mental health

The Joy of Meditation

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I always thought meditation was stupid.

I didn’t really think meditation could do anything productive, and it was just a weird thing people who ate lots of kale did. Or maybe it was something only for skinny yoga instructors who wear lots of Lululemon and do headstands in front of beach sunrises.

But after a few therapy sessions where I obsessively complained about my anxiety, my therapist asked if I had ever tried meditating.

I laughed and said no way, but she encouraged me to see if a little meditation would help my constant worrying.
 So I downloaded Headspace and gave it a try.

The first few attempts were really weird.

It felt so awkward to try and sit still for even five minutes. It felt like my mind wouldn’t turn off, and my dog kept licking my feet. But after a few nights, I started to feel a sense of calm. It got easier to sit for 10-15 minutes and just be.

And somehow that calm began to seep into my everyday life.

I started using the breathing techniques when I was stressed at work, or I would try to find that empty space to just be when I was worried about the future. 
But let’s get real; I didn’t start meditating every day for an hour nor am I free of anxiety. Sometimes I fall asleep during Headspace (the dude’s British accent in the guided meditations is calming), but knowing that I have the ability to take a pause and be right here and right now brings me a new sense of calm.

Since my brain is always running at a million miles, I like to practice meditation with a mantra.

Basically it’s something you can say on repeat in time with your breathing. It gives your mind somewhere simple to focus.

My current mantra is: I am present.

This mantra reminds me to stop letting my mind live in the past or the future and just let it live right here, and right now. What has been has already happened. What’s around the corner will come whether I worry or not.

So I am present, here in this moment to just be.

I challenge you to take a few minutes today and take a few deep breaths while you say “I am present.” Experience the joy in relaxing just a little and being just as you are.

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