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Why you should meditate

Why you should meditate

We all have bad times. Some rougher than others. During one of these, my shrink recommended me to meditate. 

I admit it, from the start I was closed to the idea. I imagined myself dressed in a white toga of exceptional purity, reciting mantras to a superior force so that it would come to relieve my anxieties and even, who knows, allow me to levitate on a cloud. If this last scenario did not seem all the worse interesting, I had decided in advance that meditation was not for me. It was for religious fanatics, or people with a developed spirituality.

I tried anyway. Because you know, when things are not going well, at some point, you have to find a way to get better. I visualized, I breathed, but I was stubborn. It wasn't for me.

However, it has been proven for a very long time that meditation has tremendous benefits[1].

- It reduces stress, by improving, among other things, the secretion of cortisol.

- It reduces the risk of relapses of depressive episodes.

- It improves attention span.

- It preserves memory.

- It plays a positive role in physical health.

- Etc.

Years have passed since my unsuccessful attempts. Then… a new bad patch slipped into my schedule, disrupting my daily life, weakening my health.

Go figure why, I decided I was going to give meditation a chance. I opted for the technique of mindfulness, in order to focus on the here and the now. I tried a first session of ten minutes, which brought me a certain serenity.

The next day, as I hadn't hated my first try, I put on a new session. I did the same the day after and the day after. I couldn't deny it: meditation was good. I felt (even if it was only for a few minutes) calmer, more composed.

A bad patch being what it is, the motivation ran out one day. I skipped a session, then a second. As I took a walk through a wooded area in an attempt to calm my nerves, I forced myself to sit down and listen to a recorded meditation in an app on my phone. 

I watched the late afternoon sun glinting off the leaves. I smelled the comforting scent of moss on the floor. I felt the wind on my face. Then I closed my eyes, as the voice in my headphones dictated.

A few minutes later, the big lump in my chest had shrunk. When I opened my eyes, I was a little more at peace.

About fifteen meters from me, I saw a deer on the trail. It was the first time I had seen one in this forest. He lifted his head, looked at me, and walked away with a slow, calm step.

I then thought back to that old version of me who believed that meditation was a religion, or a kind of worship. That day, surrounded by nature, I understood that this practice could bring me something. Meditation allows you to enjoy everyday life, and sometimes even, to add a certain touch of magic to it.

by Alex Beausoleil

[1] 5 bienfaits de la méditation, Mélanie Darveau, Université Laval, 2016 http://www.contact.ulaval.ca/article_magazine/5-bienfaits-de-la-meditation/

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Our collaborator Alex Beausoleil

Alex (she/her) likes to play with words. Whether writing articles/podcasts or scripting documentaries, she uses her pen (and her keyboard) to bring her ideas to life.

With a Bachelor's degree in Television, she made her debut at Radio-Canada. She then took her first steps in the literary world by becoming the head of Communications for Éditions de La Pastèque. She is now writing freelance and producing corporate videos.

To calm her anxiety, she puts on books and TV series, while petting her three cats.