I am constantly on the move. I am rarely sitting still, or just relaxing - either physically or mentally. I noticed that I was becoming increasingly stressed - I felt anxious and frustrated all the time, and I couldn't escape the mounting stressors my brain constantly reminded me of. One day I came across Colleen Quigley - an olympic middle-distance runner - and she talked about how she implemented meditation into her lifestyle and it is the one thing she can't go without. So, I decided to try it. I used the app Headspace, and sat down to listen to the first of ten free sessions.
I opened my eyes 10 minutes later, feeling more relaxed than I had felt in a long time. I felt at ease, as though everything was calm and my mind had stopped running at 100 mph. It was then that I decided I was going to commit to meditating for 10 minutes every day.
We live in a world that is constantly on the go. We champion those who are able to multi-task, go-getters who are adding more and more responsibilities on their plate, and others who don't waste a minute of the day to accomplish their goals. These qualities are not inherently bad; productivity and ambition are the drivers of today's society. However, as with many things, moderation is key. If we are constantly on the move, we will miss the life happening around us. If we aren't able to check in with ourselves, we are neglecting the most important person in our world - ourselves! We can eat all the salad in the world, get 8+ hours of sleep, and exercise daily, but if we aren't taking care of our mental health, then we aren't healthy. When we make the decision to put our self-care before every other duty we have in our lives, we aren't being selfish. When we aren't at our best, the people around us will suffer just as much as we will.
While I was meditating the other day, Andy Puddicombe, the creator of Headspace and the person who talks during all the meditations, said something that really stuck out to me: "Before we begin, think about who will benefit from a less stressed you." I had never thought about how, in taking care of myself, I can be a better friend, sister, daughter, coworker, etc, to the people around me if I take time out of my day to make myself a better person.
I am not saying meditation is easy, or that you will see a miraculous change overnight. But, if you make a commitment to yourself, that you are willing to set aside 5, 10, 15 minutes of your day to focus on your mental health, you will see changes in the way you interact with others, deal with stressors in your life, and how you feel in general. Meditation is exercise for the mind, and is just as important as exercise is for the body. Taking the first step in bettering yourself will inevitably better the world. Because you can't accomplish all the things you were meant to accomplish if you aren't in the headspace (no pun intended!) to do so.