For the last few years I’ve made it a goal to meditate. I never actually did it. I think part of what held me back is what I thought meditation looked like. I saw myself sitting on the floor in a yoga pose, hands outstretched, trying to clear my head and getting distracted by everything running through my mind. I anticipated being unable to do it and I didn’t know where to start, so I never did. When I got the chance to partner with Headspace for a few months this past December it was the perfect opportunity to to give it a shot.
I know I’ve said this several times, but pregnancy hasn’t been easy for me. I’m sure there’s plenty of other women who feel that way. Right at a time when I was feeling like I had never been more in tune with myself and my body, I found out I was pregnant and everything changed. Of course being really sick was difficult, but in addition to that I felt like my body was no longer my own. Each day that went by something else would change and I’d feel like I was losing another piece of who I was. That probably sounds dramatic, and honestly it’s sort of hard to put into words, but I was constantly battling how my body (and mind) were changing.
When I signed on to my partnership with Headspace I decided to commit to meditate every day for 30 days. I knew I could set aside 10 minutes for myself, and I’m really happy to say that I did. In the beginning I found myself getting distracted or sidetracked, but the more I did it, I noticed I could get through a meditation focusing on exactly what I was doing in that moment. It wasn’t some big aha moment or monumental change, but a gradual shift in how I re-connected with myself and went about the day. Here’s what I’ve learned from meditating every day for the last month.
My takeaways from meditating every day for a month
it doesn’t have to look a certain way
The thing that held me back from meditating the most was what I thought it had to look like. Think a quiet room, sitting in a yoga pose with my hands outstretched, eyes closed, breathing and a light beam shining around me. I know that sounds ridiculous but it was my preconceived notions of meditation that kept me from trying it. Once I just sat down with the Headspace app and did the first session I realized meditation can look however you want it to.
I developed a greater sense of awareness
Practicing visualization in the pregnancy course helped me gain a greater sense of awareness. I started noticing so much more about my behavior, thinking and habits. I started to be more present throughout the day. As I developed better awareness I think it also helped me feel more connected to myself again. It gave me a greater sense of control about how I felt, even if I was uncomfortable or anxious.
I rely on my phone as a distraction
With greater awareness came the realization of some of my bad habits. I know I’m on my phone too much, but I didn’t realize how much of a crutch it is in my everyday life. I couldn’t believe how often I would reach for it throughout the day as a distraction (and often times it’s not a good distraction). As I noticed that behavior I started to meditate or practice visualization even if it was for a few short minutes, instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or checking my email for the millionth time. I am SO much more productive because of it.
i’m more likely to feel happy
Practicing visualization reminded me a lot of the techniques I learned when I did bio-feedback as a kid for migraine treatment. I’m actually really excited that it has become almost second nature at this point because I plan to try and employ those tactics when I go into labor. Identifying the moments, places, people, sounds, etc. that make me happy and being able to visualize those things is really powerful. When I focus my mind on them it naturally affects how I feel physically.
focusing on myself helps me focus on others
Practicing meditation has impacted a lot of things for me, patience, happiness, awareness, etc. Giving myself those 10 minutes a day has not only helped me connect with myself and how I’m feeling, but it has made me more in tune with others, including the baby I’ve been carrying for 9 months. It has made me a better listener and particularly at a time when I feel more sensitive and vulnerable it has helped me be less reactive and more calm in difficult situations.