The last couple months I have stepped back from social media to focus on my photography and realigning my goals for the following year. Its easy to get discouraged when things are not going how you want them too, or wondering if you'll ever be good enough to achieve your dream. I knew with these feelings I had to re-set and re-focus my energy. Thoughts have the power to destroy you if you don't know how to cope with them. My journey with meditation has given me my power back. It has taught me to control my emotions, feeling, and thoughts. I know there are a lot of skeptics, because in fact, I was one. A BIG one. I thought meditation was a bunch of BS. I thought I sucked at it because I couldn't sit still for more then a second. I was convinced it wasn’t for me. But last year I hit rock bottom. I went through some pretty big life changes with my parents separating, moving three times, and completing a new major in my last year in school. I felt small, not good enough, and I had anxiety attacks almost daily. 2017 was the worst year of my life and the best year for growth. That year I finally said enough is enough and I ACTUALLY made my self-care a priority. I researched, I downloaded apps, and read many books on meditation, self help, and positivity. Many of them in the past year have changed my life remarkably. I was the most negative person I knew and I hated that I continuously let myself feel that way. I kept it together enough to bring positivity to my family, friends, coworkers, and clients. However, I was broken inside. Meditation is a way to cope with my feelings so they do not have control over me anymore. It wasn’t until I learned that meditation was about changing your relationship with your thoughts and dealing with your emotions exactly as they are in the present moment.
Here is what I’ve learned about meditation, and how it has changed my life for the better:
1.Meditation is about stepping back, witnessing thoughts coming and going without resistance
Originally, I wanted to find out ways I could get rid of anxiety and negative feelings. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to happen. It was after I came to terms that my anxiety will probably never go away, so the best thing to do was change my relationship with it. Trying to get rid of my anxiety actually resulted in my anxiety being worse because I became mad at myself for saying I felt happy but not actually feeling good at all. It was exhausting. Fake it until you make it, doesn't always work. Meditation started working after I stopped resisting my feelings and coming to terms with them. I came to understand that my anxiety is part of who I am, and its okay as long as I don't let it control my life. Mindfulness, is the ability to completely be present without resisting or trying to change anything. Letting your feelings be exactly what they are, and being curious about them. This allows us to notice our feelings but restrain from acting out on them irrationally. So do I still feel anxious? Of course, everyday. It just doesn't control me like it use to. I am able to step out of my comfort zone and have courage towards the goals I want to achieve without the anxiety being too overwhelming, and controlling. It doesn’t control me as much anymore because I am aware of when I feel anxious and to just let myself feel. I basically tell myself these 3 things when I feel anxious
- “Ive been here before, Ive felt this feeling before”
- (Breathe in) feel whatever you feel (breathe out) “I let it go”
-“Its okay that you feel like this, you know it will pass”
2. The Importance of the breath
By focusing on the breath you become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another. A lot of people think they are meditating wrong when they get distracted. However, meditation is actually about getting distracted and finding your way back to the breath. That was definitely me. I gave up meditation the first week I started because I kept getting distracted. I would get bored and agitated. I felt I had to learn more about it and why breathing was so important in dealing with your feelings. Obviously the breath is really important in meditation, but why? Being mindful of the breath connects us to our body and helps to develop deep insight to enlightenment. The breathing is a tool to help ease and strengthen the mind.
Here are 4 reasons why mindful breathing can help:
3. Happiness is a trainable skill
This is something I really needed to hear to spark an interest in meditation. I was that person who always thought I would be happy after achieving the next thing. I thought that once I was successful and established then I would be happy. However, that would be impossible with my mindset. Everything I achieved, accomplished, and created was never enough and I was never happy. I was never proud of anything I did because I was always thinking of the next thing I should be doing. I slowly learned that happiness is actually a trainable skill. You have to exercise it like you would exercise your muscles at the gym. Like anything, practice makes perfect. Starting out small, I would meditate and think about at least one thing that I was genuinely happy about. The goal is to truly think about things that bring you happiness in your life right now. This could be something that happened during day, it could be thinking about people you love, it could be a memory, it could be your dog, or anything that brings you the purest joy in your life currently. The best way to find happiness is to express gratitude for the things in your life. Write a list and every time you find yourself in a rut or unhappy just read it and think about those things. I knew in order for me to be the person I wanted, to enjoy my accomplishments, and to fight for my dreams I had to learn how to be content with my life now. Its something I continue to work on, but it has changed my life so much since I've started. I read a post by Richard Branson, and he said that he became successful, wealthy, and connected because he was happy. He goes on to talk about how we are told to finish school, college, get a job, get married and reach all these mile stones just to reach happiness. But thats a lot of doing and not enough being. Remember we are human beings not human doings. happiness begins with where you are now in your life. Do not forget to be present, and finding something to be happy about in the moment. Right now, I am happy for how far I’ve come with myself, and how much I have to share in hopes to help others.
4. Your mindset changes your entire perspective
Everyone has heard this a million times “a negative mind will never give you a positive life” 100% true, but a lot easier said then done. Anyone who deals with anxiety knows the struggle of trying to get out of your own negative head. A lot of us try to avoid, distract, and resist our thoughts, which only make them hit us harder later. We hold everything in, and then we break. . Once I let them pass, I sit still for awhile and explore my feelings. Why do I feel this way? Lets look at the other side of things? How can I handle the situation better next time? Meditation connects you to your feelings and helps you channel them differently. If I enter a meditation frustrated or anxious I simply call out what I am feeling. I focus on my breath and let the anxious or frustrated feeling fade in the background. Once the feeling is let go, you come to a place of stillness where you can rationalize your actions and change your perspective. Changing your perspective on your feelings and thoughts, changes your perspective on life and your reality. so although negative thoughts are still in the background, having a broader perspective on situations prevents the negative thoughts from having control of your reality.
5. Meditation helps you manifest the life you want
Clearing my mind and refocusing my energy has allowed me to align my goals and desires to fulfill the life I want. Every time I thought negatively about some aspect of my life I just thought I was being practical and understanding that its just the way life is. Thats the thing, people are so attached to the idea that “its just the way things are” and never dare to think big because its not realistic. However, your thoughts and emotions create your reality. Therefore, what you focus on you create more of. If I didn’t figure out a way to control or calm my thoughts I would have never pursued a lot things, especially starting a business or writing this blog post. Thats one of the most important things I’ve learned about the Law of Attraction, that you are what you think. I always use meditation to focus my energy and my thoughts so I can manifest the life I want. Ask anyone who has reached fulfilment in their life, whether its in their job, health, or their relationships and you’ll find that their thoughts had a lot to do with it. Your thoughts keep you motivated, and help you persevere through obstacles so you can be, and have anything you desire. Everything you manifest you have to truly want it, have purpose, and be willing to work for it. Getting discouraged or not feeling enough is part of the journey because your human and its impossible to be positive all the time. So feel what you need to feel in the moment. Scream, cry, or even punch a wall and then let it go. Sit down, close your eyes and remember why your doing everything your doing and why its worth it. Get excited about your life! Use your imagination to explore yourself living your best life and what that looks like. Then ask yourself how you can you live your best life in the present moment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most positive person in the world now but seeing how much my life has changed really makes me believe in the power of meditation. and the Law of Attraction.
6.Its important to take care of yourself first so you can help others better
I think for a lot of us we spend most of our time helping others before ourselves, which is great until we feel burnt out. I found that meditation has helped me take care of myself which helps me take care of others better. Most of us see self-care as a luxury so we never make it a priority. But imagine how much better we would all be if we did one act of self-care a day. If you really want to help others effectively, it takes a certain amount of energy and clarity. Meditating once a day (between 1-5 minutes) has allowed me to be mindful of other perspectives, and to give advice clear and with purpose. Whether its meditation, taking a bath, painting, or whatever your self care is, I encourage you to practice it once a day
Meditation has brought so much peace in my life already, and I can't wait to grow with my practice and become a stronger person. There is nothing more liberating than overcoming something that you've felt was impossible to change. I've embraced my anxiety, and accepted that its part of who I am. Although, it may come with some struggles it has taught me to accept and understand others, as well as be more passionate. I am going into 2019 excited about what SapsOriginals has to offer. I'm looking forward to not only growing my business but also with myself.