We faced challenges in 2020 that pushed some people to their breaking point.
Work-life balance was disrupted and even non-existent for some. Families were kept apart and social life ceased to exist. We were forced into a world that very few knew how to thrive in, but we adapted and reinvented how we did things. We became accustomed to Zoom meetings, and working from home became the norm. Holidays and game nights with friends and family took place through a computer screen.
Many have since reclaimed the ability to sit down together and eat supper or enjoy a movie, but Jay Shetty reminds us that the pandemic is leaving lasting effects. The rate of anxiety has gone through the roof, and fear of the unknown has consumed the minds of millions as everyone battles through challenging times. As we begin to hopefully see a glimmer of light on the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, we’re still sorting out how to corral anxiety and fear and continue with a new normal. Jay Shetty sits down with supermodel, author, and mother, Gisele Bündchen, to unpack the techniques, strategies, and routines she uses to overcome anxiety. Bündchen, a long-time meditation practitioner, believes we can find the answers we seek when we quiet our minds. In this article, Bündchen shares with Shetty some of the key insights from her New York Times best-selling book, Lessons, My Path to a Meaningful Life.
We often take family for granted. Because of the pandemic, Bündchen could not see her family for almost two years, a time that was difficult for all of them. When they were reunited, it was beautiful. Bündchen admits to Jay Shetty that the separation really helped her realize the importance of family. “I think when you don't get to see your parents and the people you love the most for almost two years, you just realize what a gift every moment you get to spend together is,” Bündchen explains to Jay Shetty. “You just realize what a gift family is and how wonderful it is to feel the warmth of the hug and a kiss and to be able to be surrounded by love.”Bündchen believes it is essential for our mental health and well-being to live in a community where love is apparent. She regards deep conversations with her parents as a way to honor them, and loves it when they share their life stories with her.
Share Life Stories
“We are our ancestors,” Bündchen tells Jay Shetty. “The only reason why we are here is because of them. There are pieces of them in us.” Unfortunately, life stories are often left untold because older generations don’t feel their story is interesting or important. They believe their everyday life isn’t worth sharing. “As I've gotten older, I've realized hearing about your parents and how they grew up and what made them who they are is such an important activity and exercise in the development of the children,” Bündchen explains to Jay Shetty. “It's definitely been a wonderful experience for me.”
Give Children a Voice
Conversations with your parents make you realize the impact you have on your own children. Children look up to their parents and believe they know everything, but the truth is, you are all learning together and figuring out life as you go. “I go to my kids often and say I'm sorry,” Bündchen tells Jay Shetty. “Sometimes I lose my temper or I'm rushing about something or not listening with the presence that I want to at that moment. I ask them to express their feelings to me, tell me how they feel about things. If they can tell me, and we can have a conversation, then we can work through it.”
Bündchen loves that her kids can talk to her. Growing up, she never felt she could have conversations with her parents about how she was feeling. It was their way or no way. She didn’t feel like she had a voice, so making sure that her children have a voice is something Bündchen works hard to do. “I think it's really important for me to listen to them and listen to their feelings,” Bündchen shares with Jay Shetty. “Most importantly, because I think if we can teach them to open up and talk about their emotions and feelings, chances are they're gonna grow up to be adults who are going to be able to really connect to their feelings and understand that this beautiful rainbow of emotions is all part of life.”
For Bündchen, being present means being in the moment, taking in the world around her, and expressing gratitude for it all. Life is a gift. Bündchen grew up in a small village where she ran around barefooted and climbed trees to pick fruit. The joys of witnessing sunsets and sunrises filled her days, and the wind in her face was a constant reminder to be present in each moment. “Even when it's freezing and snowing outside, you can feel the sun in your face like a warm kiss,” Bündchen tells Jay Shetty. “It’s all these elements like the grass under your feet, and feeling the coolness of the earth. For me, everything about nature is a gift.”
