This Mental Health Awareness Month I wanted to share how meditation helped me through really difficult times. Calming down doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Our mind plays tricks and we spiral down the anxiety lane, in some cases, this can also lead to depression, anxiety disorder, mood disorder, etc. It’s a habit you have to work on and more so it’s a practice. Practice because you can never perfect it. It’s one of the few things that aren’t competitive.
I hope that my story here helps you in your journey to find peace in life.
It was mother’s day 2015, only 6 weeks after my father passed away. I found myself all alone in a new city of Rhode Island, USA. I had just moved there, so naturally, I had no friends or family. I was in the DENIAL phase of grief, still expecting the phone to ring or my dad to text me.
I deleted my Facebook and Instagram and tried to stay away from other people’s happy lives. Due to visa issues and my dad’s last wishes, I couldn’t attend the funeral. It was way too much to handle! I was all alone in the toughest time of my life, loss of my beloved father and also my biggest motivator.
The ocean is always a great care for any uneasiness, outdoors in general, help in improving your vitals and mood. So that day, I went to the beautiful city of Newport, RI, US. I remember watching the big VOLVO Race sailboats. I sailed for the first time with a bunch of strangers. I took a lot of selfies and I tried to soak up the ocean air as much as I could.
Looking for Answers
That day when I came home, I really wanted to change how I was feeling, i.e. totally devastated. I had been feeling this way for almost a year, since finding of my dad’s terminal illness. Desperate to feel better, I googled the word mindfulness. I really don’t know what inspired me. I read about the famous Harvard study on this topic.
I read some more articles and an hour later I found, Calm the app*. Interestingly, that day I really found “Calm” in its truest, easiest and most accessible form. Hence started my journey of meditation and self-awareness.
One thing to note here is this app or lifestyle is not affiliated with any particular religion, sect or cult. It’s a scientific way to lead healthy & happy mental lives in this chaotic world. It’s based on the science of sitting quietly with your eyes closed for 10 mins a day and focusing on your breathing AKA meditation.
There is no right or wrong, good or bad way to meditate, every meditation practice is unique. In my opinion, it’s the art of accepting, appreciating and being.
Think about this, we are called “Human Beings” but when was the last time you accepted the present, didn’t think about the past or worry about the future? When was the last time you stopped and counted ten breathes and just tried to stay in the moment?
I am one of the most talkative people in the world, I use to have a very clouded mind and the most irritating monologue or commentary in my head. So trying to sit in one place was almost impossible for me.
I remember sitting through day 1 of 21-days of Calm* (meditation for beginners), I gave up in the first 2 minutes. It was absolutely terrifying, the act of not doing, thinking or saying anything. But about a month later I completed the challenge and learned a lot of tricks to stay focused on my breathe.
Calm’s host, Tamara Levitt does an exceptional job of walking you through “How to meditate”. She uses amazing examples from day to day life and helps you work through the difficulties of sitting quietly. She hosts a daily calm session and it’s incredible how helpful it is in everyday life. Little concepts, big lessons!
In last 3 years, I have completed about 500 meditation sessions on this app with a 60-day streak. It is not about the numbers or any kind of competition, it is about realizing the power of mindfulness.
It changed my life, I developed the most difficult habit of being in the present, worked my way out of heart-wrenching grief, and found high productivity levels in all phases of my life. Most of all it has helped clear my mind of anxiety, anger, and constant doubt.
Meditation is the keystone habit that helps me be the calmest version of myself.
So if you are going through anything in life including anxiety, grief, heartbreak or depression, I suggest giving this tool a try. Start with Calm or headspace or something similar and give yourself the gift of mindfulness. You will be surprised how it will transform you and completely change you in the time to come. Just work on it and don’t lose interest!
It is important to find why you are doing it, so write your WHY somewhere and see the incredible experience unfold.
*This is not a paid or affiliate post. I am sharing my honest experience.
Written with a lot of love by Prasha Sarwate.
Disclaimer: Anyone with mental health issues including the one listed above should seek proper medical support as needed. The tool or technique discussed in this post should not be used as a substitute for any prescribed medication or medical attention. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of using meditation with your medication.