Every time my boss tried to persuade me to try meditating, I would just brush it off (sorry, Karen). Well, partly because she’s my boss so I couldn’t really say to her face what I thought at the time. But the most part was that I thought meditation was just plain bullsh*t.
Before, whenever I heard the word “meditation”, my mind would instantly conjure up images of a woman wearing yoga pants and sports bra, sitting on the floor with her legs crossed, with the sound of a singing bowl playing in the background.
I mean, c’mon. You’re telling me that sitting there with my eyes closed is all I need to do to calm my mind when I’ve already tried SO MANY other methods yet none of it ever worked? (Trust me, my google search was full of how to relax my mind and how to calm my anxiety and how to let go of the voices in my head etc. – let me not go into the details.)
I’ve been back to college for more than a month now. And after a good summer break, I at first was struggling to get back on track of my busy schedule. I found myself falling behind on my tasks as time flied quickly, and deadlines kept coming and never waited for me. I realized that my stress level skyrocketed again, and my mental health plunged quickly with it as well.
My anxiety made a glorious comeback and my other symptoms of depression and ADHD started worsening, too. For example, one of my greatest hit-backs is undoubtedly my uncontrollable and undefeatable army of intrusive thoughts. They range from constant worries over workload and meeting deadlines to occasional negative (let me be a little euphemistic here) images and impulses. And of course, how can I not mention my social anxiety? which only makes things even worse. When my emotions reached its bottleneck, I would be engulfed by my frustration and anger that would amount to a breakdown and/or a binge-eating episode.
I knew I had to do something. That was when I remember an app called Headspace (not sponsored by the way) that I heard back in the summer. It is one of the most popular meditation apps out there, so I was thinking to myself, I’ve actually never meditated before, and it won’t hurt if I give it a try, so why not?
“Meditation is so much more than ‘doing nothing and sitting still’. ”
So, I put away my guilt for rejecting my boss earlier, and my pride for having to think wrong about meditation, and… gave it a try.
I am so glad I did. As much as I hate to say it, I was wrong about meditation. Meditation is so much more than ‘doing nothing and sitting still’. I think I have the credibility to vouch for that considering I went from a meditation skeptic to someone with having meditation as part of the daily routine.
For my first meditation session, I was sitting on my bed in a relaxing posture. I was feeling fidgety though because I felt weird sitting still and not doing anything at all while it’s absolutely silent in my bedroom. I wasn’t used to giving space to my mind, and just let myself breathe. My mind was running wild as random thoughts kept coming, and I just simply didn’t know how to shut it off.
One week in, I found myself lowkey enjoying meditation. I learned that part of the reason why I struggled with meditation was because the exact reason why I decided to meditate in the first place – I tried to hard! The more I wanted to make the thoughts go away, the more I got stuck with it. Instead, the point of meditation is not to shut off those thoughts but to simply acknowledge them. Simply put, step back and reflect on your thoughts without being judgmental on them. It’s also why I enjoyed meditation – I get to be friendly with my mind.
Although I still suffered from excessive worries and thoughts during my sessions, I gradually became more comfortable with the silence. I also learned that it IS okay, and it IS normal to feel this way for a beginner. It’s a process that needs time and patience to really see the progress. So
As of now, I may sometimes skip a day or two meditating because of my busy schedule. But I make sure I will pick it back up the next day.
I would say that using an app is a good start for beginners to try out meditation. There are a lot of meditation apps with different features so I’m sure at least one of them will suit you. Plus, the price you’d have to pay is taking 10 minutes out of your day with a sprinkle of patience.
I’m no professional whatsoever, but here’s one advice from me to you: give meditation a try, give yourself and your mind a chance to feel better again.