Today is the third and final installment in the Meditation Matters series on my blog. Meditation has made such a profound difference in my life, so I felt compelled to share some information in the hope that it may help others as well!
Over the last two weeks, I’ve debunked a few myths and misconceptions about meditation, as well as outlined several helpful tips for more productive and less frustrating meditation sessions. Now, I want to illustrate the many ways in which meditation has improved my quality of life - just in case you want to start but still need a compelling “why!”
1. It significantly reduces my anxiety.
Meditation is the single most important thing I can do for my mental health. That may sound dramatic, but it’s one hundred percent true. Before beginning a regular meditation practice, I was a ball of nerves, all the time. I spent so much of my day in my head, worrying about the future, obsessing over the past, wondering what people thought of me, and feeling an ever-present sense of impending doom. I was almost never present in the here and now, which meant I missed out on so much of my life while I worried away about things that either hadn’t happened yet or had already come to pass.
Once I began meditating regularly, it was astonishing to me how swiftly and steadily my anxiety began to fall away. Of course, it didn’t happen all at once, but I noticed a big difference just a few weeks into my practice - enough of a difference to turn me into a believer.
Now, if I fall off the meditation wagon and skip it for a while (which admittedly still does happen from time to time), I notice the anxiety creeping back in - and once you get used to living without it, its re-emergence is extra terrible. “I can’t believe I used to live like this all the time,” I inevitably think whenever I begin to feel anxious. The cool thing is that after just a few days of meditation, I’m back on a much more even keel.
2. It helps me overcome depression.
Meditation is the single most important thing I can do for my mental health. Yes, I know I said that already - but I’m saying it again to really drive the point home.
Depression is a tricky beast for me, rearing its head so stealthily that I hardly even notice it’s there until it’s really there. It’s like suddenly waking up one day in the middle of a raging emotional storm, not having realized I needed to check the weather report to see what was coming.
Meditation, for me, is like checking my emotional weather report. Sitting in silence can help clue me in to subtle hints that depression might be lurking on the horizon - hints I’m not able to pick up on unless I give myself the space to simply pay attention. And if a bout of depression seems imminent, but isn’t fully upon me yet, I generally still have the emotional resources to do everything in my power to stave it off. I can ramp up my self-care, talk with my therapist, make sure I’m filling my body with nourishing foods and staying hydrated, and allow myself time to rest. In this way, I can mitigate my depression before it gets really bad, instead of just finding myself in the middle of the storm, with no other option but to wait it out.
3. It allows me to connect with people more authentically.
I’ve experienced social anxiety for a large part of my life, and when I meditate regularly, much of that anxiety is alleviated. I believe this happens for two reasons: first, because by getting comfortable sitting with myself, I nurture a greater respect and acceptance for myself, and second, because when I meditate regularly, I approach the world - and the people in it - from a more mindful perspective. When I’m being mindful during a conversation with someone, I’m much less likely to be spinning out in my head, wondering what they think of me. And when I’m fully present to the conversation, I’m showing up in authenticity, making for more genuine and meaningful connection with others.
4. It helps me get what I want out of life.
Have you ever heard the statement “our thoughts create our realities?” It’s TRUE. Meditation gives us wisdom and expertise around carefully choosing our thoughts and making sure that the things we’re attracting into our life, whether consciously or subconsciously, are going to serve us.
See, most of us don’t go about our day intending to think negative thoughts - but when we’re unaware of our inner narrative, the negativity has a way of slipping in unnoticed. We find ourselves falling into limiting belief systems and patterns - things that cause us to get in our own way, often without even realizing what we’re doing and why.
When we meditate, we are slowly but surely honing our awareness of the inner narrative, making us more likely to catch negative thoughts before they have a chance to burrow unseen into our subconscious and wreak all kinds of emotional havoc. Meditation literally removes self-imposed blocks to our own happiness and success - and who doesn’t want more of those?
