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Mindful meditation is widely known for its calming and restorative effects. It can help manage stress, depression, and anxiety, increase positivity and compassion for others and yourself, increase your focus, and improve your overall quality of life. So why doesn’t everybody do it?? Maybe because we have this assumption that all meditation is sitting with your legs crossed, trying to clear your mind, and saying “ohm” for ten minutes, which is definitely not the case. There are so many different types and styles of meditation, so I spent a week trying a few out to see if the hype is real, and here’s how it went.

 

Day 1

I decided that I would be meditating right before going to bed on the first day. I chose a guided meditation on Spotify  that was around six minutes long  and was about taking your mind off from your busy life and relaxing—basically a little break from the world. After I was done, I immediately fell asleep and—not to be dramatic—I think I had the best sleep of my life that night. I woke feeling completely ready for the day, having slept perfectly through the night. So it didn’t take long for meditation to work its magic!

 

Day 2

The next night, I tried some deep breathing techniques for about 10 minutes before I went to bed. I found this style of meditation to be a bit more calming. With the guided ones, it’s kind of weird having a stranger quietly speak in your ears, and I felt pressured to stay on track with what he was saying and how I should be feeling. I had such high expectations from the night before that it took me a bit longer to fall asleep, and I didn’t wake up feeling as amazing as I had the previous morning. I still felt good, but it made me realize that the night before may have just been a fluke.

 

Day 3

I figured I would give another guided meditation a try. This one  was all about calm, and also incorporated some deep breathing techniques. It was a lot shorter than the first one I tried, which was nice, cause I was already up later than I would have liked, but you’re supposed to meditate for at least 10 minutes to see the most benefits. Again, I had a good sleep and felt quite relaxed in the morning, but I didn’t notice any drastic differences in my daily life.

 

Days 4, 5 and 6

The next few nights, I stuck with the deep breathing techniques. I found this style works best for me, since I can do it at my own pace and feel much less pressure. Some nights, it was in silence, and other nights, I would turn on some nature sounds or calming music. By this point, I had a great sleeping routine and was feeling really good throughout the day. I don’t know if it was just the idea of regular meditation or the actual meditation itself, but I was feeling a lot more calm and positive, at least compared to the week before.

 

Day 7

The last night, I actually cheated and may have forgotten to mediate, but that’s when I realized just how well it had been working. That night, it took me forever to fall asleep, when it usually takes me minutes, and I didn’t end up getting the best sleep because I was waking up throughout the night. Throughout the week, I definitely found that meditation really helped with sleep, but I was also feeling a lot less stressed than I usually do. Overall, I found that it was such a simple and quick way to take a step back from daily stressors and have a moment to myself to just relax.

 

Mindful meditation was described to me once using an analogy of cars on a highway. Each car that drives by represents a thought in your mind, and we have this tendency to run into the middle of the road to try and stop these thoughts, especially when they are negative or stressful. Mindful meditation is finding a seat next to the road and just letting those cars drive past, not trying to stop them or ignore them—just acknowledging that they’re there and letting them go. So sit back, let those thoughts pass you, and relax.

Namaste, friends!

Sammy Walton is a third year Kinesiology major at the University of Victoria. She is hoping to find a career in the exercise, physical health, or physical therapy fields. She enjoys staying active, outdoor activities, fashion, and anything Disney and often uses them for inpiration as a HerCampus at UVic writer.  You can see her in action by following her on Instagram @sammywalton
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