My "Piggy Bank" Method of Meditation


(This is the presentation I did last weekend at a Women's Expo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I LOVE teaching people about Meditation and how it can change your life!) 

The next 10 minutes could change your life! I know, you have probably heard people say that before when they are trying to sell something.  But I don’t have anything to sell. I do have something to share with you. And it did change my life. And it might do the same for you! 

I’m Shanna Warner. My husband Mark and I are the owners and publishers of Natural Awakenings magazine here in Oklahoma. It is a national magazine with local stories, and it’s all about holistic health and wellness. You can find it throughout the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas. It’s in print and available online, too.  (www.NAOklahoma.com) And all the content is free. 

Today though, I’m not here to talk about the magazine, I’m here to talk to you about STRESS. (And really about how to get rid of it!) Stress is a part of human life. Everyone on the planet experiences it. 

So, I am going to share with you 2 Quick, Easy and EFFECTIVE techniques that will help you manage and minimize stress in your life.  Both of these techniques come from my book:

Easy Stress Solutions: How To Meditate Like A Master, Banish Anxiety, and Kick Depression to the Curb.  

The book was written specifically to help trauma survivors, because boy, do WE have a lot of stress to deal with, right? Most people think stress happens only from Bad Things. But stress can happen even from good things, right? Any couple planning their wedding knows that feeling of tension and anxiety about inlaws and outlaws and who’s going to sit where.  New parents know how precious a new baby is, but dang, is it stressful! Right? Those feelings of fear and tension and anxiety, that lack of sleep. Those beautiful wonderful experiences of life can still bring stress. 

Stress is that feeling of tension, uneasiness, anxiety or fear that comes when your body or mind has to deal with something new or something different. So, let's talk about minimizing and getting RID of some of it! I have been using these 2 little meditation techniques for a long time, and they work. So, if they work for trauma survivors like me, they just might help you, too.  They are simple meditations that anyone, even children, can learn. 

Meditation is not a belief system, a philosophy or a religion. You do not have to change your beliefs to meditate; you don’t have to follow any philosophy or religion. All we are doing is reconnecting the mind and body with some deep breathing and focus. 

The world we live in is a go-go-go kind of place, where we are driven to succeed and get more stuff. We have mile-long to-do lists, and often it feels like you just can’t get it all done. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. That is a part of the disconnect of modern life. Meditation can help reconnect your mind, body and spirit; it helps put you back together. 

Science has studied the effectiveness of meditation, but even more importantly, YOU can actually experience it today. Right now. 

5X5X5

 The first meditation technique I'm going to teach you is called: The 5X5X5.  If you can count to five and you can breathe, then you can learn this easy stress solution.  It is a mindfulness meditation that focuses on your breathing. 

Here's how it works:
You will breathe in through your nose to the count of five,
Then you will hold your breath for the count of five,
Then you will breathe out through your mouth to the count of five. 

(That’s where it gets the name - 5X5X5.)  We're going to practice this right now. I recommend that you close your eyes, but you don’t have to. It will be easier to concentrate on your breath and learn if you do.  But you don’t have to. 


You ready? Okay. 
Breath in through the nose, 1,2,3,4,5.  
Hold it, 1,2,3,4,5.
Breathe out through the mouth 1,2,3,4,5. 


Let’s do it again! Ready?
Breath in through the nose, 1,2,3,4,5.  
Hold it, 1,2,3,4,5.
Breathe out through the mouth 1,2,3,4,5. 

 Okay, you can open your eyes. How did that feel? You just got more oxygen deep into your lungs and that’s a good thing. More oxygen in, more stress out. One of the things you might have noticed is that your shoulders feel more relaxed and some of that tension is gone. That always happens to me, too.  

You might not have even realized you were holding tension there. A lot of people do, in their neck and shoulders. That’s why a good massage helps so much. Some people hold tension in their lower back, or even their hands. Start being more aware about WHERE you hold tension and tightness in your body.  

One last thing about this breathing technique - if you find that your shoulders go up and down when you breathe, then that is shallow breathing. I want you to practice deep “belly breathing.” That means that you are breathing down deep into your lungs, down deep into your belly, getting more oxygen and releasing more stress. 

