Meditation Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere



We are all living during some incredibly stressful times right now. But even outside of these particularly trying times, life is full of potential stressors. There are many things in life that can act as triggers for stress - relationships, jobs, health, social events, and more.


One of the best things you can do to help you manage stress during this time is to practice meditation.

Sometimes when we think of meditation we think of sitting cross-legged saying “ommmm” for hours until you successfully purge your brain of all thoughts. While that is certainly one way to meditate, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time, and it’s not the only way!


Here are a few easy meditation techniques that you can practice anytime and anywhere. I’d encourage you to try to incorporate at least one of these practices into your everyday life this week and take note of how it helps reduce anxiety, stress, and tension in your body.


  1. Count Your Breaths - As you inhale count silently to 4, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds again. Repeat 4 times.
  2. 60-Second Mindfulness Scan - Bring your attention to different parts of your body, starting with the top of your head and moving down to your toes. As your mind rests on each body part consciously relax those muscles before moving on.
  3. Practice Belly Breathing - Place one hand on your stomach and feel it expand as you take a deep breath in, you can pretend you’re blowing up a balloon in your belly. Hold for a moment then slowly exhale. Repeat for one minute.
  4. Perform Tasks with Purpose - Take the opportunity to turn even the most mundane task into a meditation exercise. Doing the dishes? Pay attention to the feeling of the water on your hands, the smell of the soap, and the sound of the faucet. By focusing on your senses you’ll be able to stay present and practice mindfulness. 


Making meditation a regular part of your daily schedule can reduce your stress levels greatly and make a huge difference in your overall mood. However, there are some seasons in our lives that are particularly stressful and need more than meditation alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress and need someone to talk to you can either email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323. I would love to help put together a plan with you to get you through this stressful time peacefully.

7 Writing Prompts to Help You Process this Week





Today is anything but “normal”. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic, economic unrest continues, and we are in the midst of the largest series of civil rights protests in history. A LOT is happening and a LOT is changing. Change, even when it is for the better, is almost always accompanied by confusion, anxiety, and discomfort. I have heard from quite a few people that this week has been particularly difficult to navigate and has resulted in emotional and mental “flooding” leaving them feeling disoriented and dysregulated.


One practical way to help you dissect everything you may be thinking and feeling at this time is writing. I’ve talked before about the importance of journaling (check out my blog post about the benefits of writing your feelings down HERE) and I think it’s time for another reminder.


I have put together a series of writing prompts intended to help you process the variety of emotions and thoughts you may be experiencing at this time.

You may want to use these prompts as a way to communicate your thoughts and opinions about this week’s events to family and friends publicly. Or, you may simply need to use them as a personal way to sort through all of the “messy” feelings you have in a safe and non-judgemental private environment.


However you choose to use them - publicly or privately - I would encourage you to take some time to sit quietly and really digest each prompt in order to allow your psyche to fully be heard.

Writing Prompts

  1. Describe what is happening around you, be as specific as possible.
  2. One word to describe how I feel is ______, and where I feel that in my body is ________.
  3. One thing that is true for me today is _________.
  4. One thing that has to change for me is _________.
  5. One step I can take to improve my environment is _________.
  6. One commitment I make to myself today is ____________.
  7. The piece of positive encouragement that I will hold onto for today is ________.


If you find yourself having a difficult time finding your own answers to these prompts or if you simply need someone to listen as you process this week’s events, I would love to help. You can email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323 to set up a time to connect.

How to Deal with Anxiety About Reopening the Economy




Here we are, almost into June and the world is just now slowly reopening. Depending on where you live, you may just have started tip-toeing out of the house or you might already be a few phases into local reopening plans.


No matter where you are in the process, you’re most likely dealing with at least a little bit of anxiety and uncertainty. We’ve been inundated with information for months and many have spent weeks, if not months, inside their home. Getting back out into the real world will be a difficult transition especially with uncertainty swirling about.


If you’re feeling some major anxiety as you prepare to return to “normalcy”, just know you’re not alone.

A poll of more than 3,100 individuals in the past week provided some very interesting stats:
  • 26% of individuals said they felt a sense of trauma from COVID-19
  • 25% were afraid to go to the store 
  • 15% were afraid to leave their house
  • 77%, however, had not sought counseling

Here are a few ways to begin to prep yourself to get back out into the world and reduce your anxiety along the way.

Identify the Root of Your Anxiety

Recognizing anxiety is the first step, diving deeper to understand the root of that anxiety is the next step. Yes, you may simply be afraid of re-entering society in general, but try to hone in on what exactly your mind is telling you, then you’ll be able to create some positive mantras that combat those thoughts to repeat to yourself throughout the day.

