Fighting Stress and Low Self-Esteem with Meditation

benefits of meditation

My interpretation of meditation was developed through personal experiences and through my research of scholarly articles/journals on the subject. 

BACKGROUND

I’m sure you have heard about the meditation fad by now. If you haven’t, I’m excited to fill you in! Meditation has become a crucial piece of my overall wellness in the past year. Not only has it helped me become more in-tune with my emotions, meditation has given me an inner peace that I’ve never been able to access before.

WHAT IS MEDITATION

“Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed and inwardly focused”(3). When I first dove into meditation I thought it was just about quieting the mind and sitting still. To be honest, that seemed boring to me. I didn’t understand the process, the different techniques and the science behind it. 

There are many different ways to practice meditation, but most of them include these four elements: a quiet, undistracted area, a comfortable position, a focused attention and an open attitude(2). Contrary to what I formerly believed, there’s not one specific way to meditate. In fact, you are encouraged to practice in a way that best suits you. Try a restorative yoga class, listen to a guided meditation on your way to work or on a nature walk. Meditate before or even in bed, especially if you struggle with insomnia. Take advantage of quiet mornings and breathe for a few short minutes, the options are endless. 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH MEDITATION

My meditation journey started when I was at a very low point in my life. I was incredibly stressed, I wasn’t sleeping, I felt inadequate, and I couldn’t even express how and why I was feeling that way. I was so out of sync with myself, it was exhausting. Here’s the cool part. I wasn’t looking for answers, but the Lord was gracious and gave them to me anyway. I was listening to a business-oriented podcast and the two women on the episode brought up the subject of meditation. The way they were talking about it, the benefits, the healing powers, the ability for it to calm the mind and instill inner-peace and self-confidence, I wanted every part of that. Right then and there, I downloaded the app they suggested. 

Since then, I’ve been practicing with Insight, a guided meditation app, five mornings out of the week and my mind is the strongest it’s ever been. My stress levels have faded, I stopped worrying as much and I feel more in control of my thoughts. Oh, and as far as sleep goes, it’s getting there. I’m not saying meditation has fixed all of my problems, but it has certainly helped. 

Below are a few guided-meditation classes on the Insight App.

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I’m working through the course titled Coming Home to Yourself, by Sarah Blondin. Sarah is a trained meditation teacher, and although I’ve never met her in person, she has helped me relearn to love and respect myself. It has been an incredibly freeing experience. Simply being able to address the root of my emotions and self-doubt has been eye-opening. In the past, when I suffered from stress, exhaustion and low-self esteem, everyone around me was affected. I’m now able to label my exact emotions and quickly calm myself down when stressful or negative thoughts enter my mind. I honestly can’t recommend it enough! 

Today, people are dealing with crazy amounts of stress and negative self-talk. In the past week, I have had four conversations with women who are struggling with low self-esteem and I’ve encouraged each of them to download this app and try meditation. It may or may not work for you, but if you find yourself constantly in a mental battle, it’s worth a try. 

The way I see it, meditation is a workout for my mind. We spend tons of time prepping our clean food, eating well and working out, but how much time do you devote to strengthening your mind?

What mindfulness does is create some space in your head so you can, as the Buddhists say, “respond” rather than simply “react.” In the Buddhist view, you can’t control what comes up in your head; it all arises out of a mysterious void. We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The only thing you can control is how you handle it.
— Dan Harris, 10% Happier

I created this website for those looking to live a healthy lifestyle with the emphasis on making your health your own. Meditation is one of many tools I’m using to love and respect myself on a deeper level. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share what has helped me in regards to stress and self-worth. Please feel free to share what meditation practices have worked for you. I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate meditation into my life. Thanks for reading, Namaste! 

 

1. https://mindworks.org/meditation-knowledge/the-history-of-meditation/

2. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

3. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-real-meaning-of-meditation