Monday, December 11, 2017

What I'm Learning About Meditation

Let me be honest, for a long time I used to cringe when I heard the word "meditation". I used to think that it was kind of a weird thing and I didn't really think it would work the way people claim it does.

It's really hard for me to get into a certain zone in my brain. I'm really good at zoning out during a run or really focusing on something I'm doing, but I feel like (especially after becoming a mom) I have a hard time letting my brain just rest. After struggling with what I thought was mild anxiety, turns out it's not all that mild, I've been searching for ways to help myself relax and calm down when I start feeling a panic attack coming on.  My cousin, who has struggled with anxiety for a lot longer than I have, mentioned that meditation is something that works for her. This was something that I'd heard of but kind of felt weird about, probably mostly because I didn't know how to meditate or what it all entailed. I didn't want to feel weird about humming and making "calming noises" haha, I'm pretty self-conscious when it comes to things like that. It still kept coming to mind though.

Then one day I found aaptiv.  And aaptive has a meditation category in its workouts. So I thought I'd give it a shot. Here's what I realized

  • I had a memory come back to me in the middle of a meditation session.  I've meditated before, a lot.  When I was in Jr high, one of my youth leaders in our church led us in a meditation session during our weekly group activity when we were nearing the end of the year and having some stress with the end of year testing. For two years I really loved to sit and listen to calming music while I focused on relaxing each part of my body. My best friend even gave me a little lavender eye pillow to help with relaxation. And for my birthday, my mom got me two cassette tapes (yep, if you don't know what that is google it) of calming music.  I didn't realize it was meditation that I was doing and for some reason, I stopped once I got into high school...I can't even imagine how much it would have helped my depression and stress levels if I would have kept it up at that point.
  • Noises are optional. There are sometimes you can hum if you find that useful, but it's not mandatory. Meditation is all about comfort and not worrying about things. So if humming makes you feel uncomfortable, you don't have to do that to get in the right frame of mind.
  • Meditation can take less than five minutes or it can take an hour. It all depends on what you're feeling and what works for you. If you only have a few minutes you can still benefit from meditation.
  • There are so many benefits of meditating! You can find 141 of them HERE. And I'm not sure that even covers all of them.
  • Meditating can clear your mind and help you calm down for the night (I fall asleep way faster now by the way), or it can fill your mind with great ideas and help you gear up for something you've been working towards.
  • Meditation is also really great for kids. This is something that I'm hoping to teach my kids so that when they start to feel overwhelmed or really upset about something, they will have the tools they need to take a timeout and meditate to help them calm down.

I am still pretty new to the whole meditation thing, but I can't tell you enough how much it has helped so far with my anxiety. It's been two months since I've had a full on panic attack (thank heaven!) and I think a lot of that comes down to me knowing how my anxiety feels in the beginning of an attack and being able to calm myself and steady my breathing.  That's not something I would be able to do if I hadn't started meditating in the first place. So if anxiety is something you struggle with, or if you've ever considered meditating, I highly encourage it!

Are you someone who meditates often?

What is your favorite way to calm yourself down?


  1. I've often wondered if it would help my daily anxieties if I were to meditate. I should give it a try in the new year!

  2. I love meditation and just got into it this year! So happy you’re teaching your babes about it

    1. I'm clearly enjoying way more than I thought I would. I hope it's something my kids can use the rest of their lives!

  3. I need to do this! I’ve always heard meditation helps a lot of people! Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I'm in the same camp, it always just sounds a little woo-woo to me. But maybe that meditation thing isn't so weird. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

    1. Yeah, way better than I thought it would be. It has made me sleep better at nights.