I have always thought of myself as someone who enjoys mindfulness, and I have done yoga for a long time. Yet it took me several years before I finally tried meditation, and the excuses I made to not start before turned out to be all the reasons I should have started even sooner.
During my high school years, I was always busy and stressing about my grades, studying for tests, and teen-worrying in general. Looking back now, I realize that mentally, I was not in a good place most of the time. This stressful lifestyle then continued when I entered university. It was a bad circle because I would study intensely for long periods of time, and when I finally allowed myself a break, I would waste it scrolling through my social media feeds, watching Netflix, or just mindlessly browsing the internet. I would do things that didn’t clear my head, but only made things more cluttered and made me more distracted. I used to sporadically consider picking up meditation, but never got around to it because it felt like it would be a waste of time–just sitting there thinking about nothing when I could do something productive instead. At least with yoga, I got some exercise while doing it. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A little over a year ago, I finally decided to try out meditation. I downloaded an app and began listening to guided meditations, and I felt the change almost immediately. After listening to my first guided meditation, I felt so relaxed, and this feeling of having a clear mind was completely alien to me. I loved this new feeling, and from then on, I was hooked on the practice. As I have continued trying out new meditations, and learning more techniques, I have gained a lot more self-insight, and I am in a much better place now than I was a year ago. These are three ways in which meditation has helped me improve my life quality:
- I have better focus. I always have a lot of things going on inside my head, with thoughts and ideas constantly buzzing around, and I also tend to feel the need to constantly be doing several things at once. When I started meditating, I found that clearing my mind helped me a lot with focusing my thoughts. I have become much better at doing one thing at a time, which has both has made me more productive, and I have become better at finishing projects I start, rather than abandoning them once a new idea pops into my head. We live in a society where we feel like we are expected to multitask every waking hour of our lives, but that is really a completely unsustainable lifestyle. Meditation helped me realize that it is much better to take things one step at a time, while being mindful of what you’re currently doing rather than rushing through. This saves me so much time and energy, and I get a lot more done in a shorter time these days.
- I fall asleep faster. As with most other writers and creative people, I get my best ideas just before going to sleep. I often find myself lying in bed, sometimes for hours on end, just thinking about an idea, molding it in my head, sometimes stressing about having to realize said idea as soon as possible. And sometimes, I lay awake just because of general anxieties and overthinking, or just because of the stress of having to fall asleep as soon as possible because I have to get up early the morning. Listening to a meditation track just before I’m going to sleep makes me fall asleep faster and easier. I have a few tracks that I listen to in the evening, and after having done this several times, my brain has learned to associate those meditations with sleeping. Clearing my head before falling asleep also improves my sleep quality, and I sleep a lot less anxiously these days.
- My mental wellness is better. I have struggled with mental issues since a while back, and I have found that meditation is a great tool for helping me muster through the tougher periods. While meditation is definitely not a home remedy for mental disorders that require professional help and proper medication, it can be an aid in recovery and coping. Meditation helps me calm down and collect myself; when I’m feeling especially stressed out and I’m at a really low point, meditation helps me take a step back and get in tune with what I’m feeling and why. When I’m in a rough spot, I am often tempted to distract myself with things that just make my condition worse. If I instead force myself to meditate and confront my own mind, I gain a lot more self-control and become better at not giving into temptations. Meditating through the hardships makes me more self-aware, and since I started meditating, I have become a lot better at handling myself and my emotions.
Even though I don’t have time to meditate every single day, I still try to do it as regularly as possible, especially when I feel like I don’t have the time. Just taking a few minutes to breathe can really help with focus, and ease the feeling of the world coming crushing down on your shoulders. I am hoping to explore more of this wonderful practice in the future, and journey even deeper into myself, and I hope others will also feel inspired to give meditation a try.
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