Treat yourself to hugs!
It was a bright sunny day and we opened our inbox to find a mail from someone (name withheld) who showed great courage to open her heart out and share her story with us which we believe so many of us out there can relate to and draw inspiration from. After struggling with anxiety for years, she took up meditation and is gradually discovering a new way of life filled with calm, patience and acceptance.
Why did you start meditating?
Winter, anxiety and sad (seasonal affective disorder) that started hitting me when I was a teenager, plus the random lemons that life throws, felt very overwhelming. Before being aware of having any of that, over the years I have tried cutting myself, smoking, alcohol, drugs and excess to feel better, I just wanted the dread to go away, and to wake up wanting to get up. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t work. Went to the doctor and after finding out what I was dealing with, I read tons about how there’s no magic pill for anxiety. But it had started affecting my everyday life, so I decided to try something that literally could not cause harm, side effects or hangovers: meditation.
How has meditation helped you in becoming a better person?
Patience and acceptance towards myself and others. I’ve never been a very patient person. When I used to try something new, if I wasn’t good at it, within the first few attempts pretty soon I’d quit trying. And after that I would feel bad for quitting, and would believe I wasn’t good enough. Most days I am terrible at meditating. My mind rarely shuts up and it’s frustrating. But after 2 years of meditating on and off, I try to let myself be dreadful at it and smile about it. What is now important is that I took 15 minutes of my day to be completely selfish and look after myself. I tried to give myself a break from all the crap that’s going on outside, cause I deserve a break too! What if my mind didn’t go quiet today? Whatever, tomorrow might be better, and that’s a reason good enough to not quit trying. It’s like giving myself a mental hug, and I can do it as often as I want. Treat yourself to hugs! I’m also more patient in general, I get angry a little less often and don’t snap at small things as much. If someone is rude or angry I try to tell myself that they might be having a bad day, or going through a rough period, and try to not take it personally. Some days I’m not patient, and that’s ok too.
What made you stick to Aware?
I tried a lot of meditation apps, and the guide’s voice in Aware was the one I found the most calming. Also all the different types of themes you can pick! I tried the quit smoking one, and that helped me be 59 days smoking free today! Whoop whoop!
What has been your life-hack to make meditation a habit?
Do it in the morning. Harder to skip, and feels good to do something good for myself as soon as I wake up. Sets the mood for the day and prepares me to be patient with the lemons I might be thrown at today!
Share some tips for beginners.
After meditating, sometimes I felt confused about it, angry, frustrated and like it didn’t ‘work’. But when I skip days now I feel like something is missing. I would rather do a session that doesn’t feel beneficial than not doing it at all. It is always beneficial. Keep on trying 💪
If you suffer from any mental health struggle, remember that it gets better. It’s worth telling your doctor, or someone you trust. You’re not alone and you can get help. You are worthy of love, and if anyone ever makes you feel like you’re not, they are not worthy of yours. Also, it takes balls to ask for help. I promise you, you have them. Be proud of it.
PS: If you suffer from anxiety-
I got tired of anxiety cause it made me stop doing things I knew I’d love to try/do. So right now, every time I’m unsure whether to do something cause the thought of doing it makes me anxious, but I would like to do it, I try to automatically just do it. So far I went to a gig on my own and I was so nervous but I had the best time! I felt free and strong! Next thing I’m planning to try is go to a sober rave cause I love dancing like nobody’s watching!
Now for example I’m really anxious about submitting what I’m writing now. But you are reading it, so it worked 🙌