How Meditating Everyday Changed My Life
I’ll admit it: I was doubtful. Meditation sounded a little too good to be true.
You hear about the meditation benefits. They sound a tad out there. And I come from a very scientific background, so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it. So yes, I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I’ve boosted meditation benefits before, but I never fully believed them until I started noticing them for myself.
And I’m not perfect. My longest daily meditation streak is about 20 days.
Routine isn’t something that comes easily to me. I travel more than I used to. Or we’ll go out of town just for the night, and I’ll forget. It’s an excuse. But I’m getting better at setting time for myself each morning to get my head and mind straight.
The other thing is that meditation isn’t exactly a quick-fix. It takes practice, patience, and most importantly, time. You won’t receive the benefits from meditation techniques unless you put in the time. And yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to find time. It’s hard to not think about anything (just this morning, my mind was wandering off thinking about budgeting and reporting I had to do).
As of today, I’ve been doing daily meditation for 2.5 years - inconsistently so, but I’m really trying. In fact, this latest streak has been one of the better ones. It is getting easier.
So, what have I learned?
1. Meditation and mindfulness are CRUCIAL for controlling your thoughts and emotions.
I’m a very emotionally-driven person (maybe it’s because my astrology sign is Cancer - who knows). But this can be really helpful - sometimes. I’m able to connect and empathize easily with people. I’m a great listener when a friend needs to vent. Yet, it can also create a ton of issues in the relationships in my life.
Sometimes, my emotions trump logic, which can send me down a spiral of irrational thinking and also, unfortunately for me, leads to holding grudges. I get caught up in my own feelings. I feel owed. It’s a problem.
Meditation has helped with this. A few years ago, you would never have heard me admitting the above. In arguments, I used to hold onto the fact that I was hurt. I never fully understood where and when I was also doing harm.
I’d react as opposed to thinking about what the other person said. Meditation has taught me how to not do this. Maybe it’s from learning breathing tactics via meditation techniques, but when I feel myself about to immediately react with an overcast of emotions, I stop.
I think to myself, is this appropriate? How is this benefiting the conversation or disagreement? Am I actually just being emotional? Then, I take a few deep breaths, reassess, and reel those emotions in. This doesn’t mean I don’t communicate with them. It just means I don’t let them take over or allow them to let me get out of control.
2. Daily meditation helps me cope with stress.
I’m also the type of person to become overwhelmed, then basically implode due to overwhelm. This results in me getting absolutely nothing done. My productivity levels take a huge hit. And in the past, I didn’t even realize it.
Today, I’m able to recognize stress better. And I turn to meditation techniques as a way to help minimize it. I haven’t gotten to the point where a session completely resets my mind. But it does help me create space between what is causing the stress and myself. It allows me a moment to step back and assess.
For instance, the other day I was stressing - hard. I had thrown too much into my schedule for one day. I was staring at my to-do list trying to figure out what to do first. I started panicking.
So, I stepped away from my computer. I grabbed my phone for a timer, set it to 5 minutes, and closed my eyes, breathing and trying to clear my mind.
After 5 minutes, I jumped back to it. I prioritized. I pushed the stress aside and got everything done. The cherry on top? All that stuff I was stressing about took me way less time than I thought it would. If I’d continued stressing, it probably would’ve taken way longer. Thank you meditation!
3. Meditating made me realize what I really want in life.
Having a moment each day to just clear my mind sets the stage for the rest of my day. It helps me define my goals and what I want out of life. It sounds cliche but it’s true.
I’ve always been an “I’ll go where the wind blows me” kind of person. So far, it’s worked out. But I was missing out on fulfillment and on the feelings that come with crushing personal and career goals. By clearing my mind each day, I felt like I made room to finally figure out what direction I want to go.
4. I’ve become more patient and more mindful because of regular meditation.
I used to always be ready for the next big thing, which doesn’t leave much room to focus on the here and now. Meditation, although hard, forces you to just be in the moment. It reconnects your mind with your body and the present time.
And a big confession… I used to “cheat” a little when meditating. I don’t do this anymore. But when I first started out, I’d set a timer or turn on a guided meditation. A few minutes into it, I’d be opening my eyes to check the time. This is not how to meditate and I don’t recommend it.
Today, I’m actually surprised when the timer goes off. I keep setting it longer because of this. It’s brought a form of patience into my life that I didn’t have before. And in all honesty, I don’t want to rush through my life. I know we all reach the same end, and none of us should be in a rush to get there. It’s all about the journey, which meditation has taught me to enjoy a little more.
Start Trying Out Meditation Techniques Today!
The sooner you start, the faster it becomes second-nature. I’m not quite there yet. But I’m getting closer to it. I can feel the difference. A meditation session could potentially be the difference between a bad and good day for me.
If you don’t want to go it alone (I only recently started doing this. I realized it’s the best way for me), there are many guided meditation apps available. There are Headspace and Insight Timer. I’ve used both - they are really useful in getting you into a habit of it and helping you get started.
So… let me ask you. How could meditation change your life? Have you tried it? I was doubtful too. But sometimes the hardest activities and the things we are most skeptical about turn out to be the best for us.