Wellness Wednesday: Let's Meditate
So much is going on these days. There’s so much noise in the air, and all around us, don’t you think? Sometimes, for me, the noise gets to be too much. I feel like everything around me is popping and crackling and I just need to take some time to breathe. I need to clear my mind, shut out the noise, and take a moment. I take some time to meditate.
What is meditation? According to Wikipedia: “Meditation is a “practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.” Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being. “(Wikipedia)
I started seriously meditating only a few short months ago. As I’ve written about before, I have some anxiety issues and I’ve often talked about not being able to shut my mind down. Well, one day, I’d had enough of the sounds and the business in my brain and went directly to my phone, and downloaded the Headspace app. I know I’m not the only person to know what this app is, but let me tell you, it’s changed my life! I started out with the free daily meditation and I noticed that it, immediately, started putting me at ease. Finally, I could slow down my thoughts, and clear some of the noise out. Also, the extremely mellow voice leading me through the practice was super helpful, and British. And, now, the second I hear his voice, my whole body begins to release the stressors of the day.
Meditating isn’t just about clearing your mind though. It’s hard work, and it doesn’t come easily. At least it doesn’t come easily to me. I still struggle, but I have managed to make it an almost daily practice. What I love about the Headspace app, and mediation in general, is that I can do something as simple as a one-minute focus exercise, or I can take 10 to 15 minutes to really sit with myself and try to clear my mind and get some real focus going. But, like I said, it doesn’t always work. I can’t always clear my head. The great thing about mediation is letting the thoughts come and go. Some days, I can really succeed at clearing my mind, and other days, I still think about all the things I’ve got to do during the day, or what I want to eat for lunch. But, I’ve found that after I’ve meditated, my whole day is much more focused, and I’m extremely productive both at work and at home. So, even if it was not the most productive of mind-clearing sessions, I’ve done some good for myself anyway.
I don’t like sitting still. I’ve always got to be doing something. In fact, most of the time, I’ve got some sort of noise or can be doing two things at once because I am constantly moving. But, lately, I’ve learned to enjoy the stillness and enjoy the quiet. Sitting with myself during meditation has made me realize it’s okay to stop and be quiet for a few minutes. It’s okay to take this time for myself, and I don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty about it. I often do my meditations in the morning before I leave for work, and sometimes, I really have to squeeze it in. But, I enjoy the fact that I have a few minutes to really set my intentions for the day and to really embrace what I want to do. Sometimes I have time for 10 minutes of quiet meditation, but other times, I only have time for 1-3 minutes of reflection, and that’s okay. If I can take a minute or two to simply breathe I’m happy.
Meditation has really helped me. It’s improved my patience, my focus, and it’s allowed me to trust myself more. I trust that sometimes, it’s okay to have a lot going on in my head. And, I also trust when my brain needs some serious downtime. It’s also allowed me to slow down and be in the moment. I often think ahead. Like, way, way ahead. To the point of stressing myself out over a day that won’t happen for a month! So, I’ve started to figure out ways to ground myself back into my present and to really take a second to remind myself to get through the moment I’m in before even thinking about the next one. I cannot control what is going to happen later today, tomorrow or next week. But, I can control the moment I’m in by remembering to breathe and letting the thoughts come and go. The daily stress isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, and my sleep has seemingly improved as well.
If you’re curious, I strongly suggest giving yourself a week of meditation. Whether you use the Headspace app, or just sitting quietly with yourself, see what happens. There’s a bunch of different apps out there to help you, so why don’t you find one that works for you, and give it a whirl? You deserve a break, and you deserve to take that time for yourself, so why not?
Remember, take care of yourself, and breathe. The stress of the world won’t go away, but if you’re breathing and present, you can move forward with a bit more ease. Let us know how you’re doing with your practice by dropping us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropping us a comment below! Take care of yourself, friend.