Planning a huge party for 200 of your closet family members and friends while balancing your work and personal life can lead to a major case of the nerves. While you may have started to search for relaxation techniques to help settle down your racing mind, one can only count their breaths for so long before thoughts of bustles and centerpieces start to creep back in. That's why we asked Elaine Su-Hui, a meditation expert from New York City-based Inner Fields, to talk us through her favorite relaxation technique, a practice you can do anywhere. Isn't that exactly what a busy bride-to-be needs?
Before Su-Hui began practicing meditation, she remembers being easily overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities and commitments she had on her plate. Sound familiar? Between meetings with your wedding planner, phone calls with your photographer, and multiple site visits at the venue, this is something most brides can relate to. "I was easily overwhelmed by my emotions and what I felt were the demands and needs of those around me," she adds. "All of this compounded into an unnecessary level of constant stress and frantic-ness."
While regular meditation now helps Su-Hui find her calm, she admits she didn't always think it would work for her. "At first, I couldn't think of anything worse than sitting still with my eyes closed," Su-Hui says. "The strangest thing about meditation is that the busier I am, the more space it actually creates in my day because my mind isn't constantly being caught up in the flurry of 'the future' and instead is more frequently grounded in the present. This means the day can still be extremely busy but I am not frantically chasing after it. I can face each thing with a sense of steadiness and ease."
So, what should a busy bride-to-be do when she starts to feel anxious? Simply come back to your body, Su-Hui suggests. "Rather than getting wrapped up in the narrative of why I'm anxious, fearful, or stressed, I simply ask myself, 'What does this experience feel like in my body? Am I tense, and if so, where? In my belly? Chest? Hands? What other sensations do I feel? Hot? Cold? Numb? What is my heart rate doing? My breath?' The practice is to stay with the physical/bodily sensations of that emotional experience rather than letting your mind spiral you out into further anxiety and unnecessary stress," she says.
While you process what you're feeling, place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. "There's something very comforting and soothing about having your hand on your heart and just feeling your belly rise and fall with each breath will also begin to calm you. You can do this lying down or standing up," she adds, meaning it's possible to meditate just about anywhere—even right before your walk down the aisle. "Wherever you are, " Su-Hui reiterates.