Meditation is powerful. It can help you manage stress and relieve anxiety, which studies have shown has many health benefits. It can help you recognize and interrupt some of the “noise” in your brain that stops you from thinking clearly. It can help you perform better, enjoy life a little more, and generally help you feel better. I have known this for years, but had trouble getting started with meditation. I initially felt like many do. Meditation is for monks in Tibet or for people who burn incense on a regular basis. It turns out that meditation has benefitted a growing number of people, such as corporate professionals, athletes, military personnel, and every day “regular” folks. Once I dove in and gave it try, I had a few other hurdles to get over. On my initial attempts, I was expecting to instantly experience a zen-like calm but instead, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much my mind was racing. I quickly convinced myself that I was not very good at meditation and it doesn’t work for me. I later learned that some of these feelings are common and part of the process of meditation. Luckily, my frustration didn’t stop me from trying.
After a lot of searching, I found some resources that helped me understand meditation a little better and how it could fit into my life. The first is a book called 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris, an ABC news anchorman. It’s a great book where he recaps his journey from having an on-air panic attack during a Good Morning America telecast to finding meditation. It was an entertaining read and illustrated how meditation can work for regular people. Dan Harris summarizes his book and meditation in a rather funny interview with Stephen Colbert (see link below). Along with the humor, there is some good information about meditation.
Another helpful resource is an App I found called HEADSPACE, which you could download onto a smartphone or PC (see the link below).
HEADSPACE will lead you through meditation exercises and teach you about meditation as you progress. It’s easy and enjoyable.
Meditation can be thought of as exercise for your mind and just like traditional exercise, it is sometimes difficult to get started. You may feel like you don’t know what you’re doing at first, or you may wonder if will do you any good. In time, you start to feel the results and look forward to your workouts. Meditation can be the same. The important thing is to start.