Many people have told me about the benefits of meditation. I don't doubt their claims, meditating has proved to be helpful for mindfulness, leading a healthy lifestyle, and adding happiness to your life. It obviously brings so many people happiness and relaxation in their everyday life. I'm a very anxious person, and I felt like adding meditation to my daily routine would really help with my anxiety. So, when I started meditating, I was ready to reap the benefits it would give me. 

But, about six months after I started, I needed to quit. 

Meditation is so much more than deep breathing and "ohm-ing". Meditation is inwards reflection. It really forces you to examine yourself and face your anxieties, fears, dreams, and hopes, so that you can reach a state of peace and tranquility. You need to overcome all of these inner turmoils to truly reach a state of peace.

This was one of the reasons I stopped meditating. 

I would go into my meditations, ready to achieve clarity and awareness, and I would leave full of anxiety. I could not overcome my thoughts. There was too much in my head and it overwhelmed me. Of course, some days were better than others. I would have brief moments of complete relaxation. There would be nothing on my mind. And then, it would dissapear. Nothing made me more frustrated than when this happened. On the bad days, every bad decision I made seemed to come at me full force. I didn't know what to do, and I would end sessions early. This constant loop made me feel like I was making less and less progress in my meditation journey. 

Meditation Is Time Consuming

My schedule is incredibly demanding. I get home at late hours and have to wake up early. Any moment of spare time I have I try to fill with sleep, or work so I don't have to worry about it when I get home. Meditation is supposed to be something that enriches your day, not take away from it. Any moment spent meditating felt like I could be doing something much more productive, like working out or doing homework. It turned into a chore that I didn't look forward to doing.

When I stopped meditating, I felt like a failure.

I felt like this was another thing I couldn't take the time to commit to. I wondered if I was actually doing myself a favor by stopping. I waited for the revelation that meditation was actually doing good for my body. The ah-ha moment. As I waited, I did things that brought me joy. I wrote, I learned new songs on my ukulele, I made new recipes I found on Pinterest. Then it hit me, these things were my "meditation".

These things lessened my everyday anxiety, just by giving me something to do that I enjoyed doing. Whenever I wrote, I felt like I was enriching my brain and focusing closely at the topic at hand. When I learned new cords, I felt a creative spark light up. When I cooked, I was excited to add a new healthy meal to my collection. I didn't face my anxieties and fears and think about them, I just exorcized them out of my body. They didn't overwhelm me any more

I am not saying that we should all abandon meditation.

I am just saying it doesn't work for everyone. If it doesn't work for you, you are not a failure. It simply means that there is something else out there for you to help you face your anxieties and frustrations. Some people do stream of consciousness journaling. Some jog. Some knit. We all have our own way of dealing with life and reaching clarity. It's what makes us special and unique.

Will I recommend that my friends stay away from meditation? Absolutely not. Meditation is a wonderful way to work through life and calm one's mind. For some people, it's extremely beneficial. It allows them to look inward and examine themselves from a very personal standpoint. But, it is not for everyone. Next time someone suggests meditation, don't be afraid to try it. But, be aware that it isn't a cure-all, or a one-size-fits-all hobby. Take things at your own speed. Do what brings you joy and clarity.