When I first started meditating, I felt pretty silly sitting on the floor of my room. I sat there trying to “empty my mind” and got frustrated pretty quickly because I couldn’t get rid of all my thoughts. That’s what meditation is right – trying to empty your mind? I would sit there but thoughts would keep intruding – some mundane, some stressful. I gave up pretty quickly until I decided to give it another try 6 months ago with a lot more success. I’ve learned that meditation isn’t about “thinking about nothing” necessarily, but to focus on one thing and to ultimately stop the incessant chatter in our heads. I started using a guided meditation app and it has worked wonders for me because it walks me through the process and allows me to focus on the soothing voice in the app. Below are just a few of the benefits I’ve experienced:
Stops My Mind From Wandering
My brain likes to jump around from one thought to another without thinking about anything in particular. It’s pretty draining and only causes me to feel anxious and bit down without knowing why. Since meditating, I’ve noticed that although my mind still wanders quite a bit, it snaps back a lot faster. I’m more prone to catching myself in these funks and I can actually turn it around and refocus my attention on something more specific and positive. My concentration and attention span has also significantly improved because meditating allows me to focus, longer.
Helps Treat My Depression and Anxiety
Though there have been studies on meditation and its positive effects on reducing anxiety and depression, I’m not at the point where I’m going to stop my medication. Instead, meditation complements the other strategies I’m using and I’ve noticed that my symptoms have reduced significantly, especially my anxiety. Over time, I’ve learned to be more accepting of my feelings and to just let them be. The bad feelings pass and although it’s not all roses and daisies after, I feel more calm.
Reduces My Insomnia
This directly ties into both points above because since I’ve started meditating, my wandering, restless mind has been able to calm down at night. My head used to race with vague, anxious thoughts about life and unfortunately, I used to use a glass of wine to relax until I could get to sleep. Of course, using alcohol to fall asleep is a terrible idea but I just couldn’t cure my insomnia until I started meditating. It reduces stress and anxiety, and I’m more able to catch myself thinking negatively and turning it around before it turns into full blown anxiety.
Reboots My Brain
Sometimes my brain feels exhausted, foggy and burnt out while my body doesn’t feel tired at all. I realized I was exhausting my brain by constantly overthinking and I was burning my brain out to the point where I just needed to shut down and reboot. When I feel overwhelmed with all my thoughts, I simply take 5 minutes to myself and disconnect from the world by meditating. I come back feeling refreshed and I’m able to see problems from a new angle. As an unexpected benefit, I’ve also noticed I’ve become more efficient with my work!
These are just a few of many benefits I’ve experienced since starting meditation and I hope it’s intrigued you enough to give it a go. There is such a low barrier to entry – it’s free, can be done virtually anywhere and takes very little time. When something can have such a huge impact on your life, is there any reason you wouldn’t do it? Try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments!