Even though meditation has proven benefits, I was still doubtful that it could actually be useful for me. Here’s why I changed my mind after finally giving it a chance.
My therapist suggested I try it to alleviate my anxiety. I’ve always been an anxious person but my anxiety escalated after I had my first child. I decided to start seeing a therapist to get it under control. She helped me learn to rationalize my feelings and to find ways of dealing with the stress in my life that triggers my anxiety. Meditation is one of the methods she suggested.
I was very skeptical at first. I’ve always thought meditation was for hippies who were trying to find some sort of enlightenment or something, or that people did it because they were bored. I never really knew what the actual purpose of meditation was. Still, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try so at least I could say I gave it a shot.
It was much simpler than I thought to begin. To get started, I simply downloaded an app on my phone. It guided me in how to meditate in only 10 minutes a day, which isn’t much time at all. Also, you can do it any time of day that’s convenient for you. Some people do it in the morning to set the tone for their day. Others might choose to do it during lunchtime, for example, in order to break up the day and use it as a sort of reset button.
There are a couple of ways to meditate—one is to practice concentration meditation. While meditating, you focus on something specific, like repeating the same mantra or focusing on your breathing. Every time your mind drifts, you gently bring your thoughts back to the mantra or your breaths. This improves your concentration over time and helps train your mind to let go of anxious thoughts instead of hold onto them.
Another method is called mindfulness meditation. This practice involves training your brain to bring your attention gently back to the present whenever your thoughts drift off. It teaches your mind to accept your thoughts and then to let them go rather than freak out about them or overanalyze them. This leads to a better awareness of your thought patterns throughout the day (not just while meditating) and helps you focus more on being in the moment, which helps relieve stress and anxiety.
There are other meditation techniques too. For example, meditation breathing exercises can also be used to improve anxiety. This is when you take controlled breaths while concentrating on releasing stressful thoughts. Or you can focus on counting your breaths, which takes your mind off of whatever is bothering you. Breathing exercises sounded silly to me but they’re surprisingly helpful if you give them a chance.
Using these approaches actually helped me to combat my anxiety. I was surprised that after meditating daily for a few weeks, I started to feel slightly calmer overall. I was shocked that it worked for me and I’m glad I gave it a try. I still use other methods of controlling my anxiety as well like seeing my therapist and taking anxiety medication, but meditation is a great natural way of decreasing my anxiety and is an option for those who are against using medication.
I don’t do it every day now, but the benefits are lasting. I only do actual meditation once in a while now. However, the techniques I’ve learned have become routine, like focusing on being more present in what I’m doing at the moment and taking things one day at a time when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m now better able to let my anxious thoughts go instead of focusing on them so much. This has definitely lowered my stress level.
It’s more useful than I thought possible. It’s not a magical cure but it’s way more helpful than I thought it’d be at first. It’s simple to do and doesn’t take much time. Plus, you don’t even have to be actively meditating for the things it teaches you to be useful, which was the most surprising aspect to me. I shouldn’t have judged it until I tried it.
I’d definitely recommend others try it. There are lots of apps as well as many online resources that can help a beginner get started. I totally thought it’d be a waste of my time, but the skills that I learned are very valuable. It helped me train my mind to cope in better ways during my everyday life. And if it helped me, it could help you too. It really can’t hurt.