Reconnect At Your Own Pace

As your specific city begins to move through each of their phases of reopening you’ll be able to connect with more individuals in person, safely. But, what do you do if you’re too nervous to connect in person? That’s ok! Be honest with friends and family about your apprehension to connect in person and suggest ways to continue to stay connected virtually. Individuals who really love you will respect your boundaries and support your journey with encouragement.

Ask for Help

I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’ll say it a million more times - prioritize therapy!! Mental health is even more important than ever as we all continue navigating each changing day. Talking with a trained professional can help you find the root of your feelings and learn strategies to help you navigate. Find a therapist in your area that you can connect with via teletherapy or over the phone so that you can continue your therapy in person once you’re ready.


We are all going through a very tough time and need to focus on showing extra grace to ourselves and others around us. If you’re feeling anxious about the days ahead and don’t know how you’ll ever be able to get back out into the world, please email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323. I would love to help you put together a game plan to overcome your anxiety - at your own pace. Let’s work together to make sure fear and anxiety don’t become pandemics in and of themselves.





How to Stay Productive in Quarantine





Are you having a hard time gathering up the energy to do even the most basic things in the morning? Does the task of simply replying to an email feel equal to climbing Mt. Everest? Have you lost all drive to build your career or even pursue any of your dreams at all?

Come to find out, there’s a reason for that...

With so many things changing so rapidly, your brain actually knows that being short-sighted is a safer way to cope right now. That means your brain is actually “protecting you” from having future-based goals or dreams.

So, the decrease in motivation and productivity you’re experiencing during this time is actually a deeply rooted defense mechanism. Our brains are phenomenal and just trying to keep us safe - thanks, brain!


Now that we know the “why” behind it, let’s figure out how to counteract it! Here are a few things to try in order to stay productive during quarantine even when you’re brain is telling you to shut down completely. 
  1. Create a Routine - By getting in the groove of a daily routine you’re actually saving your brain from decision-making fatigue. By “automating” your daily schedule you can give your brain some much needed rest and save its energy for more important tasks, increasing your overall productivity without putting a strain on your brain.
  2. Focus on Self Care - Come to find out, hard work and grit aren't the only ingredients in the recipe for success. Self-care is an essential part of any productive day. But, that doesn't just mean exercise and eating healthy - take time to check in with yourself and focus on protecting your mental health too.
  3. Start Small - We all need a win right now, even if it's a little one. Set a few small goals for yourself throughout the day and celebrate each and every accomplishment. It can be as little as "write 2 emails", "switch the laundry", or “eat breakfast”. By celebrating every success you’ll start training your brain that not everything is a loss and it is, in fact, safe to plan for the future a bit.
  4. Chill Out! - Don't put too much pressure on yourself!! The fastest way to lose motivation is to feel like a failure. Give yourself space to "be lazy". A few days (or weeks) of unproductiveness isn't the end of the world. We'll get through this and you'll find your mojo again on the other side, I promise!


This quarantine has affected us all differently and for some of us, the decrease in productivity and motivation has been the hardest part. These tips are a great jumping-off point but you may need extra support to get back on track. If you’re struggling with getting out of bed and staying motivated throughout the day please email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323, I would love to help you find even more practical tips to get through this difficult time.


What’s Happening to You Physiologically During Quarantine






I know quite a few introverts who are having existential crises during quarantine because they’re craving social interaction like they never have before. It’s not that they’ve suddenly become extroverted, it’s simply the fact that we are all wired for a minimum amount of human connection and right now no one is getting that required amount.


Humans don’t just like social interaction, we need it. And, when we don’t get it there are very real physiological effects.

WHAT’S HAPPENING PHYSIOLOGICALLY


You’re Experiencing a Traumatic Event - We are all experiencing a joint traumatic event together without the ability to truly grieve or cope together due to necessary isolation. Your body is experiencing the same physical effects that accompany all forms of trauma - unbalanced chemicals in the brain, heightened cortisol levels for an extended period of time, and your “fight or flight” section of your brain is online 24/7. Studies on previous pandemics found that up to 30% of quarantined individuals suffered from PTSD after the quarantine orders were over.

WHAT TO DO: Seek professional help through tele-therapy. Reach out to your therapist (or give me a call) to schedule a time to talk weekly and navigate this traumatic time together. 



Lack of Movement Can Cause Muscles Atrophy - Studies have shown that just two weeks of inactivity can begin to negate gains to your heart and muscle mass. Even if you weren’t hitting the gym every day before quarantine, you still probably had a much higher level of physical activity than you do now. Muscle atrophy is the process by which muscles waste away due to lack of physical activity and we are all, most likely, experiencing this to some degree during quarantine.


WHAT TO DO: Keep moving! Set aside at least 30 minutes each day to get your heart rate up and move your body. This could look like a walk outside with your dog, a guided workout video, or a local hike. 

