I’ve been meditating for years. Not consistently, mind you. I always intend to do it consistently, but for one reason or another it always ends up being a sporadic thing. If there’s one thing I’m consistent at, it’s being sporadic.
I know there are physiological reasons why meditation can help with depression and anxiety, and it just plain feels good to do it regularly. But I got to thinking recently that for someone with ADHD, sitting still for long periods of time may be, in a certain sense, fighting against the tide instead of surfing it. I wondered if perhaps a more active form of meditation would work better for me. And then it dawned on me: “active meditation” is a way of describing physical exercise.
Here’s a thing: in the past 10 years, I’ve put on about 50 pounds. Every time I see my doctor, I’ve put on another pound or two. I’m not close to being morbidly obese and I know that weight is not equal to health. Still, I’d like to lose a little weight, if only for my self-esteem (that weird, fragile thing that sits on my shoulder and whispers things good and bad into my ear), and I’m very clearly out of shape.
So I need to exercise regularly. As much as my lazy, sofa-loving, PE-hating self would like to deny it, if I want to lower my slightly-too-high blood pressure, decrease my expanding belly and chin, not get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs, and develop a meditation that uses the gift of my energy, I need to exercise regularly.
I should mention that after I spent a day walking all over the convention center at Planet Comicon, my muscles were sore for a few days…but in a way that felt good. Which encourages me to get into a regular exercise routine. But there are some psychological issues that are putting up barriers to exercising.
Mostly, it’s kind of a social anxiety thing. I feel very, very self-conscious and uncomfortable exercising where other people can see me. The thought of going to a gym terrifies me, even if accompanied by a friend. Even the thought of going for a walk around my neighborhood makes me feel weird enough that I find it terribly hard to motivate myself to get up off of my ass and move. I’ve done some yoga before, but I can’t afford to take actual yoga classes and, again, the thought of doing it around other people makes me uncomfortable.
I don’t want to let my anxiety and neurosis stop me from exercising when I know–I know–that it’s good for me and will make me feel better in a bunch of different ways. But I also don’t want to push myself so hard that it colors the exercise experience a dismal grey. It’s just too easy to give up, so I need to find a way to get exercise that’s comfortable and fun and makes me want to stick with it.