At its core, meditation is a grounding and centering practice coming from Eastern philosophic teachings. However, I have learned that meditation can be an intensely calming and stress-relieving practice. I consider myself to be a somewhat spiritual person, and as someone who suffers from ADD, I never thought that being able to meditate was an attainable goal. I was proven wrong when a friend of mine and I took to Waikiki beach on a late Friday afternoon and he led me through my first ever guided meditation and my first ever successful meditation. Since that one Friday, I have been incorporating meditative practices into my everyday routine. I've noticed some pretty significant changes in my overall mental health and my general disposition. Although I am only a few weeks into my meditation practice, I definitely feel very different.
1. Decreased anxiety
Having just moved to Hawai'i from the mainland and having to deal with a multitude of issues since arriving here, I've noticed that a lot of my old anxiety habits began to worsen. I didn't feel generally anxious, but I noticed my "invisible" anxious habits began to start to kick back in, most notably lip and cheek chewing and nail-biting. Since I began a meditation practice of my own, I have noticed that the level at which I was biting and chewing has dramatically decreased. My level of anxiety has significantly gone down, and I don't feel it much at all since starting.
2. Decreased stress
After doing my meditation, I definitely feel super relaxed. I have noticed a massive decrease in stressful responses to stressful situations for the past few weeks as well. Since COVID-19 started, and school has been online, I had generally felt elevated levels of stress, but since beginning my meditation practice, it has definitely become much more manageable.
3. Quieted mind
As an ADD sufferer, I seldom experience a single moment in a day where there are no random thoughts or songs running through my head. I used to always have a restless mind, and it made it so difficult to actually enjoy the quiet moments in my life because my brain auto-filled the quiet in my head with noise. After beginning the meditation, I was actually able to experience a quiet mind for once. Even though it is only during the actual meditation, it is much welcomed and is so nice to experience.
4. Increased positivity
I am not too sure what exactly about meditation makes me feel so much happier, but I definitely feel a shift in my general daily disposition. I consider myself to generally be a positive person, but I've noticed that it's a new level of general positivity lately. I really enjoy having a more positive outlook daily, and I feel like it will only continue to improve.
If you are interested in beginning a meditation practice yourself, there are hundreds of guided meditations on YouTube, such as this one and this one. I do recommend starting small. It is a much easier experience starting small and building your way up to longer meditations.