• Sandra Jojo

I Meditated For 250 Days And Here Is What Happened

Buddha was asked: “What have you gained from Meditation?” He replied: “Nothing.” “However”, Buddha said, “let me tell you what I lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old, Age, and Death.”

Winter Morning in Little France, Edinburgh

Today, 29th of December, it is a beautiful winter day in Edinburgh. As I walk around my area and enjoy the first snow, I begin to reflect on 2020. What a year it has been. Where do I begin? Numerous cancelled trips, not being able to see my friends and family, self-isolating on my own and then being let go of a job which I have dedicated 6 years of my life. Normally, at this point I would be in a complete panic trying to figure out how to pay my mortgage, start my career from square one and worry how not to go crazy without seeing my loved ones, but enough about me.

How is Mental Health Being Affected by the Pandemic?

Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh

It is important to acknowledge how many people have experienced loneliness, depression, and anxiety due to constant lockdowns and restrictions in 2020. For example, more than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) reported feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most common issues affecting well-being were worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%). What are the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety? How to cure boredom? In this blog post, I will talk about meditation - a new habit that changed my life for the better. I have now been meditating every day for over 8 months. I will share my experiences with you because I strongly believe that meditation improves mental health and helps manage negative emotions, such as anger and fear.

Why Meditation is a Keystone Habit that Can Change Everything?

Enjoying First Snow in Edinburgh in 2020

2020 have brought some of the most challenging moments of my life, but this time something was different. My reaction to these difficult circumstances was different. In the end of March, since all this craziness started, I have created a new habit. I have started meditating first thing in the morning for 15 min. At first, I had a goal to continue meditation practises for 30 days but then a month has passed, and daily meditation practise has become an important part of my daily routine which I continue to this day. I have noticed many positive changes in me, my attitudes, and my capability to cope with stress and negativity. I believe that meditation is something anyone can learn to experience a positive change. You don’t have to meditate for hours every day to reach results. For me, 15-20 min of meditation every day is more than enough to train my mind to find that inner calm in difficult situations.

Jay Shetty Guided Meditations

I love guided meditations and my personal favourites are Jay Shetty live meditations. He used to broadcast live meditations on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram which were attracting over 10000 people all over the world. It was an amazing experience to know that you meditate with such a huge number of people at the same time. A sense of connection and togetherness made the whole experience even more powerful. He has then published all his meditations in Genius Community website where you can access and practise them at any time. Jay Shetty live meditations are also available in his YouTube channel. Jay Shetty has recently published his first book Think Like a Monk which I am currently reading. Think Like a Monk book has so many practical tips to improve your mental health, relationships and find purpose and meaning in what you do in life.

What Changes Have I Noticed after Meditating Every Day for over 8 Months?

Here is my list of benefits of meditation:

  1. Helps you become more mindful: meditation helps to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. I noticed that it helps to fully immerse myself in a present moment no matter if it’s something simple like enjoying my morning coffee, refreshing shower or watching the sunset from home.

  2. Changes your reaction to negativity: meditation helps me understand that I am in control of my mind and I can choose where to focus my mental energy. For example, I can choose to be affected by some unpleasant comments I heard at work or I can choose to focus on my accomplishments that day. For me, it becomes easier to focus my conscious mind on things I desire rather than things, I fear.

  3. Protects you from toxic relationships: once you meditate regularly your mind becomes so clear that you finally realise your personal values, beliefs and attitudes. You understand the meaning of true friendships and it becomes easy to let go of toxic people in your life who simply don’t share the same values and may have a rather negative effect on your life.

  4. A tool for anger management: meditation helps me control my temper. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools for cultivating self-control. Actually a study published in February 2016 in the journal Consciousness and Cognition suggested that meditation may help people cope with anger after just one session.

  5. Heightens intuition - a calm mind actually resonates at a frequency conducive to the flow of intuition. Meditation practises helps me pause my analytical mind and let the subconscious mind be. It helps free the mind from the chaos of the day and tune into my intuition, which is powerful in guiding me when making difficult decisions.

  6. Improves sleep – I have always struggled to fall asleep before midnight. After meditating regularly for a couple of months I have noticed that my sleep pattern has improved. Meditation may also help you sleep better if you practise it before going to bed. As a relaxation technique, it can quiet the mind and body while enhancing inner peace.

  7. Develops gratefulness – in 2020 people have lost loved ones, jobs, homes. During this year I have learned not to take things for granted. Meditation has helped me to be fully grateful for my health, my family and friends, my home and for simple everyday things like sun, fresh air, water. For me, meditating on gratitude brings in feelings of heightened positivity and an elevated sense of well-being.

  8. Reduces levels of stress - managing stress is important for overall health. One way to do this is to practice meditation. Meditation is the road to controlling your thoughts without letting them control you. This eventually leads to a cascade of events that have all the positive effects on your body, mind, and soul including managing stress and anxiety. In fact, a study conducted on more than 3500 adults showed that meditation does live up to the claim for stress reduction.

  9. Enhances your attention span – I have noticed that I was able to focus longer on a task than before. Since I was little, I always struggled to focus on thing at a time because I was easily distracted and quickly got bored. Since I started meditation, I have an improved ability to stay focused on a particular task and remember the details better.

  10. Meditation generates kindness – by practising ‘loving-kindness’ meditation you can strengthen the feelings of kindness and warmth for yourself and others around you. Initially, you break the barriers that prevent you from being kind and forgiving to yourself. You then extend this kindness and forgiveness towards friends, family, acquaintances, and even people who caused you pain in the past.

I hope you enjoyed this article about 10 benefits of meditation. I recommend starting meditation practises a couple of times a week for 5-20 min and see how you feel. The more you practise, the quicker you will feel the results. Meditation can open your mind and change your perspective on life in subtle and not so subtle ways, leading to major shifts in your behaviour. Looking after our mental health can develop positivity, compassion and kindness that is so much needed in our world during a global pandemic. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and abundant 2021! Lots of love from Edinburgh, Scotland.

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