Meditation and mindfulness are two topics that have interested me for a while now. Ever since Tim Ferriss mentioned in Tools of Titans that 80% of all the guests interviewed in his book perform some type of mindfulness practice daily, I’ve been experimenting with it daily as well. This immediately changed the way I saw meditation. It helps you feel more calm and has been scientifically proven to increase empathy, happiness as well as self-awareness. It also has physical benefits such as an increase in antibodies resulting in a stronger immune system. Not only do I think meditation is helpful, I think it should be mandatory. Especially nowadays in today’s overwhelming society full of Facebook notifications and Instagram DM’s, everyone should learn how to have a consistent source of relaxation always available to them. My practice has benefited my social interactions, my health and more than anything my mental well-being. I feel in control of how I feel and no longer rely on external sources of happiness.
Due to the fact that I’m only 17 it’s not like I was an alcoholic or anything but I do believe I had a serious problem relating to social media and my obsession with my phone and the opinions of others. My constant need for reassurance from others in the form of Instagram likes or Snapchat notifications was sickening and I immediately noticed how much bigger this problem was than I had thought. As a millennial growing up in this age of technology all I ever really thought was that everyone felt this way. Shortly after becoming aware of how consumed I was by social media, I realized that I didn’t want to feel obliged to waste my time, energy and mental well-being on something of such little importance. This isn’t a rant about how consumed our entire society has become by social media, instead I’d like to share my experience with you in order for you to better understand how meditation (or any other mindfulness practice) can benefit you and our society as a whole. In short, meditation is not a way to disconnect from the world, you do NOT need to be affiliated with any type of religious dogma in order to practice and you don’t even need to sit with your legs crossed. You can lie on your bed or even on the floor if you feel comfortable, although the best spot would be in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
Meditation can be done in many ways, vipassana, guided and transcendental meditation are among the most common forms practiced today and I normally resort to guided meditations through apps like Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer. More often than not the practice will involve focusing on one thing, mainly the breath, and coming back to that every single time you get distracted (which is way more often than you’d think). The most important part isn’t to never get distracted, the focus should be on coming back to the breath every single time you get distracted. That’s how you’re really going to build concentration and resilience in the face of opposition throughout the day. Everyone gets distracted and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of being human.
What I recommend doing if you’re willing to give meditation a try is to download Calm and try out their free 7 days of calm session. This is not sponsored in any way but it’s how I started and I’ve been practicing almost everyday for about a year now. In a very short amount of time you should begin to notice how much of an impact paying attention to something so minute and insignificant can affect your entire point of view towards everything that happens throughout your day. It’s also a lot a very hard sensation to describe so here are some of my favourite guided meditations and apps to help get you started: