How to Meditate to Cope with Anxiety

By Jay Ballew

I struggle with anxiety*.

*definition: characterized by feelings of worry, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities

It took me twenty-six years to fully understand what this means, and I’m still learning more and more each day. One of the habits that I’ve tried to create for myself to help with controlling my anxiety is meditation.

I didn’t really know much about meditation prior to beginning, but I certainly had some preconceived notions about what it meant. In my head, meditation was a path to some magical space with a clear head. This space would entirely calm and allow me to escape the unsettling feelings of anxiety that disrupt my life on a daily basis.

However, I was completely wrong about what meditation entails, but I thought that sharing what meditation means to me may help out someone else with similar problems or misconceptions. Meditation has become an important part of my life.

Here are some tips that will help you to reap the benefits of meditation.

1. Be consistent.

I try and meditate around the same time each morning. For me, it has become an activity that helps me get my day started. Meditation is as much about repetition and practice as any other hobby or activity that you want to master. The more that you meditate, the better equipped you are to extract value from it.This also allows you to see what are the most effective methods for you, and what you like and dislike.

2. Find a comfortable space.

This means being in a room that’s comfortable for me, and even being in a chair that I’m comfortable sitting in. We all have different places that make us feel comfortable, though.

3. Posture is key.

If you’re like me, then you tend to want to slouch down in chairs, but sitting up as straight as possible is very important.

Finally, don’t be deterred!

Meditation is hard! You are not going to master it overnight. Hell, I am certainly still a novice myself.

Go into every session hoping to get the most out of it that you possibly can. Some days your mind will wander more than others. All of this is perfectly fine. Understand that meditation is not a problem solver, but it can become an essential part of your own personal journey.

[Review] The Shack

The Shack is a riveting, fictional, Christian novel, about a father meeting the Holy Trinity in person after suffering a traumatic loss, and losing all faith.

I’ve got to say, after personally being forced to read this book after my own personal trauma, this book makes you question trauma, spirituality, and the perception that we as people have with interpretation of the Bible across different viewpoints. While this is theological fiction, it’s interesting to see how a lot of the experiences of the main character are true elaborations of every day experiences of every day people and every day interpretations of people who are not wholly religious in the sense of reading scripture, and studying verses, etc.

I first read this book my junior year almost a year after my mother passed so I really was NOT trying to get into the whole “loss” thing in my religion course. So when we read it and dissected it as a class I was just not present ever, if at all.

But as time progressed I was decided to read it again, and recently I gave it another read through, and with each read I uncover something new.

The Shack is from the point of view of Mack, a father, who is living in a horrible dark space after his daughter, Missy, is abducted by a notorious serial killer during a family vacation. Mack feels guilty about the abduction because it happened as he is saving his other two children from drowning in the lake. Though her body was never found, police found evidence in an abandoned shack that proved she was brutally murdered. As he is living in his “Great Sadness” that many would see as depression, he receives a note from God inviting him to return to this shack for time together, and the story begins. The Shack

While William Young covers a wide variety of theological topics relevant to the characters suffering, the most courageous question I feel the book is asking and answering is, “Where is God, in the midst of all your trouble and your trauma and sadness?”.

It’s a question a lot of us struggle with on the daily and though this is a work of fiction, this book really was comforting in allowing my imagination to explore that. If you’re looking for a great read and to really challenge the way you look at how God is there for you in grief, trauma, and hard times, this is DEFINITELY a great book to read.



How @Curlbox Founder @Myleik Teele is shaping millennial entrepreneurs with her #MyTaughtYou Mentoring Brand

Myleik Teele is a brand GENIUS. Avid Reader. CEO. Business Owner. Mentor in my head. Girl Boss! Bout her BUSINESS. Straight Shooter. Just LOVE HER!


At The Ladies of Business Conference, I had the pleasure of having a 1 x 1 with Myleik to ask her a few minor questions (nothing too pressing, because I sure could have talked to her all night).

Your My Taught You brand is very transparent- Mentoring to everyone, what made you choose this as your next venture after CurlBox?

Myleik: I probably was doing My Taught You before CurlBox, and I think CurlBox just got so big that it eclipsed what I was doing before, but I was always doing it. I grew up from a very private mother and I used to feel like– the pain is in the secrets. If people think they know things about you or they feel like they can say something to you—it kind of over powers you and I’m just like.. this is who I am, this is what I struggle with- I’m no different than anybody else. You can still succeed after failing. You can succeed and make mistakes, you know what I mean? I felt like as a young woman of color that it was something that was so necessary.

Why did you choose your demographic to be young women of color?

Myleik: Because I felt like growing up I didn’t have that. I grew up in Los Angeles and a lot of the women who helped me get ahead professionally were not black women. They were white women, Jewish women, like people out in Hollywood—those were the people who took a chance on me. So for me, I asked what would happen if we took a chance on each other? We are so afraid to, for a HOST of reasons but it’s kind of like—feeling like I’m so committed to helping young women of color, heal themselves, access themselves, take inventory- so that they can live a full life, because so many of us feel like we aren’t living a full life.

What was one of your biggest entrepreneurial mistakes thus far and how did you bounce back?

Myleik: At the very beginning of my career, I used to—Everything that everybody said hit me so hard, and I used to be so hard. I used to be the “Meek Mill” of this whole thing. Running on twitter and type typing and it’s like “oh my God,” and I was so young! And It’s like you don’t think it’s going to hurt until someone kicks you in the heart and you’re like fuck this—I’m ready to fight anybody. I learned that when people— what people say about you says more about them than it does about you. And once you know that people are speaking from their insecurities, their pain, their whatever you go—girl this ain’t even about me!

Isn’t she just marvelous? Even in a brief moment – she drops so many gems!

At the conference in her keynote address, Teele explained how she continues to trail blaze in her business, remaining current, innovative and fresh. She also shared key tips to successful networking, and poured words of encouragement into a room full of current and aspiring women entrepreneurs.

Be sure to check out her podcast, an check out some of the #CurlBox and #MyTaughtYou hashtags on Instagram and Twitter!



3 Ways to Maximize your 2016 Experience

I could give you an introductory paragraph, but I really don’t want to be about that in 2016, so let’s just get into it!

Stop Complaining about your job.

Now this may come as a surprise to a few, BUT, do you know.. NO ONE is putting a got damn gun to your head and forcing you to go to these “shitty” jobs that you sit and bitch about that you hate so much? AND contrary to popular belief, you can quit that bitch WHENEVER you feel like it. See, a lot of people say they are working to pay bills, etc. and I GET THAT, I really do, but what is your exit strategy? What is your plan to get out? Because if you are working to sustain, you need to be actively saving and busting your ass to leap out of this position that you hate so much, so that you can be doing something that is more worthy of your time and energy. No one was put on this earth to just pay bills and die. Many take for granted that there are people starving and homeless just wishing for the opportunity or a shot at a better life. Stop complaining so much and really put into focus and prospective the blessings that you have in life.

Stop Being Late,  Arrive Early!

There’s just a REALLY good feeling about being places early. Ask ANYONE, and they will tell you when it comes to events and work I’m usually early or the first to arrive. Constantly showing up late, or being known as the one who is always late or just barely making it is not a sign that you’re “booked” or busy, it’s a sign of arrogance and disrespect. It shows your lack of respect for your own time and the time of others.

Here’s a clip from Oprah, where Dr. Phil talks about the Ego behind chronic tardiness.

Do Better this year, and really challenge yourself to be early. It’s a gratifying feeling, so Try it for 5 days straight and comment here, or on my Facebook, Twitter or IG and tell me how it went and how you feel about it!


Start Journaling

There was truly a method behind that irritating journaling assignment your creative writing teacher assigned you back in high school. It’s a form of meditation! Journaling not only allows you to release and help sort out your thoughts from throughout each day, but it helps you de-stress and work through situations. Have you ever seen people online airing out their dirty laundry? I am willing to bet any amount of money that they don’t journal, because if they did, they would know– Online ain’t the place to put it for others to comment about. Keep your journal for your private self (unless you want to blog and have it out for others to judge which defeats your growth process) but journaling isn’t reserved just for pen and paper. There is no right or wrong or structure when it comes to journaling. Put on some headphones, get out some paper, or your iPad, or phone or whatever and let it vent. Whether it be sentences, words, drawings, lines– just let yourself express– even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Trust me. It goes a long way to clear out your head space. Try it for 5 days straight and comment here, or on my Facebook, Twitter, or IG and tell me how it went and how you feel about it!

What are you #reading in 2016? #ReadingListSweet16

Last year, I only read (cough, cough) thirty-one books. I know some of you are like WHAT?! that’s a ton, and some of you are like, THAT’S IT? But for me, I feel like I still didn’t read enough. This year I’m hoping to pace myself a bit better and indulge in a few self-help as well as journals, fiction, and non-fiction novels to really have a well rounded literary year! Here’s what I’m reading Q1 of 2016. Feel free to join me!