Plus, there’s the manifestation factor - and make no mistake, manifestation is real. It’s often misunderstood, however, as simply wishing or hoping. Manifestation requires desire, intention, and value-driven action - but so many of us stop at the desire and don’t do the rest. Meditation is an excellent tool to help us focus our intention and take the action we need to call our deepest desires into our lives.
When I was laid off from my full-time job last fall, I decided to use it as an opportunity to dive into my business. I did, however, still need to pay the mortgage, so I decided to invite wealth into my life by doing a lot of intentional meditation around money. I would visualize stacks of cash literally drifting toward me, like I was a magnet, drawing it all in. I did this for a month, and the weirdest things started happening! I received a $150 check in the mail from a bank I used over ten years ago, telling me they’d suddenly decided to refund my old overdraft fees from 2007. I received a $500 refund from the IRS that I had not been expecting, along with a letter stating I’d overpaid on my tax return. Seriously - what?? This stuff never happens - unless, of course, you’re cultivating a mindset that attracts wealth. In the same way, the more time you spend meditating on what you’d like to see more of in your life, the more easily it will flow to you - and the more easily you’ll recognize it when it knocks on your door.
5. It helps me regulate my emotions.
I’ve always been moody. And by moody, I actually mean that my brain was once an emotional roller-coaster with so many loops, drops, twists and turns that you feel dizzy after just a few seconds on it. My moods can swing from elation to despair to fast it’ll make your head spin - but I’ve noticed a signifiant evening out of these overblown emotional states ever since adopting a regular meditation practice. That’s not to say I don’t experience intense joy or extreme pain anymore; I do. But when they come along, I’m better at finding productive and empowering ways to deal with them, and I don’t experience as much of the back-and-forth as I used to.
Additionally, I handle stress much better than I used to, which keeps me from freaking out and throwing things against the wall (which, yeah, used to happen on a semi-regular basis). This helps me with communication, productivity, and focus - all things I’m enjoying a higher level of in my life. Thanks, meditation!
6. It teaches me valuable information about myself.
Now that I know myself intimately, I’m amazed at how unaware I once was of my tendencies, habits, and attitudes. Getting to know yourself - really know yourself - can help remove whatever emotional blocks you’ve set up in your subconscious and propel you toward happiness and success. That’s certainly been my experience; being familiar with my tendencies helps me nip limiting habits and behaviors in the bud and gently steer myself back on track.
For example, I have a tendency to take on too much. In the past, I didn’t realize this about myself, and this unawareness always resulted in complete overwhelm and total burnout, due to not seeing what was happening until it was too late. Once I became aware of that tendency through meditation and mindfulness, it helped me to evaluate all the things I was saying yes to and determining whether I really had the bandwidth to take on something new, rather than automatically adding it to my workload. This has made such a difference in my mental emotional well-being - not to mention my productivity and my ability to actually cross things off my to-do list, rather than just adding item after item to it, panicking all the while.
7. It ensures I stay connected to my power.
I feel the most powerful when I am plugged in to universal energy. This may sound like a bunch of hippie-dippie hocus-pocus to you, but I’ve found that staying in touch with that energy enhances every area of my life. If I’m ever feeling small or stuck in my head, I like to imagine universal energy as a column of light, shooting straight up into the air. I picture an extension cord hanging from my body, and I realize that all that beautiful, shining energy is available to me - I just have to plug in.
Meditation serves as a daily reminder to me to plug in. To connect with universal energy. To embrace the divine feminine. To remember that I am a powerful, magical being, with many worlds contained within me. When I know this - when I feel it, deep in my soul - I am truly unstoppable. This power is what has enabled me to do what I do. I wrote my book because of it. I’ve spoken my truths because of it. I’ve gotten out into the world and done really scary stuff because of it - because I know that all that power is mine for the taking, should I choose to let it in. Magic is real, and it exists inside all of us. Meditation helps us bring it to the surface so we can start to utilize it.
This is the third and final installment in the Meditation Matters series. Check out the other posts in the series: