There are countless benefits to meditation: improved heart rate, immune system, energy level, decreased blood pressure, increased focus and mental strength, improved memory, decreased anxiety and depression - the list goes on and on.
It is scientifically proven that meditation is good for the mind, body, and spirit, I don't doubt that whatsoever. But I'm still nervous to take up the practice.
As someone who contends with anxiety on the regular and has dealt with bouts of depression before, it feels daunting to sit alone with my thoughts. Or rather, to try and clear my thoughts.
For me, I often feel like I can't turn my mind off. I have difficulty shutting down my thoughts and relaxing at night when I try to sleep. And I find that the more I think about it - that is, thinking about trying not to think - the more difficult it is.
So that's why meditation scares me.
Does that mean I'm someone who desperately needs meditation to help clear my head and reduce my anxiety? Probably, definitely. That doesn't make it any easier, though, or any less intimidating. Perhaps it's the fear of failure. The notion that I won't be good at meditating that also stifles me.
I wonder, if I'm in a meditation class, will I be the only one constantly thinking about trying not to think and yelling at myself in my head to be quiet? Or if I'm trying to practice at home by myself, will I even be doing it right?
I've been told that all of this is normal, and that the practice of meditation is a journey in and of itself. Everyone strives to clear their minds, but plenty also struggle and have to learn to do so and get better at it along the way.
Living in New York, there are plenty of guided group meditation classes available for me to join - it seems plenty of New Yorkers find that they need to set aside time to clear their minds and work on balancing themselves (hooray I'm not the only one!). And there are numerous Apps to download as well for meditating at home: Headspace, Meditation Studio, Calm, Insight Timer; Stop, Breathe & Think, and OMG. I can Meditate! - to name just a few.
So I know it's available and doable. I just have to set the time aside and commit to taking up the practice while acknowledging and (hopefully) accepting that it's okay to be nervous in doing so.
Here's my challenge for myself and any reader who finds themselves feeling similarly to me: We will take up daily meditation for the next two weeks - it can even be just 10 minutes a day. After those two weeks we'll register any noticeable differences we feel, and if we have found it helpful.
Even if no one else ends up doing this challenge with me, I'll feel better at least pretending that I'm not doing it by myself. Side note - please don't make me do this by myself guys.
Okay! I'll check in with you all in two weeks and you can comment below the post with any changes you have or haven't felt during your meditation challenge!