Meditation and Mental Health

I’ve always had a rich inner world, or at least that’s how I learned to describe it from one therapist or another as we talked about my deep introspection and sometimes related difficulty with people or groups or social situations. I spend a lot of time in my head, and this is why I know, now, that I’ve been meditating since childhood without knowing what it was.

Where meditation really came into my life, still without a name I knew, was in my early twenties when anxiety struck and completely took over. For something like a year I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without a panic attack and a lot of coaxing from myself or a concerned friend. I couldn’t get through the work day without heart palpitations and sometimes crying in the back room. Over time, breathing techniques and visualizations, among other tools I discovered with support and on my own, began to lift me from this cloud. And though it no longer ruled my every day, anxiety became a part of my life that I mostly accepted as a fact.

And then finally, many years later, meditation completely changed my life. I was sitting in bed one mostly rare anxious morning and I thought to myself, what would make me feel better right now? What place could I go to in my mind where these awful feelings have no hold over me? Where something else fills me up with so much good instead? And somehow, I found just the place.

I haven’t been anxious since.

Now my eyes are filled with tears. I can’t tell this story without being so in awe of this healing of this thing that I’d accepted was going to be a challenging part of my life forever. I am not bragging. I am awestruck.

I learned shortly after this experience that this tool I’d created for myself among many others I’d used along the way were types of meditation and I set out nearly immediately to share meditation with others, especially with those who struggle with anxiety. It isn’t a guaranteed cure, of course, but it is a skill and a tool that will make an impactful difference in your life. What kind of difference? The best thing about meditation isn’t what it can take away from your life, like how I left a job I loved where I was addicted to hustle culture and burnout and my business partner was manipulative and abusive and stopped dating men who didn’t really want to commit. The best thing about meditation is what it gives to you in place of the things that you shed: Relationships that fulfill me. A healthy work life. A respect for rest. So much joy. And most importantly, that deep connection to myself that meditation had unknowingly given me as a child.

Meditation will allow you to know yourself, your truest self, and to live life from that place. This alone is miraculous.

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I invite you to ask yourself what you know about meditation and how you might learn more, what beliefs you may hold about meditation that may be myths or misconceptions, and what place meditation could have in your life. Or another way to ask that might be: Where do I have room

to heal? How might a deeper connection to myself, to my truth, change the way I live? Am I ready for my own miracle?

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