If you would've asked me what I thought about meditation three months ago, I would've said something along the lines of, "I wish I could get into it, but it's not my thing." I had tried meditating a handful of times, but I didn't like it. I couldn't focus, and I didn't feel any different. I'd find myself randomly trying it when I felt like my day-to-day was getting out of control, expecting to instantaneously feel better and enlightened, so of course, when that didn't happen, I was over it.
About a month ago, I began to feel extra anxious and overwhelmed. I felt like I was getting pulled in every direction, doing too much, and on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. In those moments, I turn to therapy, family, friends, music, and everything else that helps ground me and makes me feel calm, but I still felt uneasy.
Around the same time, I decided to try to meditate again. To avoid repeating my unsuccessful and inconsistent attempts, I challenged myself to meditate for 10 minutes a day for one week straight. The first week wasn't bad, but it also wasn't easy. Ten minutes is a short period of time, especially when you're mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, but trying to be still, present, and calm for 10 minutes was hard.
After the first week of meditating, I noticed it was beginning to feel slightly easier, and I think this was because it was becoming part of my routine. I also found myself more willing to commit to meditating because I used the Muse 2 meditation device, which tracks your brainwaves and lets you know your brain's activity (calm, neutral, and active) as you meditate. This was helpful for me, especially in the beginning, because when the soundscape got louder, I knew I needed to regain focus.
Because the first week felt good, I challenged myself to shoot for two weeks. On day 10, I really felt a shift. Yes, my nonbelieving self felt a shift. I didn't suddenly feel enlightened and stress-free, but I did feel like I could cope better. I still had the same issues and stressors, but they didn't feel as heavy and as intense as before. They didn't feel debilitating, they were just there. I'm not a meditation pro, but from my understanding, that's the point of meditation. Learning how to let your emotions, thoughts, and distractions exist and to be aware of them without having an immediate response or reaction. Because of this feeling, I began to research the benefits of meditation and was really sold and motivated to keep going.
After week two, I was really feeling myself. I was beginning to sense when I was becoming distracted on my own and was able quickly regain focus. Every now and then, I'd look at my results and feel like I didn't do a good job because my time spent in a calm mind state was low. But I've learned that meditating isn't about your performance and that it isn't going to be perfect. The last two weeks felt pretty normal with the exception of a few days where I really didn't want to meditate.
Thirty days was a huge feat for me, but I'm happy I did it. Meditating has become a staple to my routine, and my new goal is to continue to meditate daily, working my way up to meditating for 15 to 20 minutes. If you want to get into meditating but feel similar to how I did in the beginning, I recommend starting off slowly. Try five minutes at first, and as you become more comfortable with it, gradually increase the time.
You've also got to find your vibe; you'll be more willing to do it if you feel comfortable. For example, I find sitting crossed-leg for an extended period of time to be uncomfortable, and I prefer to meditate in natural light in the morning/midday. Finding a meditation routine that works for you is going to take some trial and error, but that's OK. You don't have to meditate for 30 days straight, but speaking from personal experience, I think it's worth trying if you tend to feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed.