I always believed in the power of the mind, even before I started attending yoga classes.

Meditation is a way of connecting to that power, a mental exercise that strengthens and improves one’s awareness and mindfulness.

I like that meditation does not require any kind of ceremony. I don’t have to visit a meditation center to do it. Anytime I feel the need to take a break, I meditate—in the office, at home, or on the train. I just need to find a comfortable, quiet space, and I can enjoy a peaceful break.

After a few years of practicing meditation, I realize that I have changed. While yoga changed me in a lot of ways, I believe that the addition of meditation has turned me into something else entirely—a better version of myself.

These are just five of the ways meditation changed my life:

1. I learned to control my eating habits.

Meditation taught me to become aware of my emotions, cravings, and experiences. Through it, I learned about mindful eating, giving my full attention to my body and mind whenever I feel hungry or have the urge to eat.

In the past, I used to rush to finish my food as quickly as possible because of my busy schedule. I thought that food was just a necessary way to get enough nutrition to survive until the next day. But thanks to mindful eating, I have learned how to appreciate the food that I am eating. I started noticing the smell of my food, its texture, its colors, and all the flavors that come with it.

I have also learned how to identify whether I am truly hungry, or if I just don’t have anything else to do. I stopped binge eating and learned to eat for the benefit of my own body and health.

2. I sleep better.

The relaxation that results from meditation has helped me a lot in getting good quality sleep. I used to spend anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour tossing and turning in bed before finally falling asleep. Unnecessary thoughts kept popping into my head, so it was hard for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Since beginning my meditation practice, I have found that I fall asleep faster, and I sleep restfully through the night. I feel more energized after waking up, ready to start my day. 

3. I stopped agonizing over small things.

So many things in our daily lives can cause us stress, if we let them. In the past, I used to agonize over even the silliest things. I got stuck in traffic; I got stressed. I stained my shirt; I got stressed. I missed a call, I got stressed. I got stressed over all those mundane things that are not worth agonizing over. 

At work, when I get stressed and haggard, now I just turn off my phone, leave my desk, and take a short break to meditate. The results are always amazing. These breaks calm my mind and rejuvenate me. During meditation, I can also contemplate what caused my stress, what I can do about it, and what I should do moving forward. My point of view has become much more positive with meditation.

4. I learned to love myself.

Growing up, I had a lot of complex insecurities that made it hard for me to appreciate myself. I became scared of meeting people and getting into relationships, because I thought that I wasn’t worthy. That changed after I started yoga and meditation.

I know I’ve become a different person, because the way I treat and think about myself has changed. I developed a sense of self. I started taking care of my mind and body, which helped me gain confidence. I realized that to change what’s around me; I must first change what’s inside me.

I developed a non-judgmental relationship with myself, and I started to focus on my happiness and well-being, I started trusting my abilities and talents. 

5. I have better relationships.

I also learned that to give love, you must love yourself first. And that’s what happened as I began to meditate. Mindfulness does not only apply to the relationship you have with yourself, but also to your relationship with the people around you.

Through meditation, I have learned to handle relationships better. This does not only apply to romantic relationships but also to my relationships with my co-workers, friends, and family.

With the self-love I gained, I learned to respect others properly as well. Meditation also taught me to let go and forgive. I realized that grudges only affect me negatively, and are not helpful in my relationships.

Many other things have changed within me because of meditation, and I am sure that this practice will continue to improve me.

While there’s still a long way to go on this journey, I will continue to believe in the power of meditation to change lives.

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Kelly is a 200-hour hatha yoga teacher and loves yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. You can learn more about…