The Girl's Guide by Melissa Kirsch

I think the biggest thing in life I lacked was a practical compass in regards to all things financial and day to day advice. What better way to learn the things you haven’t been taught than to read about it?

write to the point salvator iacone

I think everyone can sharpen their professional skills in one way or another and I definitely am not above that line because my professional communication skills can definitely be sharper. Cheers to being better in 2016!

Me, Inc by Gene Simmons

I found this book through a recommendation through Myleik Teele’s book share, and the last book she recommended that I read had my eyes glued for 2 days straight! Being that it’s written by a visionary himself, I can’t see how any advice here can go wrong!

the shack

I’m going to revisit this one. I originally read this Sophomore year of college (thanks for reminding me Icaria with your recent reading of it) about just how much I loved this book. It’s a story of a man who meets God in person.

Leap by Tess Vigeland

When I first moved to Atlanta, this was exactly my life. A leap of faith with no plan B. I’ve been doing fairly well, and now I’m ready to really buckle down and hone in on my entrepreneurial spirit and crafts and get the most out of my experiences.

Minding Her Business Journal by Ivy Ejam

One thing I vowed to do better in 2016, is to just be better. A better me to myself and others. Hopefully journaling my way through the year will help!

What I Know For Sure by Oprah

You can seriously, never go wrong with Mama O.

the anti 9to5 guide

This is another recommendation from Myleik’s book share, the title alone is intriguing.

be you and live civil

Karen Civil is currently one of the most influential millennial women in the game right now and I think a lot can be learned from her!

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

She’s killing the prime-time television game, and she’s one of the most creative story tellers out right now. Bless me with your knowledge of care-free living, Shonda.!

5 #Major #Keys 🗝 To Achieving Maximum Inner Peace in 2016



Bless Up! Because they don’t want you to achieve maximum inner peace in 2016! They don’t want you to feel like every day is a walk in the clouds. They don’t want you to have a 24/7 positive mindset. Check out a few majorrrrrrr keys to achieve maximum inner peace in 2016! bless up

1. Learn to SAY NO, with no explanation.

If you don’t want to, you don’t want to, and that is your right. I’m aways flattered when someone is like, “Oh, no I can’t do ‘XYZ’ because I have to feed my grandma’s cat” — like girl, save the explanation. We’re adults– Stop doing shit you don’t want to do.

2. Stop Entertaining Bullshit!

If people are as petty as me they are entertained by others’ frustration. Don’t give them that power over you, boo. Stop falling victim to mind games and petty bullshit.

3. Lighten Up Your Load A Bit

Sure, we all have as many hours in a day as Beyonce but bish, do you have the COINS, to take off and nurse yourself back to health when you run yourself to the ground from dehydration and exhaustion?! It’s okay to not be everywhere, and do everything. Do what makes sense! Work smarter, not harder. 

4. See a Therapist, Bih.

People walk around here all day with an issue, a chip on their shoulder, a burden in their heart; just broken. Put yourself at the forefront. Invest in yourself. See a professional! We live in a day and age where seeing our peers be gunned down is viral content at out finger tips, that’s more than enough reason as to why it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself!

5. Stop Holding Grudges

The minute I stopped caring about the last petty bitch who offended me, my days seemed a lot less gloomier. I was less irritable and angry! It’s stressful carrying around OLD NEWS all the time! You don’t hoard old newspapers, do you? What about old bags full of trash? Ok then. Let that shit go!

Enter 2016 with a new mindset.



Cheers to you, Lo!


I’m so very proud of how far I’ve come and the woman I am becoming. If I had to sum up my feelings towards myself, it would be true love. I can’t imagine how at one point in life I was so unappreciative of myself, and my life.. but I thank God for not giving up on me, and making those experiences make me more wise and strong.

Twenty-five was almost my most thrilling, yet dramatic year. I gained a lot, I learned a lot, and I lost a lot. But most importantly, I grew.

So Cheers to you, Alicia Renee. Remain vivacious. Fierce. Curious. Free-spirited. Boss minded. Ambitious. Focused. A go-getter. Independent. Purpose-filled. Brag worthy. Inspirational. 

And if no one ever notices, or cares, or says it.. I’m proud of you, for every leap and jump you’ve made. For every sacrifice you’ve made and decision, good and bad.

Keep marching to the beat of your own drum.


Alicia Renee