It seems that everyone around me is practicing mindfulness meditation, which got me to search about what it is exactly and whether it really helps.
I remember about a year ago I was starting to feel a bit anxious about the direction I was taking in life, because I was reaching 30 and wasn’t sure about what I want to do. Because of the hype around mindfulness, I decided to start practicing it. I didn’t do much research about it, I just started. What happened next wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I became even more anxious and had a panic attack. The first one in my life. I started asking myself how this was possible. Why isn’t mindfulness helping me like it helped other people? I’ve been practicing it for a month and feeling worse compared to before I started.
But then I realized I was approaching this the wrong way. First of all, I didn’t do any research to understand what practicing mindfulness meditation meant. Secondly, it shouldn’t solve my problems and give me clarity about what I should do with my life. It’s a tool to help me with being fully present in the moment.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, to be aware of our surroundings and what we are doing. To not overly react or feel overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. The essence of it is quite sample when practicing: take a comfortable position, focus on the breath and if your attention wanders, bring it back. It’s the practice of not judging yourself or your emotions when your attention wanders. It’s the conscious decision to acknowledge the thought that arose and gently return the attention to your breathing. To observe the moment as it is.
If I knew this before I started a year ago, I could’ve saved myself a lot of judgment. I was constantly thinking I failed after every meditation because I allowed my thought to wander and couldn’t focus only on the breathing. A year past and I decided to try again. On October 1st, I began with a “31-Day Fresh Start: Meditate” mindfulness through the Simple Habit app. The meditation is only 5 minutes long and I do it first thing in the morning. I’m on day #22 and still going strong.
It’s much easier this time around. I’m conscious about why I started to practice mindfulness meditation. I don’t expect it to solve all my problems, but it helps me with breaking down how and why I react to situations. Realizing that not every action deserves a reaction. It helps me with being in the moment. Gives me a peace of mind. And it helps.