How Meditation Changed my Life

I had this idea of meditation in my head. It was an uninterrupted, trance-like state in a completely silent environment for at least an hour. Anything less than that wasn’t quite meditation, just quiet time. Oh, how wrong I was.

I started my meditation journey in 2018. Sure, I’d participated in guided meditations in the past here and there, but I never thought I did them correctly. When I downloaded Headspace, a guided meditation app, I found out that I was, in fact, doing them incorrectly. I wasn’t supposed to put myself in a trance-like state (or, rather, I wasn’t supposed to beat myself up for not reaching a trance-like state). I was simply supposed to breathe, acknowledge my thoughts and let them go.

I started with Headspace because it allows you to set the length of your meditations, it gives you tips and tricks regarding mindfulness, and it teaches you how to have an effective meditation session. I mixed those guided meditations with longer ones that I found on YouTube. I’ve recently downloaded Pacifica, an app that helps you track your happiness, which also has guided meditations.

Before meditation, I felt angry all the time. I’ve spent my entire life bottling up anger instead of letting it go. I vehemently don’t like it when the people around me have anger outbursts, so I do my best to keep my own under wraps. While I have pretty good intentions in trying not to take my anger out on those around me, bottling up anger can be detrimental to one’s health. After 28 years of it, I ended up constantly angry and snapping at people in uncontrollable moments.

I became the Hulk.

Once I started to meditate, however, I immediately felt calmer. I tried it at night, around 10pm. The house is usually quieter by that time, so I felt I could concentrate much easier. I chose to do five minutes, so I closed my eyes and did as instructed in the basic, introductory meditation. I concentrated on my breathing. If a thought popped up, I acknowledged its existence and let it float on by. I didn’t get angry at myself for allowing thoughts to pop up, like I would have previously.

The short term effects were pretty easy to identify. I was calm. I had let go of whatever was in my head, gnawing at my brain. It was easier to fall asleep. When I woke up, though, I was back to feeling the way I had been — irritable, tired and ready to snap at some terrible drivers during my commute to work.

Obviously one meditation session wasn’t going to cure my constant inner turmoil. So I kept going.

I changed my meditation time from before bed to shortly after waking up. This vastly improved my days. I was working an extremely stressful sales job at the time and found myself usually pretty strung out. Once I started meditating in the morning, however, I found that I was more equipped to tackle the day and all that entailed. Little things didn’t anger me anymore and, when I did get angry, it was easier to manage.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression. When I was 17, what can only be described as a hole in my chest had developed. It affected everything that I did, from falling asleep at night to going to school, to talking to my friends and eating dinner with my family. It wasn’t a physical hole, of course, but one created by my mental illness. It was constantly there, reminding me of my mental and emotional shortcomings.

I lived with this hole for 10 years. I didn’t know how to close it. I didn’t know how to feel better. When I started meditating, however, I noticed it wasn’t as big. It slowly got smaller and smaller. I can’t feel it at all today, as I write this. That’s not to say that it’s completely gone and will never come back, but I have days where it’s not there and that makes the days it is there more bearable.

Meditation helped me gain control over my mind again. It helped me to learn more about myself and what I need in order to be happy. It helps me let go of my anger and manage my anxiety/depression on a daily basis. It’s changed my life for the better.

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Vaughn Johnston

Vaughn Johnston

Creative writer. Review Writer for realwomenofgaming.com. Broadcaster on Glimesh (vaughn_hellspawn). https://linktr.ee/vaughnhs