Okay.. it might be a bit of an exaggeration if I'd say meditation and yoga have changed my life. But it definitely improved it a lot. I have never talked about this on here and don't know if I will go into this in depth any time soon, but I have anxiety which leads to panic attacks quite a lot. It has improved over the years and real panic attacks have become rare for me, thankfully. But that doesn't mean that I am not constantly worrying and being tense about every single thing in my and other's peoples life. Of course, this is not healthy for me and also doesn't help the people around me. So I have been looking into a lot of different techniques to help me being calm and living in the present.


Meditating
In the beginning of the year I finally gave myself the challenge of meditating at least 5 minutes every single day. I have to admit I didn't follow through with it completely. There have been some days, especially on the weekends and on holiday, where I skipped it. But I am proud to say that I pulled through with it during the week. Even on days where I feel like I have too much to do and I am not in the right mindset, I will do at least 5 minutes. The longest I have meditated for was 20 minutes up until now. 

I know it looks and sounds easy. Just sit there and don't think about anything. But honestly it is so much harder and it is a real progress. In the beginning, you will feel like giving up a lot. You probably feel like a failure because your mind will wander all the time and suddenly you will find yourself thinking about tasks you have to do or the stupid thing you said yesterday. But this is part of the journey. Just think about your mind like a muscle. You have to train it. You won't be able to do 10 pull-ups the very first time you try it and you probably won't be able to have a blank mind for 10 minutes straight. I am definitely not there yet and I have worked on it the past 6 months. But don't be scared, there are different techniques to help you. Just look for it on youtube and you find loads. 

Here are a few I tried:
1. Count to ten with each breath and then count backward again.
2. Accept your mind wandering and if you become conscious of it just see your thoughts as a cloud which passes over your head and let it go (until the next cloud comes).
3. Concentrate on your physical emotions such as feeling the air filling your lungs when you breathe in. 


I use number 1 on days where it is very hard for me to focus. But trust me, even when you try to concentrate on the numbers your mind will still wander after some time. And again, that is totally normal. I personally feel like number 3 works the best for me.

I can honestly say that it hugely affected my anxiety. I feel so much calmer and I am more capable of calming myself down and staying present in stressful times. So give it a go. 

Yoga
The second thing I implemented in my daily routine is yoga. I started feeling like I wanted to do something more physical which I can connect to my little meditation routine. So I just started doing yoga routines before my meditation. I looked up a few videos, mainly from Yoga With Adriene on youtube and honestly just gave it a go. There were a lot of things I couldn't do or I felt just weren't right for me. Now I sometimes try new routines and sometimes I just 'freestyle' it. I basically evaluate what I feel like doing and repeat some moves I learned in the videos. I also have to say that I am probably not doing yoga 'properly'. I mainly use it as kind of stretching routine. I feel like my muscles are constantly tight from going to the gym and sitting on my desk a lot. So I am always looking for new yoga stretching moves which I also mix in with 'normal' stretching routines. Honestly just listen to your body and you will know what feels right and what you currently need. 

The fun thing with yoga is how quickly you see progress. You feel so much more flexible and suddenly you can do moves that were impossible for you before. That's so rewarding and motivating. 

I really hope this post was a bit helpful and maybe inspired you to look into meditation and yoga/stretching. I honestly can't recommend it enough.. even if you only have 5 minutes to spare each day. 

x Lisa