5 Amazing Ways How Meditation Changed My Life

how meditation changed my life

Thanks for coming to read about how meditation changed my life! Perhaps you’re curious about meditation, or you’re wondering if there’s anything you can gain by meditating. Although there’s already a lot of information out there about all the wonderful benefits of meditation, I wanted to share my own story with the hopes that it’ll inspire you to try it as well.

This is a very personal experience, and there are TONS I can say. But first, here’s a table of contents for a quick overview of what to expect in this post. Feel free to read everything from start to finish or click around to the parts you’re most interested in.

Why I Started Meditating

  • My mom recommended that I start. Her face looked brighter, and she explained what had changed for her after only two months of meditating. I was especially intrigued when she told me she could eat three meals a day without getting sick. We both had digestion problems back then and couldn’t eat three proper meals a day. Since we always had upset stomachs, my mom barely ate one meal a day and I was also on my way down from two to one.
  • I had a chronic headache since middle school, and no one could figure out the reason why. I gave up trying to figure it out and sucked it up, assuming I’d live with the headache my entire life.
  • For some reason, I always sighed. And I had no idea I did it. People often asked me, “Hey, are you okay?” or “What’s wrong?” When I replied that I was perfectly fine, they all explained, “But you just sighed,” or “You’ve been sighing.”
  • My relationship with my dad was also a complete mess. He enforced strictly Korean values and concepts at home, which clashed with the culture I learned at school and resulted in a lot of conflicts (was born in the US). The relationship deteriorated so much that by the time I was a senior in college, I had begun ignoring my dad’s existence altogether.
  • I was lost in life. It was time for me to go out into the real world, but I didn’t have the slightest clue about what to do with myself. I didn’t want to go to grad school because I’d been in school my entire life at that point, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of work I wanted to do either. So while my friends applied for internships or grad school, I decided to go to Korea to teach English and buy myself some time before choosing a career path. And that’s when I began meditating.

5 Ways How Meditation Changed My Life

how meditation changed my life

Improved Health and Wellness

Well, as you might have already guessed based on the list above, the first thing that changed was my health. After about a month of meditating for an hour or two nearly every day, I suddenly realized that my head no longer hurt. For the first time since I could even remember, my head felt comfortable. No more pressure, no more throbbing.

Once I became aware of this, I noticed everything else. Things had changed so naturally that I didn’t even realize them: I could also eat three meals a day without an upset stomach. And I stopped sighing.

I realized all of these problems were because I had been suffering from a lot more stress than I was aware of. Once these physical inconveniences disappeared, I finally got a glimpse of all the mental baggage I’d been carrying in my mind my whole life. This allowed me to start chipping away at everything and gradually lighten my load.

Better Relationships

The first relationship that improved in my life was with my mom, surprisingly. Looking back, she and I ended up fighting every time we talked, even though it was never our intention. In fact, I had made an emotional decision to move out of state to the opposite corner of the country for college after one of our arguments. Maybe it also helped that my mom was meditating with me, because we pretty much stopped fighting a few months after I began meditating.

Next, yes. My dad. He and I were never very close to begin with, so we didn’t become super friendly with each other. However, I did stop ignoring his existence. I wasn’t comfortable enough to have any playful interactions with him, but we could at least hold brief conversations. Fortunately, meditation enabled me to make amends with my dad before he passed away, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

And of course, relationships with many, many other people. As I became more comfortable in my own skin, I became more accepting of other people, which led them to feel more comfortable around me also.

Self-Acceptance

I didn’t notice until well into the meditation journey that I hated myself. This is probably the biggest way how meditation changed my life. I was always critical of myself, my background, my upbringing, my heritage, my DNA… everything about me. The funny thing is that I didn’t even know I refused to accept myself as I was until maybe my 6th or 7th year since starting to meditate.

After a few more years of self-loathing and meditating to change everything about myself into what I wanted it to be, I finally realized I was approaching meditation the wrong way. The self-reflection involved in meditation wasn’t about looking back on everything that was wrong with me. It was about understanding and recognizing what kind of person I was, what tendencies and habits I had, etc., and then simply accepting that as me.

Confidence and Emotional Stability

Once I learned to accept and appreciate myself just the way I was, I began feeling more confident putting myself out in the world. I also became a lot more forgiving and accepting of other people and the situations I was in. Finally comfortable being me, I worried less about what others might think or say about me, was not as concerned about how strange or awkward I might appear, and became less anxious about any mistakes I might make.

