change their mental outlook on life.

My current progress is slow but that’s okay because so far I feel I am learning a lot about calming my mind and ignoring the triggers that sometimes I let go off at will.  What would be an example of a trigger? I would say I have a bad habit of taking the bait that people leave for me and verbally responding in a quick and sometimes not very smart way if you know what I mean.  I felt the need to put the brakes on some of that because it’s short-sighted.

2014 was a particularly stressful year with a lot of tension coming from a lot of personal and professional places and I decided I wasn’t going to make it through the year unless I focused on finding some kind of change within myself.  I just could not wait for change to happen outside myself because it was very possible that some of those circumstances were not going to get better and I was right.  Some of them did get worse.

This is where resilience comes in.  Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from life’s adversity or life’s difficult experiences that come our way and this year I spent a lot of time reading about how to develop resilience from within.  One insight I found is that accepting change in life is one way to build resilience.


Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or a person’s health situation, is painful and takes time but it can be done.

I started with small, baby steps, doing first what is called a “one-breath” meditation according to Dr. Harold H. Bloomfield, a psychiatrist in private practice in California and the coauthor of The Power of 5. The beauty of “one-breath” meditation is that it is straightforward and can be practiced anywhere, anytime.  It’s a first step and it helped me learn to bring my energy and my thoughts into focus.  I would recommend it for you if you want to try it:

Sit in a comfortable chair.  Straighten your back, relax your shoulders and take a deep breath.  Let the air “open” your chest.  Imagine it filling every cell in your body.  Hold the breath for a moment then exhale, releasing ever bit of tension.  Repeat this exercise three or more times.  You can visualize a place that brings you peace if you wish, such as the forest or seashore, or say a positive phrase as you inhale and another positive phrase as you exhale.  For example, sometimes when I breathe in, I repeat: “Breathing in stress” and when I exhale I say: “Exhaling peace.  Exhaling calm.”

To all of my Resilient Readers, I embrace you and wish you the very best in the upcoming New Year!!!

I hope that 2015 brings you love, laughter, and great mental and physical health!!

You can do it!!  Happy New Year!!







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4 Responses to “1 Positive Takeaway From 2014”

  1. Debbie Smith

    Excellent piece. Meditation and yoga have been recommended to my sister, jean, as two ways to help relieve stress. I have been thinking about meditation, but haven’t gotten started yet. Maybe I could start with the one-breath meditation.

    Happy New Year!

    • Mary Kate Cranston

      Hi Debbie! The one-breath meditation is just one place to start. There are lots of resources out there on YouTube and some mediation phone apps that are free and great to explore. I’m so glad you liked the post!! Best wishes to you and your family for a very Happy New Year!!


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