I’d always viewed meditation as sitting quietly, not moving and not thinking. As a child once sent to the principal’s office for sliding down the newly polished halls on my knees, sitting still had never been one of my strengths. And so, meditation was just one more thing on my to-do list that would never be crossed off. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child, working full time, that I learned that meditation wasn’t just one more thing on my ToDo list, it was the thing on which my ToDo list depended. Meditation was what I needed to be the best mom, partner, employee, and person.
My view on mediation changed with my first pregnancy. I took a birthing class and realized how unprepared I was for all of this (giving birth), so I decided to continue taking birthing classes. I signed up for hypno-birthing. In that class, we were taught to visualize our babies being born, but more importantly, we learned to breath. I spent the last few months of my pregnancy listening to birthing mantras and breathing daily. I ended up having the baby early, but I was able to breath in situations that were critical during hours of labor. Learning how to visualize and breathe literally helped me to breathe through the pain of childbirth.
Over the last few years, I have had a second child, continued working full time – life never slows down. Because of that, I have found that meditation has to be made a priority just like any self care. To help me make mindfulness and mediation a priority I use an app (Calm) that not only gives me daily reminders to meditate but also gives me something different to ponder and process each time I mediate. I still do have to make a conscious decision to mediated daily, and as a result, I can often see lulls in the day as opportunities not to mediate by definition but instead breath in and out and appreciate the little moments. Calm doesn’t just do daily mediations, they also do sleep stories, and series addressing specific situations like handling stress or emotions.
Calm has just recently partnered with LeBron James and he does a series on training your mind. As a huge sports fan, this spoke right to me. There is one part of the series that really stood out to me as LeBron talks about a moment that I remember watching live and wondered what was going on in his head during the game. LeBron talks about a timeout in playoff game where he sat away from the team and took the time out to mediate. In that moment, he needed to quiet his mind to be able to perform at his best. Now I don’t have any playoff game experience (I wish!), but I know I have moments like this where the stress of a situation is overwhelming and I need to take that time to just breath and get my head where it needs to be. Meditation in my life has evolved over the years and will continue to evolve as life ebbs and flows. But one thing is constant, our ability to react to our situations is in our control and mediation only helps us build healthy responses.
For more about the scientific benefits of meditation, visit Nutrition Stripped.