So let's try the 5x5x5 one more time. This time I want to put your hands on your belly and breathe down deep into your lungs. You will feel your hands move as your lower body expands with each deep breath, that is how you know you are getting deep belly breaths! And think about those shoulders relaxing and losing tension. 


One more time! Hands on your belly, eyes closed. 
You ready? Okay. 
Breath in through the nose, 1,2,3,4,5.  
Hold it, 1,2,3,4,5.
Breathe out through the mouth 1,2,3,4,5. 

Oh yeah, that feels good. I didn’t even realize how much tension I had in my shoulders. That felt so good. 

Be The Pebble

Okay, now, we’re going to practice a meditation that I call:  “Be The Pebble.” This time instead of focusing on the breath, we are going to use the imagination. This one is so easy, you don’t even have to count, all you have to do is listen to my voice, and BREATHE! 

Let’s start by creating a little scene. I want to paint a picture for you. And I want you to really see it in your mind. This will really work better if you close your eyes. Go ahead, close your eyes. I want you to really see this in your mind.  

Okay, imagine it’s a warm spring day, the sun is shining. You are standing in a little green valley. There are rolling hills on your left side. There are rolling hills on the right side. And right down the middle of the valley is a little stream. You can hear the clear water bubbling along, rolling down from the hills on its journey to the ocean.  In your mind, you walk over to look at this little stream. There are little pebbles in the bottom, and there is one that is especially beautiful. You will BE that PEBBLE! 

As you breathe in, I want you to feel the sunshine beaming down on you from above, and as you breathe out, I want you to feel the water flowing past. And that is all. A pebble does not worry. A pebble doesn’t think any thoughts at all. A pebble just is. It just sits there as the water flows by. 


Breathe in. You are the pebble.
Breathe out. The water flows by. 

Breathe in. The sun shines.
Breathe out. The water flows by. 

Breathe in. You are the pebble.
Breathe out. The water flows by.  


Okay, all you beautiful pebbles. You can open your eyes. Now that was easy, wasn’t it? This little visualization technique, just like the 5x5x5 is simple, but it is POWERFUL. You can feel the tension leaving your body. You can feel your shoulders soften, your breathing relax and your world just gets better. And that is the whole point!

Both of these simple techniques can be done almost anywhere, waiting on your oil change or your grocery pickup. They can be done almost anytime in your day.  And you can do them for as long as you need. You can count to 5 and breathe for 30 minutes. You can “Be The Pebble” for an hour if you need to. Whatever it takes you to feel better is what it takes.  

These two easy stress solutions are not just for when you feel stressed out. Yes, they will definitely help you when you feel stressed out and that’s great. 

Piggy Bank Meditation

I want you to think of these 2 meditations like a piggy bank. This is the piggy bank method of stress reduction. You put that little coin in every day, "ka-ching," and keep saving up for a rainy day when you really need it, right? 

So when you practice these 2 meditations every day, you are putting money in the piggy bank, you are building up your skills for that really stressful time that will come along. Because it will, and you will be more prepared to handle it if you have developed these skills. Start incorporating one of these two techniques - or both of them - into your daily routine. I DO!! Because stress is going to happen to all of us. It happens in good times and in bad times. Just practice, fill up that piggy bank and be prepared!

Now You Have 2 New Skills

Now you have two different skills that can help you in the battle to reduce stress. Both are easy and quick and effective. As you start practicing these techniques, something really good will happen very quickly! Within a week or so, if you add these to your daily routine, you will move from a mindful meditation to more of a transcendental meditation. 

Basically, you won’t have to think about it. You will automatically be able to breathe deeply into your belly, relax those shoulders, and breathe out the tension. You will automatically be able to visit that little meadow in an instant, and be the pebble as the water washes all the tension away. It will become natural and easy, and the stress will melt away. 

I use these tools everyday, and I hope that you will, too.  You will find that life, even with the stressful times, is easier to manage than it was before! 

Don’t forget to come visit me and Mark at the Natural Awakenings booth. You can pick up a free copy of the magazine, it’s always free. You can read all the content online, too, at www.NAOklahoma.com.  We are focused on helping you on your holistic health and wellness journey! 

I'm Shanna Warner, owner and publisher of Natural Awakenings Magazine, here in Oklahoma.  Thank you for spending some time with me today. I hope that something here will help you change your life for the better. I’m wishing you good health for your mind, body and spirit.