I first started writing this before I became pregnant. At this point I was meditating every day. Then, I started to experience sickness and nausea and meditating made these symptoms worse. I missed it so much! Once I couldn’t do it anymore, I realised just how much meditation had impacted my life. Now I read over the points below, it’s interesting how pregnancy hormones have definitely made some aspects much more challenging (to say the least!) Like I’ve said previously when talking about mindfulness – there is never a moment when you finally arrive and think, “I’m sorted for life now.” Mindfulness and meditation is a constant work progress, applying it to real-life situations to learn and grow along the way…..
When I began a meditation course earlier this year, I had zero expectations. I had very little understanding (was it something to do with breathing?) and no idea how much impact it would have on my life. By no means did I turn up thinking the course would dramatically change me in anyway. That said, I wasn’t opposed to change either. I was simply intrigued to learn and find out more. Little did I know then that I would start meditating every day, transforming my life beyond expectation.
As meditation began to become a part of my every day life, these are the changes I encountered…
- Less mental distraction opening up more free space for clarity and focus
Long before I became interested in mindfulness and meditation, (at the risk of sounding like a nutter) I remember thinking, “why is there an incessant documentary of thoughts in my head which never shuts up? I wish it would go away!” When I started to meditate, my thoughts began to have space for more clarity and focus (hallelujah!)
In the same way you go to the gym to workout, meditation acts as strength training for your mind. Since meditating, I am more focused and I’m able to make decisions more easily. When meditating, the focus is to still the mind. After a while, I sometimes get lost and, for example, start thinking about my dinner 🙂 🙂 🙂 The whole purpose is to notice if you are off track and re-focus. Meditation is essentially exercising the ‘focus muscle’ in your brain.
- More compassionate, understanding of others
I now realise my opinion is not always the right one. Everyone has their own opinion and nobody is necessarily right or wrong. As I have become more aware of myself, I have naturally become more compassionate towards others – benefitting relationships with family and friends as well as my long-term happiness.
- Able to communicate more effectively
As a result of the above, I’m able to communicate more effectively. As a naturally reactive and assertive person, I now understand I sometimes previously came across as aggressive when expressing opinions, even when these came from a place of love and care. I have always considered myself as passionate in my opinions but I now realise this could sometimes be misconstrued. This heightened awareness, not just of myself but for those around me, has made me much more in tune with others when communicating.
- Improved confidence, less self doubt, more self-acceptance
My previous self-judgemental mind-set has switched to self-acceptance, self-love and self-care. I have stopped looking to Instagram wishing “I was more like her” or had “that life.” This improved confidence has reduced feelings of emptiness which were unknowingly hidden beneath the surface. Practicing meditation everyday has filled an empty void. I no longer look outside myself for constant fulfilment e.g. shopping, wanting “stuff”.
- Increased energy and motivation levels
For the past couple of years, I have been a morning work-out person. I would often have days when I’d drag myself out of bed with no energy for an intense workout. Since meditating before exercising, I have noticed a big energy increase and a renewed focus to push myself further through positive thinking. My energy levels are elevated for the whole day allowing me to concentrate and become less distracted.
- Less likely to experience feelings of stress and fear
I now get stressed a lot less. If a situation arises, I’m now able to notice any stressful thoughts as completely unproductive and a negative drain on energy. With this heightened perspective, meditation has enabled me to guide my reactions away from my previous autopilot response of fear or stress, towards a much more level-headed and balanced way of thinking.
- Increased creativity
My best ideas often come after meditating. I’ve read how meditation brings about an insightful outlook allowing creativity to flourish. I feel it’s no coincidence that some of my best recipes and picture ideas have come to mind soon after meditation.
- Increased feelings of gratitude
I feel so much more grateful for the good in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t completely ungrateful before. It’s just now I have a different perspective. This increase in positive grateful thoughts has brought an overwhelmingly different outlook to my life and a definite shift in mindset.
Since meditating every day, I see little space for internal or external conflict. With a greater awareness to reduce the suffering I inflict on myself (anxiety, stress, worry, guilt, resentment, anger) I naturally want to effect those close to me in the same way. I am now more compassionate, at ease and less stressed. Meditation has made me realise how our minds and bodies are connected on such a deep level. Health isn’t just about keeping fit and eating well. It’s about what we think, what we say, our relationships with others, the world and, more importantly, ourselves.
To learn more about how meditation could improve your life, check out…
Posted: 19th November 2016