A couple months ago I started meditating, and by meditating I mean a guided session at a yoga studio that very much surprised me, and sent me spiraling down the rabbit hole that is self meditation. My mind was blown, after closing my eyes, for what seemed like 10 minutes, the whole 45-minute session had already passed?!

I was obsessed, but actually going to these sessions was very sporadic and inconsistent in the following year. I always seemed to have ‘excuses’ — I was busy, too tired, too hyperactive, too much stress from work, etc. The thing with meditation though, you can get all the benefits without all the downsides you may think. It’s also free and doesn’t take up that much time from your day-to-day routine.

Once You Get in The Habit, You Won’t Want to Stop

The first week of beginning any new habit is the hardest, especially when it feels like a chore. I had to really force myself to start meditating, to be honest. But I realized by the second week I started to really want, and even crave, that sense of calm and relaxation that came with my daily meditation.

Once I was more motivated, I started to increase my meditation time from 15 minutes, to 25 minutes. I also added other mini-meditations that I found in’ The Tools’, a life-changing book with an easy, gratitude exercise, fills you up while grounding you at the same time. I’d do it on the bus, in the grocery store, or anytime I felt my thoughts and feelings starting to get out of control.

A Lot of My Time is Wasted Throughout The Day

My major reason for not mediating was time. Which, I know, is everyone’s excuse, but really once I started consistent meditation, I realized just how much time I was giving up to frivolous things each day: checking celebrity Tweets, binge-watching Netflix shows, and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Starting a regular meditation routine really forced me to really look at my day and say: “Do you have 10 extra minutes between waking up and winding down that you can devote to something healthy and helpful?”

The answer was always a definite “yes.” Regular mediators will tell you that it actually increases their production throughout the day. Science says that meditation boosts the self-control center of your brain, activating areas of your noggin that control awareness, focus, and memory.

Opening Up to Different (and New) Energies

I started to notice, about 2 weeks or so, into my adventure that I would get waves of tingles every now and then throughout the day. Relaxing zings flowed through my muscles, kind of like that body buzz you get after a good massage.

In Chinese teaching, qi, or life force, flows through the body along energy channels called meridians, and one of the biggest runs up the base of the spine. Experts claim meditation can clear out those channels and awaken the body’s chakras or energy centers, which is one explanation for the physical, tingly release that I kept experiencing.

What Works for Someone Else, Might Not Work for You

It feels pretty uncomfortable at first, but then you dip in an arm and splash some water on your face, and before you know it, your whole body is emerged, and it doesn’t feel cold at all. But to get to where I was comfortable, I had to navigate through some discomfort. Repeating a single word or mantra in my head only turned up the volume.

After researching different meditation techniques, I found what worked for me: When I focused on my third eye, it was as if the three ring circus of my mind went out of focus. The bears were still dancing, the fat lady was still singing and the trapeze artists were still swinging, but I was no longer caught up in the craziness. Since I’m a visual person, I also found another technique that worked: When I pictured breathing in white light, my thoughts seemed to vaporize.

Write it Out

Some swirling thoughts I were easy to watch float away, others took a little more coaxing. But I found a trick for those nagging thoughts: Write them down. At first these raging thoughts ruined my sessions, but then I started keeping a notebook beside me and quickly learned that putting them to pen and paper was the best way to get them out of my head.