My life was taxing me to the breaking point.
I was battling a health crisis, suffering heart palpitations from the stress I was under, and constantly staving off anxiety with whatever quick fix I could find — a movie binge or sugar or obsessive cleaning. I was impatient with everyone around me and my motivation for necessary tasks had disappeared entirely. I felt completely stuck.
Finally I made a visit to my family doctor and after getting a run-down of what was happening in my life, her only recommendation was that I needed to find some time in my day to meditate. I knew that was good advice — the benefits of taking the time for stillness and breathing weren’t novel concepts. But when it came down to it, I genuinely didn’t believe I had the time. The thought of trying to fit yet another item onto my daily checklist just exacerbated my anxiety which was completely contrary to the point of meditating in the first place. I was already exhausted all the time and felt run off my feet by my life schedule.
Then a funny thing happened. I thought about my children. Sometimes when I’m struggling with my own thought process I put whatever I’m thinking about through the filter of ‘what would I want my children to do?’ Because while I love myself plenty, I’m guilty of taking poor care of myself all too often. My children, however, get all the love and care possible and I do whatever I can to make their lives the best they can be.
The answer was easy: I would want them to put their health first and find the time.
With renewed determination I began to think outside the box. I kept hitting this thought of how tired I always am; how I hit my snooze button 3 times every morning and pretend I’m getting more sleep just because it feels so difficult to be awake (but really, I’m just lying there bracing myself for the next round of alarm sounds). There was my Aha! moment.
I did a quick search in my app store and found a well-rated meditation app. That night I spent a few minutes playing with the settings and got everything ready for my experiment:
When my first alarm went off in the morning, rather than hitting ‘snooze’ I would put my headphones in and go through a 10 minute guided meditation intended for the start of the day.
I would like to say that morning came and my zeal for my new plan let me wake up with a hint of excitement, but honestly I was exhausted like every other morning. However, I was determined to follow through on my plan. I put in my headphones and followed along with the meditation, visualization and breathing. As the 10 minutes passed, something amazing was happening. My mind began to feel awake.
The first day I definitely felt more recharged than usual, but where I really started to take notice was on day two. My night’s sleep was noticeably different with less chaos in my dreams, and it was a bit easier to wake up on the second morning. Several times throughout the day I found myself taking deeper breaths and my outlook was brighter.
Once I was into my second week of these daily morning meditations, the change was drastic. Not only was my sleep significantly more restful, but I awoke easily and could much more easily return to a feeling of calm within my body throughout the day. This meant that the anxiety I had been suffering from was rarely causing disruptions to my life, and one of the effects of this was that I no longer pulled my phone out of my pocket every 15 minutes to distract myself from my own thoughts.
I have continued this routine of early morning meditation most days and the positive effects remain. The fact that my phone provided this tool that allowed me to connect less with my personal technology and more with my breath and my life is a wonderful example of the asset we can allow these devices to be. That I was able to use my ‘snooze button time’ to access these benefits was just one example of how thinking outside the box and working with a possibility mindset can help us reach our goals.
We hear a lot about unplugging to recharge but in my case, being able to shift my life wouldn’t have come as easily if I hadn’t been plugged in.
Originally published at medium.com