I learned about meditation during my first year of college. Our Psychology 101 professor included a meditation retreat in the list of activities. Students who can’t come were required to research meditation using books alone, no Internet references. I thought to myself meditation may help me control stress, thus reducing the chance of having seizure attacks.
You may have heard or read the benefits of meditation but let me still sum it up on this post:
✔️ gain a new perspective on stressful situations
✔️ manage stress
✔️ increase self-awareness
✔️ reduce negative emotions
✔️ increase imagination and creativity
✔️ increase patience and tolerance
Since I discovered meditation, every year from then on, I wrote on my new year’s resolution list to meditate for 365 days and every year, I fail. It’s been a decade, and I still haven’t meditated for 365 days straight.
The pandemic lockdown helped me achieve my longest meditation streak (so far) — 33 days of 22-minute (then 25-minute) meditation sessions. I’ve always meditated inconsistently but as the lockdown got extended, I became more consistent. In May, I meditated 29 days out of 30 days. On May 1 and then from May 3 to May 30 (then continued until June 5).
What changes did I notice?
As a freelancer with a flexible schedule, I have control of how my day goes; what I’ll do or how many hours I’ll work. Slacking off is common, but lately I’ve been more focused on work. I’ve been working 10-11 hours daily! Working for this long is not something to brag about, but I just can’t believe I’m getting a lot of things done for my clients. Before, I felt guilty for working beyond eight hours, and at times when I feel lazy, I’ll just stop working. Meditation (plus the lockdown) left me no choice but to make use of my time wisely and work.
Before working 10-11 hours, I would’ve finished a two-hour personal time already. My personal time starts the moment I wake up: I meditate for 22-25 minutes; read for 30 minutes, and train for 30-45 minutes.
Productivity is about work-life balance; it’s about getting all professional and personal tasks done.
I’m used to dwelling on issues, even the petty ones. If I place my pen on the table and it goes missing, I’ll investigate–ask people, look for it all over the house, retrace my steps–until I find it. But nowadays, I just brush off issues as if I have an on-off switch on my brain. Switch to ON if I should further care or to OFF if I should just ignore it.
Increased Patience and Tolerance
People who know me can attest that I am an impatient person. I’m hot-tempered, and I get mad even at the slightest thing. It’s a trait I’m not proud of, but because of meditation, I can control myself better. The other day, my boyfriend did something annoying. My old self would’ve gone berserk, but not anymore. I told him that I was frustrated, took deep breaths and explained why.
Sitting still for 20 minutes is not an easy feat, but it’s doable. Thinking of other things while meditating happens, but it doesn’t mean that you are “ruining” the moment, it means you are trying. Trying to control your mind to be at peace.