I used to be a skeptic of meditation. I mean, hours of just sitting there, with eyes closed, drowning in your own thoughts? No, thank you. To me, it felt pretentious–telling people that you feel calm because you allowed your mind to wander and took deep breaths or whatever. Besides, I can’t even sit still for ten minutes. What more if I do it for an hour?
A few months ago, in a routine visit to my psychologist, she suggested that I try meditation to help me cope with my depression and anxiety. I immediately shook my head and told her that it wasn’t for me, that I won’t ever be able to adhere to it. But I tried it anyway, and surprisingly enough…I liked it. Now, it’s become a part of my daily routine, and it changed the way I took care of my mental health.
1. It’s actually quite easy to do
When I decided to practice meditation, I knew next to nothing about it, so I did what any millennial would do. I googled it. The search results turned out to be very helpful, and it led me to download an app called Meditation. It has a seven-day introduction for beginners, where you are taught the basics. You can adjust the length of each session according to your preference.
2. You immediately feel good
After my first full session (where I actually followed the steps and didn’t just pretend), I immediately felt energized. It was a weird feeling, opening your eyes after a while of just listening to your own thoughts, but it felt very refreshing. I remember doing it at around 5AM, and the whole day, I was very active despite a busy schedule. I was also more attentive to my surroundings and to myself.
3. It helped me with my mental health
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years back, and frankly, I have tried almost everything that people advised me in order to cope with it. Exercise, painting, writing, group therapy. You name it. I used to be dependent only on the pills that I take, but it changed when I discovered meditation. Meditation stresses the importance of mindfulness, and it’s a great tool that helps in coping with mental illnesses.
4. It made me kinder
I have always been easily annoyed by a lot of little, petty things, like explaining myself twice, or people who walk slow in front of me, but when I started meditating, I found myself being more patient with these little annoyances. I’ve been more empathic with others, and more mindful of other people’s feelings.
By Bea Amador
Photo from Maps from the Stars