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My meditation journey

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

wikipedia

Before I suffered with anxiety I had never meditated or used any kind of mindfulness techniques. That was not something I needed and had never looked into it.

But then anxiety hit – hard. And whilst I managed to overcome leaving the house and being able to do things alone; travel by tube, bus and train were my Achilles heel. I had read articles about an app called Headspace, and I also followed a few people on Instagram who used it and said it was the best one. I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained so signed up for a free trial. For anyone who has never used it, firstly download it now, but also in a nutshell its full of meditation guides to help you destress, sleep, overcome anxiety all sorts of mental health issues. The guy who owns it and does the talking has one of the most calming voices ever. And it really did change things for me.
Having never done anything like this before I was sceptical and thought how can someone talking to you and instructing you to breathe and calm your body down help. But help it did. There was a certain guide I used for when I tried to travel by train, and it just got me to focus on my breathing and less on my surroundings which was what panicked me. And it really did work, before I knew it I was pulling up to my stop. I had blips and sometimes I could feel the panic rising in my stomach when trains got busy or stopped for no reason and I started to feel trapped, but I just focused on my breathing again to calm myself down. I stopped using it when I moved away from London as I did not need it anymore for travel (I can even use tubes relatively OK now for a few stops at least). Planes are still not my favourite but I have flown in the last two years and hope to again soon, I just end up chewing the ear off my companion!!! (Sorry J).

I have recently signed up to a new subscription – during lock down I was furloughed from my job and Headspace were offering a free year subscription for those unemployed or furloughed. Which I think is an amazing gesture from the company as mental health is SO important, and lock down has affected us all in different ways. I thought it would be handy to have, the app is still on my phone and I never know when I might need it again. Not necessarily for anxiety but for mindfulness, to just calm down and destress and to help me sleep as I have issues sometimes. Check out the website for Headspace and let me know if you have ever used it or want to give it a go.

On the subject of sleep or lack of, if I am worried or things are on my mind I can’t sleep. I have had insomnia episodes for years and it drives me crazy. After my step into meditation I looked up YouTube videos of guides to help sleep and happened upon one which I have been using for a few years now. I would say it works about 95% of the time. Very often, unless my mind just wont switch off, I fall asleep during it and don’t even get to the end. I wake up in the morning and think oh I did not even get to the walking in the woods bit! I cant really explain why or how it works but it starts by relaxing your whole body limb by limb and then if you get to the end of that you imagine yourself walking through this wood. I think it just stops me personally from overthinking things that might be happening in my life, switches off that side of the brain and just relaxes me. Then I fall asleep! Its not something that I thought would ever work for me but it does. I have linked it below if anyone wants to try it.

Another lovely health issue I have which all ties in with anxiety and insomnia, are migraines. I also have tension headaches which increased this past year and had a few recently too. Exercise helps and when I have a really bad migraine attack (cant function, pain in right eye, sickness, aversion to light type one) I have to take hardcore prescribed drugs. But I have been using them a lot less now as I was getting immune to them and I was hospitalised this year with a really bad one and was told I was using them too much. So I try and get rid of them with more natural techniques like warm compress on the neck, cold compress on forehead. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can help if they are bad. The other day after a bad migraine and I still had a niggle, I found a meditation video on YouTube for migraines and thought I would give it a go. I fell asleep during it which was very helpful and woke up with no headache. Don’t know if that was coincidence, maybe I just needed sleep but I will try it again and see if it works.

So there is my little journey into the art of meditating. You don’t need any fancy gadgets, any expensive tools or apps. Just google tutorials, YouTube videos and give it a go.

Have a good week x

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33 thoughts on “My meditation journey

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  1. Hi Angela. Very interesting post, thank you. Does meditation have benefits for people that don’t suffer from anxiety or have trouble sleeping? Is it something that you think everybody would benefit from?

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    1. I personally think it can be for anyone it’s not exclusively for people who already have issues. But everyone has mental health be it good or bad and taking time out of your day or week just to relax is good for anyone.

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  2. I’ve always wanted to start meditation because I have so much stress, even though I am still in high school! lol! I loved reading about your journey and I just might start meditation very soon!

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    1. It’s never too early to start taking care of your mind and mental health. School can be a stressful time especially during exams. I wish I knew some of these techniques when I was at school and college and even University i would have found it very useful x

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  3. I started a meditation app, too! ‘Waking Up’ I’m sure they’re all similar! I’ve been a little uneven with my daily meditation so this is a great reminder to get back into it. Thanks.

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  4. This is such a useful post that will be soooo beneficial to people who are struggling with anxiety. I started experiencing anxiety about 2 years ago – my usual symptoms are chest pains, shortness of breath and butterflies in my tummy. I started using headspace at uni and loved it. I also have a lot of trouble with sleeping to this day, so I’ll definitely try out some of the tips you’ve recommended 🙂

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  5. I’ve been doing guided meditations on youtube for a few years now and on some nights I don’t know how I would’ve got to sleep without them! I also love that they have meditations of literally any type, like ‘meditation for self love’ or ‘meditation for letting go’, I just think they’re amazing x

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  6. Love meditation. Great post! I get headaches often, not migraines, but still painful all the same. I also suffer from a lot of anxiety and meditation has helped me a lot. I love usually to find a nice spot outside and listen to something on YouTube or Spotify.

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  7. Stumbled across your blog while getting inspiration for my own. I’ve Always wanted to start meditation but with 2 small girls taking up most of my spare time it’s hard to find the right moment in the day & knowing where to start a tad daunting.
    Reading your post has given me a good idea of how to start my journey . Will Definitely try Headsapce and let you know how I get on.  Xx

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  8. Very informative. And thanks for sharing your journey which can inspire others. Few people are aware of importance of mental health. This is one of many other important benefits meditation gives irrespective of religion and region. Thanks again.

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  9. I have a ridiculously active mind! So I’ve been trying meditation but also find it really hard – thanks for sharing your journey 🙂

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