Why I Always Hated Meditation
When I was in college, it seemed like every single time I opened Pinterest I saw an ad for a new meditation app or meditation challenge or even meditation music playlist. What was the deal with meditation and why was Pinterest so keen on me finding out? But as college went on, my anxiety began to build and build. There were moments when I struggled to keep my composure and emotions in check. I was so stressed and anxious most days that it was not at all a surprise to my best friend and roommate when I would come home and just ball up on the floor to enjoy a solid 20-minute sob. But it seemed to be working for me. This whole roller coaster of emotions and anxious energy. I really just believed this was how my life was going to be and how I handled my stress was to cry or be hugged repeatedly. Until I decided to give meditation a try.
I opened YouTube and looked up 10-minute meditation. I clicked on the first one I found and began my new yogi-practice at 6 am on a Monday morning (I had been told that meditating in the morning was how really yogis did it :P). I sat down on my floor, legs folded, hands resting in lap, and pressed play.
I had chosen a guided meditation and this one began with a woman telling me to “get comfortable.” So, your girl got comfortable and decided to lay down on my back instead. She then instructed me to breathe deeply, loosen the muscles in my body, focus on my breath, and catch my mind when it wondered. Sounds so relaxing, right? Wrong. I have never experienced so much anxious energy in my life. I felt like every muscle fiber in my body was shaking and needed to be moved. My breath was strained and almost being forced from my lungs. My mind didn’t wander; it ran! I was thinking about homework, meetings, gym time, even wondering when the last time I cleaned my bedspread was. I thought about everything except breathing. I remember thinking, “Ok, this has been long enough.” I rolled over, opened my eyes, and pressed stop… at 1:42. I wish I was lying. I felt like I had laid there for centuries. I could not believe so little time had passed. What was wrong with me? How did people do this? Didn’t monks meditate for full days sometimes?!
I got up and decided to never meditate again…until the next morning. I really wanted to give meditation a chance. I wanted to support my inner-yogi and release all my chakras or whatever. I was also desperate for help with my anxiety, which was getting more and more out of hand each day it seemed. I did my routine again and made it to 2:28. Okay, making progress. And I did it again. And again. I meditated every single morning. It became somewhat a part of my morning ritual. I became calmer; I could focus on my breath for longer; I could rest my muscles for longer. I was really starting to enjoy this!
Meditation became part of my morning, but also my life. I was able to really utilize this new tool whenever I felt overwhelmed or anxious. I would focus on my breath. I would do a simple body scan. I would connect with myself and honor myself and my emotions in the present moment instead of panicking in the dire scenario I had made up in my own head. I also learned the most valuable lesson meditation has ever taught me: the reason I hated it.
I hated meditation in the beginning because I hated the idea of being in my own head. I have always been a very busy bee. I was involved in a multitude of clubs, jobs, activities, and extracurriculars for as long as I can remember. I hated being alone and I hated being bored. But I absolutely despised: doing nothing. It was weird. My anxiety and stress would skyrocket when I had nothing to do, and it was because I was not taking care of the problems within myself, but rather completing tasks on the outside. I did not want to face my own insecurities or thoughts. I didn’t want to be left alone with myself, the one person I should be taking care of and honoring the most. Meditation forced me to slow down, which was my biggest fear. It forced me to evaluate myself, my own emotions, instead of taking care of others or other things. I had to listen to me.
I still meditate at least once every single day. Sometimes for 2 minutes, and sometimes for 20, but the important thing for me is honoring myself with that alone time. Meditation taught me to clean out the inside to shine on the outside. It taught me to be present with myself and with this fast-paced, spinning world around me. It taught me to sit still and simply breath.
I encourage anyone and everyone to try meditation. It has absolutely changed my life, and trust me, it is normal to be uncomfortable at first. But, continue with the uncomfortableness. Welcome it in. Anything new is uncomfortable and growth is always through change. I linked some of my favorite meditation apps, music, and resources below. You deserve to honor yourself and listen to yourself today and always.