The connection to the earth allows Bündchen to be more mindful of her everyday experiences, even in something as simple as having a meal. “Every moment I look at the food on my plate I'm like ‘Wow, look at the variety of fruits, flavors, and colors,’” Bündchen tells Shetty. “In a salad, you can have ten different colors of greens and oranges, carrots, and beets. It's abundant.”
“You can eat a plate of food, just swallowing it without appreciating it, but that's not going to bring joy,” Bündchen shares with Jay Shetty. “Or you can eat it with gratitude for every farmer who made it possible, for the sun and soil that nourished it, and for the bee who pollinated it. Suddenly you’re eating a plate of food, but it becomes magical.”When you can connect to moments and be present in those times, your gratitude will increase immensely. Vibrating in a frequency of love, gratitude, and connection will attract that same energy to your life. Perspective and the way we look at life is important. When we become brighter, everything around us becomes brighter. As we expand with gratitude, love, and joy in our family and community, we’re doing our part to transform the world’s frequency.
Like Jay Shetty, one of the ways Gisele Bündchen keeps her perspective in focus is through meditation. Bündchen had severe panic attacks and bouts of depression in her early twenties. She couldn’t understand why because her life on the outside was perfect. Bündchen visited every doctor to try and resolve her anxiety and depression, but it was her yoga teacher who introduced her to meditation. “Meditation is one of those tools that I'm very grateful I have in my toolbox,” Bündchen tells Jay Shetty. “We go through life and we face different challenges. We acquire different tools to deal with whatever situation we are going through at that moment. Meditation was one of the most precious tools I acquired throughout my journey.”
“If you want to achieve something, it takes focus, dedication, and commitment,” Bünchen says to Jay Shetty. “I committed myself to that because I didn't really have another option. I felt like either I was gonna die or I had to choose life. I chose to do something for myself every day, and every day I felt better and better. After that I decided that I cannot live without it.”
Building a meditation routine requires being honest with yourself about your schedule and what works best for your day. Try to do it consistently at the same time every day. Whether you use guided meditation or not, set aside the time, and start your routine. It is not about how long you meditate. It is consistency that matters. Motherhood and meditation go hand in hand for Bündchen. Being a mom means sharing time with tiny humans. Bündchen likens becoming a mom to a rebirth. Before kids, you have your own time to decide when to eat, sleep, and plan time with the people you love. When you have kids, your time becomes about them, and there is very little sleep. It is more important than ever to take care of yourself because you can not give from an empty vessel. For Bündchen, this means rising before dawn at 4:30 a.m. to meditate, do some yoga, and sit in silence to watch the sunrise. “I just take in that energy and I know it’s one more day I get to be here,” Bündchen explains to Jay Shetty. “Starting the day with that kind of intention and gratitude changes everything. You start the day with your glass full so you can face whatever the day has for you.”
Jay Shetty agrees that meditation is a beautiful way to begin your day and asks Bündchen for advice on introducing it to children. “I don't think it's something you force,” says Bündchen. For her, practicing yoga and meditation has been something she does with her kids around. It is part of their life. She allows them to sit with her on their own time. It is something they see and want to imitate.“Whenever they're ready, and they feel they want to do more, I'll be very happy to do it with them,” Bündchen tells Jay Shetty.Bündchen recently partnered with the app Insight Timer to create guided meditation sessions so that anyone who wants to can meditate with her. “I feel like meditation is such a powerful tool. It transformed my life more than anything else. And I wanted to share it with as many people as possible,” Bündchen explains. “I chose Insight Timers because it’s free, so everyone can access it.”
“The Insight Timer has different types of meditations I created,” says Bündchen to Jay Shetty. Bundchen created meditations on hope in times of uncertainty, reflections before bedtime, and a morning meditation to help you start the day with a sense of gratitude and presence.
Build a Routine
Building a routine and a schedule can help you stay focused when you’re overloaded with information and struggling to keep everything straight. A routine will allow you to have the time to be present in the moments of your life that matter. Being present affords gratitude to the things around you, and as you change your habits to live in positive vibrations, it rubs off on those around you, changing the world one person at a time.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Gisele Bündchen ON How to Overcome Anxiety” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
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