The wellness movement is teeming with experiences and products that promise to ward off high cortisol levels. And while it’s tempting to buy the latest calm-inducing gadget or balm, meditation still reigns supreme as one of the ultimate stress-reducers.
I stopped meditating right before the pandemic hit mostly because one morning I just forgot. A day turned into several days, and months later I still hadn’t meditated. I set recurring alarms each morning, but swiftly ignored them. They felt annoying, like someone yelling up the stairs “Time for meditation!!!” Hard pass. The thought of setting aside 20 minutes was, in fact, realistic, but it also felt wildly unfeasible at a time when I was adjusting to the new normal brought on by the pandemic. I needed something more welcoming to guide me back into my practice and I was developing less than ideal methods of stress reduction. In lieu of meditation and movement, I found myself sinking into bad food and even worse television. After months of brain fog, weight gain, and other unwanted symptoms, it was time to make a change.
I remembered reading James Clear’s New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, which explains that to make a new habit easier to adopt, one must decrease the number of steps required. One way to do this is to have a visual cue that serves as a reminder of said habit you’d like to take on. This worked for me in taking vitamins last year. Only after I lined up the bottles on my bathroom counter, did I remember to take them. Following this logic, I figured if I bought a meditation cushion and placed it conspicuously in my living room, I could ease back into my practice. And, with the ever-presence of my pillow, perhaps my morning meditations would again become consistent. And it did.
I used to put a regular throw pillow on the floor to meditate upon, but the shape was never right. Having to constantly readjust my position, or think about my knees falling off the pillow’s sides, became more of a hindrance than a help. On my quest for a good meditation cushion, I wanted something square as opposed to round, to suitably house my knees while sitting cross-legged. I also wanted to find something that wouldn’t be an eyesore should I leave it out in my living room indefinitely. When I stumbled across a $40 corduroy tufted cushion from Higogogo that came in a range of colors (I chose slate grey), I was sold. I now sit comfortably with my spine straight against the wall for five minutes each morning (trial and error showed me that five minutes is the least amount of time I need to commit to in order to feel meditation’s effects). It’s become a treasured ritual of mine and it’s one that adds much to my wellbeing. All I needed was a meditation cushion to remind me of it.