Battling Worry with Meditation

For the last week or so I’ve tried something new. After listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast episode with Josh Waitzkin, I decided to try out a bit of meditation during my morning routines.

To get started, I’m using Headspace.

headspace

For ten minutes a day, I do what Andy says and I get a little closer to understanding where my mind is. Eight days in now, I’m starting to find in my sessions that the real value isn’t in the ten minutes of being calm but in what thoughts come up in those ten minutes.

An example: I’m more anxious about my fitness than I thought.

My CrossFit workout on Monday didn’t go as I’d like. I was upset while it was happening – I got over it afterwards. Or so I thought.

But this morning while meditating it just kept coming up. I could almost see myself panting on the floor of the gym.

The cool thing about meditation though is that thoughts like these don’t take over your mind, it’s more that you watch them pass by.

Imagine sitting on your front porch and you notice a blue car drive by and turn at the end of your block. No big deal. But then a minute late that same blue car drives by again. And again another minute later. The car is driving in circles – weird!

That’s what an anxious thought feels like when you’re meditating. It keeps coming up, and you’ll notice it, but it doesn’t take over your mind the way it does when you actually feel anxiety.

So now I’m back in my normal state, and I can logically think about this. What can I do differently? Should I talk to my coaches that I’m worried about how yesterday went? Was that workout just hard and any beginner would’ve felt the same? Maybe I’m not scaling back my workouts enough? Perhaps there’s something obvious I’m missing, like not enough fruit or water before the workout?

Those are next steps, not the worries of an anxious mind, and next steps can be acted upon.

If it weren’t fitness, it would be something else. Your mind isn’t static, there will be thoughts popping up even when you’re calm and meditating.

But consider this a new diagnostic tool for what’s going on in your mind. 10 minutes a day is a small price to pay if it helps you figure out what really is causing any worry, grief, or stress during all your other waking hours.

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