A few months ago, my anxiety was at a peak. I was dealing with stress and dissatisfaction at my job and was stressing over money after having just moved. I’ve been a regular yoga practitioner for years, but never got much out of the meditation side of it.

But I needed something to calm me down. So I downloaded some apps to try and watched some YouTube videos of guided meditations. I also tried meditating in complete silence on my own. I started meditating in the evenings before bed. Then decided to start meditating in the mornings before work as well. I started out at about a minute or two each time. Then I got up to five minutes. Then I was meditating for ten minutes in the evenings and five minutes in the mornings. Sometimes a meditation was preceded by some yoga or exercise. Other times I was in PJ’s or work clothes fitting in a few moments of contemplation. And over time, I noticed myself just being calmer. I wasn’t rushing in the mornings, I was falling asleep easier at night, and generally wasn’t sweating the little things.

I’m not an expert on the subject at all, but I have some insight for those who have thought about trying it or have tried it but got frustrated when they couldn’t get their minds to calm down.

When I talk to co-workers and friends about meditation, they immediately tell me “I can’t meditate. My thoughts just start racing and I can’t get them to stop. And I can’t sit still for that long. I just can’t do it.” Sometimes that’ll happen and it’s okay. Do not beat yourself up for it and call it a failed attempt. The fact that you took that time for yourself means something. My thoughts race all the time when I sit down to meditate. You slowly learn to acknowledge them and let them pass by rather than turning your mind completely off.

Like anything else, it takes practice. No one is going to be a master in meditation right away. Devote thirty seconds to sitting in a comfortable seat, on a chair or on the floor, close your eyes, and just see what that’s like. Then up it to one minute, then a minute and a half, and so on. Don’t think about whether you’re doing it right or wrong. Just focus on the experience.

It’s your time. So many of us have so many things going on from class, to work, to household duties. We focus on doing things for others. Setting aside a few moments for yourself can be incredibly revitalizing. Whether you’re sitting down to reflect on the day, ponder a big decision, or you’re just letting your mind rest, remember that you are taking that time for you – for your mental and physical well-being.

Do you meditate? Have you ever tried meditation? What other activities do you do just for yourself?

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