I was always a little skeptical about meditation. I barely had a second in my busy class and extracurricular schedule to find time to relax and spend time with friends, so how was I supposed to find the time just to sit and think?
When life seemed to come to a halt amid the pandemic, I had no excuse.
The first dozen times I meditated, I was so close to giving up. I WANTED to like it, but, honestly, I was not too fond of the practice.
“Why can’t I sit still? Why are my thoughts racing? Why am I so uncomfortable in this seated position?” (Side note: I quickly learned that sometimes, laying flat on my bed with my eyes gazing softly down was what my body needed.) Overall, I just didn’t get the ~hype~. However, I pushed through and stuck with it — and oh, how happy I am that I did.
This past week, I reached my 100th consecutive day of meditation on the Peloton app. Starting my mornings with these guided programs became an essential part of my routine and gave me something to look forward to each morning in our world of unprecedented times. Here’s what I learned.
- Stress Reduction
By taking moments to center my focus, take conscious deep breaths and exhale built-up tension, I felt less and less stressed. Meditation allowed me to improve my coping mechanisms, monitor my thoughts and actions and learn how to calm myself down before working myself up. By learning how to take a moment to center my focus, I learned how to manage my stress, which allowed me to approach situations and all aspects of my life, from a new perspective.
- Changed Outlook on Life
Meditation granted me a new lens to explore every aspect of my world. Not only did meditation help me regain a more positive outlook on life, but it encouraged me to focus on the present — the only part of our lives that we actively have control over. Through focusing on the “now,” meditation helped increase my patience, compassion and love for others. Importantly, it helped me learn how to further love myself.
- Increased Self-Awareness
This increased love comes from an overall increase in self-awareness. Meditation helped me improve my self-image, increase positive self-statements and better understand who I am as a person. Meditation has pushed me to want to become the best version of myself. It has granted me the opportunity to be more attuned with my thoughts and habits, ultimately allowing me to steer myself towards constructive patterns and recognizing thoughts that may be self-defeating or counterintuitive. Such awareness has allowed me to increase positive emotions about myself and others.
Meditation is a life-long process. Even after 100 days, I still find myself struggling to get stay centered from time and time again. Meditation is only 5 minutes out of your day that has the potential of creating a lifetime of changes. Making the time to meditate is a gift and putting it as an integral part of your daily routine holds you accountable. While it takes time to see the benefits, the journey makes it all worth it. Giving meditation a shot was truly life-changing, and I hope this convinces you to give it a go as well.