There's a time in everyone's lives that we feel the need to revamp our lifestyle. Maybe it was last summer or January, or more likely it's right now in quarantine that we are all trying new things to make our lives a little better. When unhappy with how I've been feeling I try to get out of it by starting to make some changes to how I'm living. A lot of the changes people tend to make include eating a healthier diet, buying a gym membership and working out, going to some type of therapy, or starting up a new hobby. All of these changes are positive ones that I encourage people to take on in their lives, but there is one change that a lot of people dismiss that I think could do a whole lot of good.
Meditation is the practice of focusing one's mind deeply or thinking deeply in silence or with some sort of chanting. In movies and tv shows meditation is depicted as a hippy activity where women in yoga pants and men with long beards sit in a circle with their legs crossed chanting "Om," but it doesn't have to be that way. Meditation can simply be you laying down and focusing solely on your breathing in silence or with a guide for a period of time.
Although I use the term "simply," meditation isn't always going to be that simple. It can be very difficult to not let your mind wander into a daydream, a list of things you need to do, or worries about the outside world. This can lead to some frustration, but many meditation leaders emphasize keeping that frustration at bay by recognizing that you've wandered, accepting it, and returning to the focus on your breath without any anger with yourself. A meditation leader once told me to picture my younger self and imagine her walking out into a busy street and rather than grabbing her by the arm, scolding her, and dragging her back to the sidewalk, instead walk up to her, put your arm around her, and calmly lead her back to the sidewalk.
Meditation can help you feel less stressed or anxious, it can strengthen memory and attention span, and it can increase self-awareness. Scientists have proven over and over again that meditation is healthy and beneficial in so many ways, yet so few people practice it on a regular basis.
I believe that this is because of the fast-paced society that we live in today. Our normal days are full of distractions. Everyone values ambition, hard work, efficiency, and multi-tasking. With the pressures to work hard and play hard as well as the constant distractions provided by the notifications on our phones, laptops, and more, it can be very difficult and seem very wasteful to take twenty minutes to sit and focus on breathing.
This is why quarantine is the perfect time for people to add the practice of meditation into their daily routines. Not only do most people now have the extra time, but most people are in desperate need of meditation and don't know it. The COVID-19 pandemic is hands down one of the worst things to ever happen while we've been alive. How does one deal with that? Many people are struggling with their mental health while being stuck at home worrying about the world around them, which is why a moment of focus on a simple thing like your breath or the voice of a guide can relieve some of the stress we are all carrying.
Before the coronavirus officially reached the United States and started affecting American lives, I was starting to feel like I was drowning in life, with all the things I had to do and worry about that all seem silly now. Meditation helped me deal with the pressure I put on myself and now it is helping me and can help you cope with the crazy world around us. Meditation can feel like a waste of time in the moment, but don't give up because I feel a little better about life every time I do it.