I’ve always been an anxious person. The smallest things can set me off and make me feel praning—honestly, it has made everyday life so much harder for me. This ka-praningan, coupled with life’s everyday stressors, have led me to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms: alcohol, binge-eating, and nail-biting, to name a few.
Recognizing these unhealthy habits is just the first step to becoming better to myself. Actually overcoming them is a completely different story. So, here’s where meditation comes in. In the past, I’ve read that it can help with anxiety and stress so I’ve always been curious about it. After a lot of thought, I finally decided to give it a try.
What is meditation?
According to Headspace, an app that helps beginners get into the art of meditation, it’s about “training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective.” Meditation is not about clearing your head and becoming a new person. Rather, it’s about understanding your thoughts better by listening to them without judgement.
Since I didn’t know how to meditate and this is my first time giving it a try, I downloaded Headspace so I could have a little bit of guidance.
TBH, I absolutely hated my first session. I couldn't believe I was taking time out of my already busy day to sit still and listen to my annoying thoughts. On top of that, I was also distracted by EVERYTHING—the whirring of the electric fan, yung nagsisiga na kapitbahay, even the faint sounds of our TV downstairs. The 10 minutes I spent meditating felt like a lifetime, and it wasn’t life-changing.
However, I was determined to see how this will affect me in the long run, so I did a little bit of reading. I came across this article, and I was relieved to find out that “there's no such thing as good meditation or bad meditation.” I called it a day and made a mental note to try better the next day.
Day 2 to 3
It took some getting used to (and a whole lot of focus) but I think I'm starting to like meditation. For the past few days, I've opted to use Headspace's 10-minute guided meditations which aims to "cultivate focus, compassion, and a more relaxed mind and body." Throughout the session, I found myself reflecting on how stressful my life has been recently. I haven't had time to breathe because of some drastic lifestyle changes (aka my first full-time job) so I spent the next 10 minutes talking to myself and realigning my thoughts.
At the end of every session, the guide asks you how you're feeling, and I was surprised to see that I'm generally calmer than I was 10 minutes ago.
Not to brag or anything, but I feel like I’ve gotten better at this whole meditation thing. LOL, but kidding aside, I’m starting to see how it has helped other people.
Over the past few days, these 10-minute conversations have become the highlight of my day. The minutes I spent meditating have become the slow part of my fast-paced lifestyle. And I just couldn’t quite place it but naging mas mabait ako sa sarili ko because of these sessions. Maybe it’s because I’ve finally learned to listen to what my mind has to say, instead of tuning my thoughts out.
I have to admit that finding time to do it can be a bit stressful, especially on hectic days.
I feel like I’ve taken a complete 180-degree turn since the first of this week-long meditation challenge. I never thought that I’d learn to love an activity that I despised just one week ago.
I’ve learned to apply these mindfulness tricks to my everyday life. When I find myself getting anxious in the middle of the day, I take a break for a couple of minutes so I can subtly calm myself down. Because of this challenge, I will make it a point to try and squeeze in at least a few minutes of meditation because it has helped me greatly.
In the past week, I’ve learned to enjoy the company of my thoughts—filtering what’s good and what’s not was very helpful in this process. Thanks to meditation, I’ve realized that life’s stressors are inevitable—how you approach them is what matters at the end of the day.
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