“When am I going to have time to meditate?” I found myself saying recently, when challenged to take up the practise to combat anxiety.
I knew that meditation would help improve my anxiety, but I couldn’t really imagine myself fitting in daily meditation into my busy life as a mom.
I couldn’t get the science out of my head. There is a large body of research that points to meditation as an effective tool in combating both anxiety and depression. I knew that anxiety was a cognitive state, and that when I became anxious I was unable to regulate my own emotions and fears. Meditation is like working out the cognitive muscle that regulates my emotions. I needed to work out those muscles.
I decided to commit to at least one week of mindfulness and meditation. I downloaded a few meditation apps and began listening to them in the morning and in the evening, and found I craved those moments of quiet and stillness.
Meditation is a specific and measurable technique that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase your ability to process and engage with your emotions, and manage anxiety and depression more effectively.
The beauty of meditation for me has been that you don’t need a set-up or tools to do it. All you need is yourself and some space, and we can all commit to even five minutes of meditation, even if it’s before sleep.
I have been enjoying guided meditations through the Calm app that I downloaded on my phone, and have been noticing that I am calmer and less likely to blow up and lose control of my emotions. It is fair to say that I have become a more patient and nurturing wife and mother in the process.
I have also been using an app called Abide which is a Christian meditation app, and uses prayer and scripture verses to help you connect with God. I have really enjoyed this app and am noticing the verses selected often relate to something specific to my life.
I now feel like meditation is no longer an option if I want to have a day that is even-keeled and clear-minded. Even as I was writing this column, I was continually interrupted by my three young children. It took me two hours of interrupted writing to complete my short column, an annoying and frustrating process, to say the least.
Still, I managed to focus on my breath each time I was interrupted, and attend to the issue while reminding myself (and my anxiety), that there was no rush to get back to writing. When I would become a bit panicked I would ask myself, “What is the issue here?” and often it was a fear that I could face and reason with.
Through the practise of mindfulness and meditation, my anxiety hasn’t resolved, but it has improved significantly. I feel like I am more connected to my own inner thoughts and emotions, and this allows me to reel myself in when I begin to lose control and spiral downwards into panic and fear.
Now when another mom friend tells me that they feel overwhelmed, I’ll ask them, “Have you tried meditating?”
Motherhood and meditating tools: