“The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.”
Last few days have been very difficult, mentally. I’ve been experiencing bouts of anxiety, sadness and despair. I’m trying to fight it with regular exercise and consistent meditation. These habits are a life savior as I’ve mentioned many times before yet I’m struggling to stay sane and happy these days.
The reason behind my anxiety can’t be pointed to one single event. I’m anxious about a lot of things mostly related to my future and the society’s expectations from it. My father is a super hyper and anxious stress taker and that doesn’t help. My mother is trying her level best to fight the naysayers and not let it trouble me but I know for a fact that it affects her badly. My existence has suddenly become a source of burden for my family as far as my age and marriage prospects are concerned. I really don’t know who decided to set an age benchmark to gauge the successes and failures in life. Whoever did it, their thoughts are redundant in the current day and age but very few people understand this. I don’t know what I should do to stop being a cause of concern to my family. Marriage is indeed a big event for everyone except the one who is required to do it without being mentally prepared for it. In the midst of this, I lost out on a good job opportunity and that just made the situation worse.
Trying to meditate, workout and journal my way out of this. I wish to document this as much as possible so that I feel an immense sense of gratitude when this difficult phase ends. Our human mind is quiet resilient, it tends to hide the traumatic experiences of life in a vault at the most remote corner of our brain to quicken the recovery process. But I would like to come back to these journals so that I know that I have to ability to deal with such situations in future too!
I wish for all of you to have an unlimited supply of happiness and inner peace!
“Life is short. We can live it lost in thought or we can choose to be present as life unfolds around us.”
Meditation! I must have ignored this important and extremely powerful habit for a happy mind all my life. I just couldn’t bring myself to stay still at one place and concentrate on my breathing. It made absolutely no sense to me. The biggest misconception that I had in my mind was that meditation was supposed to immediately calm me down and clear my anxious thoughts. That’s not how it works. About 4 years back I encountered a difficult situation at work. I had made a huge error and was petrified of the consequences. I was constantly anxious and my mind didn’t leave any stone upturned to churn out one negative thought after another. There was no respite even at home as my mind continued the negative thought pattern. That’s when I decided to give meditation a shot at calming down my mind. I could see a positive result from barely few days of consistent practice. While the thoughts continued to disrupt my mind, I was slowly learning to acknowledge them and let it go. I didn’t even realize when I did it. My anxiousness subsided eventually when everything got sorted out at work and not one of my negative thoughts manifested into reality.
I stopped practicing meditation the moment situations got better in my life and I technically didn’t ‘need’ it anymore. That’s where I went terribly wrong. Meditation helps in improving our overall physical and emotional well being if practiced daily. I have tried making it a habit few times in the past and failed terribly. In the past, I scheduled my meditation session at a time during the day which made it easier for me to delay it indefinitely. I made a small change in my daily routine to incorporate my meditation session, first thing in the morning. I start my day with a 20 min meditation session every morning and carry on with my daily activities after that. This schedule has worked pretty well for me in the last 12 days and I feel great. I’ve noticed a decrease in my junk food cravings as I am able to not dwell on those thoughts for long. I’m pretty excited to experience the long term benefits of this powerful new habit in my life.
There are various ways to meditate, I personally use a guided mediation application called ‘Headspace’. The techniques shared in the application are easy to follow and the video animations are catchy enough to sustain my attention. In the initial days I had to force myself to sit at once place quietly and meditate. It sure has gotten easier over time and scheduling it first thing in the morning has been extremely beneficial in being consistent at it.
Apart from reducing anxiety, stress and calming the mind, the long term benefits of meditation include better emotional health, an increased sense of self awareness, improved attention span, helps in fighting addictions as well as improved sleep. This habit seems like a long term investment with no immediate rewards but I surely want to continue long enough to reap it’s benefits in the future. Making it a daily habit surely helps in being consistent.
It’s been a while since I started having second thoughts and a feeling of extreme dissatisfaction with my career choice. As a kid, my only goal in life was to become a doctor. I really didn’t have an introspective, deep reason behind it. During my childhood, becoming a doctor was held in high regards by the society, the child was presumed to be intelligent and on the right path. The society’s thoughts completely influenced my decision. No matter who asked a question about my future career choice, my answer always remained consistent, “doctor”.
When it was time to select the stream for my further education, my marks fell short for “Science” stream in the college of my choice. I ended up selecting “Commerce” in the same college without being forced or guided by anyone. My mother would have wholeheartedly supported my decision no matter my choice. I feel like “Commerce” chose me instead of it being the other way around. My life started becoming simpler once I went with this choice.
Now 8 years later, my brain somehow keeps telling me that I hate this field, my profession, my career and life. No one forced me to do this yet I act like a victim in the clutches of my life’s situations. I have always kept a firm belief that life keeps ‘happening’ to me rather than being in control of it. That’s an easy way to escape from the reality than owning up to it and taking responsibility for each of our life’s choices.
I had an aha moment today. I always felt that my life would run it’s course in my 9 to 5 corporate job and I’ll end up being the person who only has regrets in their old age. But I don’t have to do this all my life, I don’t “have” to do anything in life forcefully. I can work for few years and figure out what I really want to do next. I can save up enough for an early retirement and just travel the world. I can work on creating an alternative source of income and quit my job. I can do anything, I can be anything in life. The only constant in our life is “change“, everything else is temporary. Why on earth am I suffering today, struggling to be happy today, stressing about my future that has’t panned out or won’t necessarily pan out according to my imagination?
I have stressed about this way too much and couldn’t help but smile after having my aha moment today. It was this simple. Time to take a chill pill and enjoy my life.