Overcoming Stress & Negativity with Meditation
My meditation practice started only months ago, making me feel a bit like a bandwagon adopter of the age-old method for reducing stress. What may have been considered “fringe” for many years has now become mainstream. There is no doubt a resurgence of meditation happening in the wellness community today. I’d heard about it, read about it, talked about it...but had no idea how to incorporate it into my own life. I wondered when I would find the time, where I would go to meditate (would I have to dedicate space in my house for meditation, buy a pillow and a gong??), and if I would even be able to meditate at all. Silly excuses - I’ll get to that later.
My interest in meditation began when life got mind-numbingly busy this past fall. I was going through a transition at work, just beginning an 8 week yoga training program, keeping up with my assignments and modules for Nutrition School, training a new puppy, and drowning in the depths of wedding planning. It got to the point where I was planning out every hour of the day just to get by. While yoga training was taking up about 16 extra hours in my week, they were hours where I could decompress and unwind, leaving stress behind and becoming fully present on my mat. The bliss that ensued after each savasana and training session lasted for hours. As teachers in training, we’d often practice yoga as a team. Those nights were so meaningful - the energy flowing through the studio was encouraging and full of love. Our instructors would guide us through meditations and savasanas that I still dream about.
On those days, I’d come home either 1) chill and happy - as if nothing could penetrate my bliss bubble or 2) so excited to share what I had learned, enthusiastically recapping the evening’s lecture to my fiance (who was so kind to fake his eagerness to learn about chakras, yamas & niyamas).
It was only a few weeks in to training that my interest in meditation really began. I’d started to compare the feelings I had after meditating vs those I felt on the days I didn’t have time to make it to my mat. On the off days, I was stressed out, prone to negative thoughts (and therefore projecting negative energy out into the world), and less productive during the day. Just an all-around bad combo. But what about the days I physically couldn’t make it to my mat? Believe me, there were times it was the last thing I wanted to do and sometimes, my body just could not handle another yoga class.
I knew that I’d only discovered the tip of the iceberg. There were obviously other ways to meditate, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate them into my fully-packed schedule....until I discovered the Calm App (btw this is not a sponsored post, I just fully appreciate what Calm is up to). I got over the disappointment when I initially saw the price of the full-year subscription by telling myself that my mental well-being was well worth the money. And hey, I could cut back on the $5 kombuchas and matcha lattes anyway. The day I downloaded it and started scrolling through the guided meditation options, I felt my heart lift. This was going to work.
Calm offers such a wide variety of meditation options geared toward calming anxiety, managing stress, focusing more easily, sleeping better, breaking habits, loving yourself and others...the list goes on. There are timed meditations - allowing you to choose any duration that works for you, with times ranging from 1 minute to 8 hours long. Calm makes it easy for EVERYONE to incorporate meditation into their lives, which is what I love most about it.
After my first meditation session with Calm (7 minutes of deep sleep release), I was hooked. I woke up rejuvenated and well-rested, with the realization that it wouldn’t be THAT hard to find a few extra minutes in each day to meditate. I didn’t need a dedicated space in my home or any specific props. I needn’t be worried that I wouldn’t know “how to meditate.” Instead, I’d need three things...the three key elements to producing a relaxation response:
Finding a comfortable seated position
Forming a passive attitude around my thoughts (think: i.d.g.a.f.)
And having a point of focus (some sort of central thought or mantra to come back to when my mind begins to wander) - this step was what I was most concerned about, but was solved when I found my Calm guided meditations!
Voila! I’m a meditation expert! Goodbye stress! Goodbye negative thoughts!
Just kidding. I still have a long road ahead of me when it comes to meditation. Some days are harder than others to form that passive attitude around my never-ceasing thoughts. Some days, I forget to make time for it - like the days I sleep through my alarm. But the point is that I am consciously making an effort to meditate more often. And on the days that I do meditate, I can feel myself overcoming stress and negativity more quickly than my off-days.
As far as I’m concerned, no one has anything negative to say about meditation. We all know it’s good for us, we all understand it’s many benefits. But why don’t more of us meditate? It comes down to our own silly excuses – we think we don’t have the time, space, ability to concentrate, or knowledge of the practice. What we must realize is that the time we dedicate to meditation is time that is given back to us twofold. Think about all that you could accomplish with an increased sense of focus, calmness, and ability to combat stressful situations with ease.
Do you have a meditation practice currently? Are you interested in beginning one? We’d love to chat more! Drop us a note in the comment section!
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.”