Note: There is NOTHING wrong with gaining weight during quarantine. Your body will likely go through many different changes during this time and adding a few extra pounds does NOT need to be on your list of worries. Be kind to your body and to yourself.

Your Soul is Starving - This one may sound dramatic but it is actually true! Humans are made for connection, our physical well being depends on it. Professor of psychology and neuroscience, Julian Holt-Lunstad, says “If we think about loneliness as this adaptive response, kind of like hunger or thirst, it’s this unpleasant state that motivates us to seek out social connections just like hunger motivates us to seek out food”. In other words, your soul is hungry for connection and the pain, loneliness, and general discomfort we are all feeling right is just our body’s way of telling us what we need.


WHAT TO DO: Keep reaching out to others. It may be a little while until we can all be together in person again, but don’t let physical distance stop you from connecting with friends. Call your loved ones on the phone or set up a daily facetime with family to re-connect. 



We are all going through this tragic time together and we will all make it through this together. If there is anything at all that I can do to help you during this time please out via email at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323.

Fear is Contagious - How to Stay Calm During This Chaotic Time





We are in the midst of a very real public health emergency and to say “there’s nothing to worry about” would be irresponsible. As each country continues to take steps to prevent this virus from spreading further, we must also take steps to prevent fear and panic from spreading even more rapidly. From fights breaking out over toilet paper to the very real fear of losing your job, anxiety seems to be around every corner.


In order to get through this season together we all need to make sure we are taking practical steps to keep ourselves healthy and safe physically and practical steps to help keep ourselves calm and safe emotionally/mentally.

Practical Steps to Stay Physically Healthy:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Avoid large crowds when possible
  3. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant
  4. Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes
  6. Stay home if you feel sick or display any flu-like symptoms
  7. Get accurate updates and information from accredited sources like WHO and the CDC


“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where the power is.” - Anonymous



Practical Steps to Stay Mentally/Emotionally Healthy:

  1. Phone a friend and talk about how you’re feeling
  2. Practice deep breathing and meditation
  3. Go for a walk in nature
  4. Snuggle a pet
  5. Engage all your senses with mindful eating
  6. Listen to calming music
  7. Do something with your hands (arts/crafts)
  8. Journal about your feelings
  9. Drink cold water
  10. Limit your amount of time on social media or watching the news
  11. Cuddle a weighted blanket
  12. Get accurate updates and information from accredited sources like WHO and the CDC


As we continue in this season of uncertainty, it is crucial to keep mental health as a top priority. Isolation (in quarantine cases) can be very difficult, especially for individuals who already deal with anxiety or mental health issues. If you are feeling severe anxiety or panic about what is happening in the world right now but are unable to get out of the house to see a mental health professional, I would love to set up a time to talk over the phone. You can email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323.


How to Cope with Panic Attacks


Panic attacks are, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. Many people experience a panic attack at some point in their life. What is important is to recognize what’s happening and how to cope in order to get through it safely.

The best way to cope with a panic attack is to train yourself to respond in a calm and accepting way. An easy way to remember the 5 steps to coping with a panic attack is by telling yourself to be AWARE.

A - Acknowledge

Verbally acknowledge, without judgement, the fact that you are starting to panic. When you acknowledge what it is, a panic attack, you are also able to acknowledge that while you feel like you’re in danger, the reality is that you are not. Accept the knowledge that you will be feeling uncomfortable for a little bit without trying to force your way out of the situation. 

W - Wait

It’s natural to want to jump into action the moment you feel a panic attack begin - it is part of your fight-or-flight instinct. However, one of the hallmarks of a panic attack is that it robs you of your ability to think straight. By taking a moment to breathe and focus your mind on what is happening, you will then be able to decide what the best next step is.

A - Actions

Your job during a panic attack is NOT to make the attack end. The panic attack will end no matter what you do, that is just part of the makeup of a panic attack - it is temporary. Your job during a panic attack is to see if you can do anything to make yourself a bit more comfortable while you wait for it to end. There are many techniques you can try such as belly breathing, talking to yourself, or meditation.

R - Repeat

You may make it through the first three steps feeling better and start to see the light at the end of the tunnel….then it all goes black again. Ebbs and flows during a panic attack are completely normal. You may start feeling like it’s almost over, then all of the original feelings come back up. Don’t worry - just take it from the top again!

E - End

This is the only step that requires absolutely nothing of you. All panic attacks end. Just like the beginning of an attack is something you can’t control, then ending isn’t something you can control either. Remember, your job isn’t to make your attack end, that will happen on its own. You just need to focus on making yourself as comfortable and safe as possible as you wait for that end to come.


If you or a loved one struggle with anxiety or panic attacks and need someone to help guide you through the process above, I would love to connect with you. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone and life is also not meant to be lived in a constant state of fear or panic. Email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614 - 0323 to set up a time to connect.