Baring My Soul: How Mindfulness Meditation Changed My Life
April 16, 2018
Many years ago I suffered a severe, all-consuming depression. My thought patterns became extremely negative which caused my outlook on life to become very bleak. My ability to maintain healthy, meaningful relationships was so severely impaired that even my family found it difficult to be around me. Quite simply, I found no joy in life – not in work, play or social events.
At this time, I was exercising regularly and eating a reasonably nutritious diet. While this was definitely helpful, it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the depths of darkness.
Out of sheer desperation I turned to mindfulness. I started practicing seated meditation with mindful exercises throughout the day. After 6 to 8 months of regular mindful training, my life changed dramatically.
Being able to tap into moments of clarity brought profound, positive effects that reverberated throughout my life. My physical health improved – both my blood pressure and resting heart rate went down, and I was sleeping longer and better. For the first time in years, I found myself waking up in the morning feeling excited about what the day might bring.
Thanks to my regular mindful practice, I now enjoy good health, contentment, and deep, meaningful relationships. I have an inner calm and a confidence that I would never have imagined possible a decade ago.
As a personal trainer, I gradually came to see that mindfulness meditation lends itself amazingly well to fitness.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. The goal of mindful training is to achieve balance – physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.
Many forms of exercise require mainly physical effort. Mental focus tends to be secondary.
Mindful training does both.
By focusing your attention on very specific elements of an exercise – on the sensation that is occurring when performing a repetition or contracting a muscle, for example – you not only develop your physical fitness but your mental health as well.
We live in a stressful, often challenging world. Maintaining balance is becoming more and more difficult – just witness the vast number of North Americans on some form of mood stabilizers. Mindful training may not completely eliminate the need for drugs, but it can definitely help – and in ways that promote health, wellness, and more connected relationships with the people who matter most in our lives.