Meditation is a powerful tool that can totally change your life! I know because I am living proof of this – I wouldn’t be a coach today if it wasn’t for meditation! Read on to learn more story and tips on how to make your own meditation habit stick!
I had heard from dozens of people “you need to meditate!” I was high strung, very stressed out and having regular anxiety/panic attacks. I decided that I didn’t want to live my life medicated any longer, so I went off my anti-anxiety meds and started looking for natural alternatives. After trying out many things, I found 2 things that worked and made a BIG difference: probiotics (read more here) and meditation!
The probiotics helped get my gut bacteria balanced out (there’s a lot of research showing link between microbiome imbalances and anxiety). The meditation helped me quiet my mind and unlocked many different doors that got me where I am today! At the time I started meditation, I was honestly afraid to be alone with my own thoughts. I was constantly overwhelmed and on the verge of falling apart. I had just experienced some significant health challenges due to a long term leg injury and gained 50+ pounds as the result of my inactivity. I was depressed, anxious, and desperate to find a way out.
I had just met my husband, an avid meditator for years at that point, and he saw that it was obvious I could use support in quieting my mind. He encouraged me to meditate and I told him I had already tried and it didn’t work. Although I had tried, I had the incorrect expectations and understanding around meditation, which made it a painful process. I would sit quietly and attempt to stop all my thoughts, and if you’ve ever meditated, you know that’s when your thoughts come loud and fast like a fire hose. I would sit there, struggling to stop my thoughts, getting frustrated at myself and feeling like I was wasting my time. This lead to more anxiety and I always came out of the meditation more stressed out then when I sat down. After more than a dozen attempts, I decided that meditation just wasn’t for me and wrote it off entirely.
The Turning Point:
My husband heard my struggles and supported me in understand that meditation isn’t simply about stopping your thoughts. It’s about being present in the moment and letting your thoughts float by without being attached to them. He taught me about mindfulness meditation which is about focusing on your breath as an anchor and place to put your attention so you don’t get wrapped up in your thoughts. Knowing that I still was having trouble with that, he started me off in a much better place – active meditation. Active meditation is simply doing a task that requires to conscious effort so you can get into a zen-like meditative state.
I started off with meditative coloring, crafting, nature walks and I loved it. When I was physically doing something, I found it easy to get to a calm place in my mind and let go of my thoughts. I practiced active meditation as much as I could and really enjoyed it… my mind had been changed about how great meditation can be! Then I graduated to short guided meditations (5-10 minutes). I would sit and listen to soothing voices as people narrated my meditation experience. It was so easy to get into a meditative state and I felt amazing at the end! They were so enjoyable that I found myself listening to longer and longer meditations and eventually working my way up for 30+ minutes! I started to notice immediately that I was a lot less stressed, less reactive to things that used to trigger me and was genuinely enjoying life more!
Finally I had found my groove in meditation! After months of this, I finally moved onto quiet self guided meditations. These are more advanced techniques, so if you can do this, give yourself a pat on the back! I would spend 10-15 minutes each day of quiet meditation. At the time many things in my life had improved, however I still found myself searching for answers. My job wasn’t bringing me any joy but I had no idea what my next step would be. My health challenges and extra weight left me feeling disempowered and doctors had literally told me I was “broken,” so I was sad about that. All of my answers came through my quiet meditations!
During my meditation, I would hear these divine whispers pointing me in the correct direction. I was really sick of feeling “broken” and one day a giant lightbulb clicked: I wrote million dollar grants for the National Institute of Health and did research for a living… why had I not looked at the research to address my personal health struggles?! I threw myself into deep research and went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, loving every second I was researching about health. Long story short is that through research I solved all my health problems, completely changed my life and inspired me to become a health coach to help others. Meditation had turned me onto my new life path that I had been longing for!
Why you should meditate too:
There is TONS of research out there sharing the amazing benefits of meditation. It helped me completely change my life path and the more I looked inward for guidance, the more clear it became where I was going in my life.
So many people I have talked with say that they don’t have time for meditation. I think you don’t have time to NOT meditate! Taking a few minutes per day to meditation has shown to increase your productivity and mental clarity throughout the day, which helps you be significantly more effective. Turning inward for guidance helps you focus on what’s important instead of wasting your time on things that don’t matter to you (like what I was doing in my dead end job and the bad habits I was doing to escape my terrible job). Meditation gave me hours back everyday and made me a much better, happier person!
I’ve made a compelling argument of why it’s beneficial to add meditation to your self care routine. However, sometimes it can be hard to start a new habit. The next trick is making the habit stick!
Here are some tips for how to get your meditation habit to stick:
- Start with active & guided meditations!
- Active meditation is easy! It is doing things that get you into a relaxed meditative state. Coloring, nature walks, doing the dishes, crafting, anything where you zone out and lose yourself in an activity that doesn’t require your mind.
- There are thousands of guided meditations available for free that you can use! Check out youtube or one of the many meditation apps for more guided meditations.
- Start small = 2-5 minutes is enough to start!
- Many people think that you need to meditate for 15-30 minutes per day. While that’s a great place to be, it’s often not accessible for someone starting out a meditation habit. As little as 2-5 minutes done every single day make a big difference in your life!
- Be consistent = meditate daily!
- Just like any other habit, consistency matters much more than duration when you want to establish a new habit.
- Establish a daily routine!
- Creating time in your calendar for a daily meditation routine is a huge key to success! Remember that doing things in the morning is the best way to ensure that they’re getting completed each day.
- Identify yourself as a meditator!
- Identifying yourself as a meditator is a great way to trick your brain into making it easier to establish a regular habit!
- Start with active & guided meditations!
By following these tips you’ll be able to easily form a meditation practice that benefits you without feeling like you don’t have the time!