Simpler, Easier Life

With all these changes, my life has become so much simpler and easier. What I need seems to come naturally. Now that I understood who I was and what my strengths and weaknesses were, I was also able to leverage this knowledge about myself to better adapt to my surroundings and my world. Knowing my limitations helped me make more realistic, achievable goals. Awareness of any negative or harmful habits prompted me to start making productive changes in myself and my life.

And More…

There are so many more ways my life changed and is changing thanks to meditation. I will update this list as more come to mind.

One thing to know, though, is that none of these changes are perfect. I still have quite a ways to go in all these aspects, because my life and meditation journey are still works-in-progress.

Meditating Wasn’t Always Easy

Despite all the ways how meditation changed my life wonderfully, it wasn’t all fun and games. It was difficult. The method was simple, but my mind made it complicated. Here are some challenges I faced along the way:

  • Increased self-awareness brought some ugly parts of myself to light, prompting me to hate myself even more sometimes.
  • Conflicts with meditation guides in the program I followed, especially the Korean ones. I realized this was largely rooted in my culture clashes at home with my parents.
  • A deeper experience of emotions that had accumulated inside me—especially the “negative” ones like sadness, depression, and anxiety. As the many feelings in my mind surfaced, I found myself re-experiencing a lot of them quite strongly because I was reflecting on all of them at once (compared to only experiencing one instance at a time as my life progressed, haha). It was kind of a painful process until I finally became able to look back without feeling the emotions again.
  • Time and patience. I wanted immediate gratification, but it’s not really possible to be completely free of all the things in my mind only after a few years of meditation. After all, I’d spent my whole life accumulating all these thoughts and feelings, and a few years of meditating a couple of hours (at most!) a day doesn’t really stand a chance against a whole lifetime of experiences.

Tips to Overcome Challenges in Your Meditation Journey

  • Find a meditation mentor or guide. There was only so much I could achieve alone, and it was super easy to get stuck in the same pattern of thinking. These were the times I would turn to a mentor, who could share insights from an outside perspective and provide advice on how to get past any obstacles in my meditation journey. Having someone to guide me in the face of challenges or questions proved to be incredibly helpful.
  • Don’t do it alone. Find a community. Since I only knew what I’d experienced, there were many times when I felt stuck or wasn’t sure how to move forward in my meditation practice. Knowing that I had support and that I wasn’t the only one experiencing trouble was really powerful. By meditating within a community, we helped keep each other accountable and I made tons more progress than I would have if I’d done it by myself. (But I still made sure to get some alone time when I needed it!)
  • Focus on and trust the meditation method. Whenever I felt stuck or uncomfortable during meditation, I found myself questioning and doubting the process. Looking back, it’s kind of mysterious how I still ended up sticking with the program. Anyway, with time and patience, I eventually found myself in a better place sooner or later. And that helped me to realize all challenges had an end somewhere.
  • Let go of expectations and keep your mind open. There were times when I felt disappointed in the meditation program because I wasn’t experiencing sunshine and rainbows all the time. I also often disagreed with how things were done at the center because I thought experienced meditators should behave and act a certain way. When I realized these were just my expectations and not necessarily how things worked in the world, it felt so freeing. It brought me back to focusing on clearing out such sources of discomfort in my mind with the meditation method.
  • Journal. Sometimes, my mind felt overloaded with so many feelings and thoughts that I couldn’t keep up with all that was coming to the surface. At these times, it really helped to write everything down. Seeing the contents of my head with my eyes gave me a lot more clarity, and the action of simply writing things down seemed to peel those layers away from my mind.

What Will Your Experience Be Like?

Everyone’s story will be different. This was how meditation changed my life, and that doesn’t mean yours will change the same way. Some experience bigger, more drastic changes than others. And some find very subtle but helpful improvements in their lives. Each person will face challenges that are unique to him or herself, and it’s really up to you to make the decision to step above such difficulties.

Ready to change your life?

There are many kinds of meditations out there, but I don’t know what to say about them because I’ve only followed one program in my entire life. Fortunately, the first method I tried worked for me, so I stuck with it and it’s the only one I can recommend with certainty. Whichever meditation practice you choose, just be sure to approach it with an open mind and let the life changes come to you!