I know meditation may not be for everybody, but hear me out on this one. Like I mentioned in my previous post, self-care is the most important way to improve mental health. Under the umbrella of self-care, I include meditation. I started getting into meditating after I attended a few yoga classes about three years ago. I realized that going to yoga once or twice a week was really helping me destress and allowed me to focus on the tasks at hand. I am a notorious planner and often fall victim to worrying about the future instead of focusing on what is right in front of me.
When the pandemic hit and we could no longer go to gyms, I decided to take advantage of my time working from home by waking up early, laying out my mat, and doing a yoga sequence for about 30 minutes. It was a great way to start my day – by clearing my head, blocking out the noise of the world, and setting my intentions. I also made time for yoga after I received my diagnosis (only on days when I felt well enough) and realized that it helped in reducing my pain and lessened my anxieties. Between the pressures of school, work and endless doctor appointments, yoga became an outlet to release all the negative stressors I felt.
The key to meditation is consistency. You may try it a few times and think you really like it, but what truly matters is consistently making time in your day or week to meditate and be comfortable in a quiet space. I myself have not quite nailed the consistency part of doing yoga, but I have made time every night before I go to sleep to do a guided meditation through my Fitbit app. Some other apps that offer guided meditations are Calm or Headspace. I also have a white noise machine next to my bed with different sounds on it, which can really help if you have a hard time falling asleep. My favorite sounds are the ocean waves because it makes me feel like I’m on a beach! Who doesn’t love that?!
Some science-based benefits of meditation include reducing stress, controlling anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, lengthening your attention span and improving your sleeping habits. If you want to improve any of these things, I suggest trying out a meditation exercise. It doesn’t have to be long. There are two-minute meditations and there are 30-minute meditations. There are meditations you can do sitting at your desk or laying in your bed. I want to stress that there is no right way to meditate. If following along to a guided meditation doesn’t work for you, try sitting in a quiet room with no distractions and practice controlling your breath. Once you can do this, you have gained a new skill that you can use anywhere in times of crisis.
This week, I challenge you to try meditating. If you already practice meditation consistently, comment below and let me know your favorite way to meditate!