What Readers Taught Us About Meditation

After writing about how we try Transcendental Meditation, over a thousand readers have written in with their own mindfulness stories and tips.

Why is this important: Our Axios Finish Line readership is the most engaged audience we have seen in our journalistic careers. Below are distilled lessons – and buckets of benefits – from our readers for all kinds of meditative practices.

Here’s what our audience has taught us about meditation:

  1. There’s no right way to do it. We’re trying Transcendental Meditation, but hundreds of you have written about other ways you’ve practiced mindfulness — and seen remarkable results. You suggested breathing exercises, exploring Buddhism, using guided meditation apps like “Calm” and “Head space,” and more.
  2. Consistency is the key. You told us that the life improvements you’ve seen through meditation come from disciplined and consistent practice. Mary Jackson Lee of Wheaton, Illinois, who has meditated daily for three years, says she sleeps better, drinks less coffee and uses her iPhone less.
  3. But don’t be discouraged. You can always pick up a good habit. Josh Zylstra of Oak Park, Illinois, first tried meditation in his twenties but didn’t pursue it. He recently dived into it, in his 40s, and stuck with it. As a result, his anxiety level dropped significantly, he told us.
  4. Clear your mind. Reader Bill Dunn from Kenai, Alaska put it simply: “The greatest benefits have come in mental focus, better sleep, and more stable calm in the face of hardship. Many talented people suffer from “hurricanes “in their head. Meditation helps let the talent flow.”
  5. Find mental peace. “The murder of George Floyd and two years of isolation working from home due to the pandemic have stretched my emotional resources to their limit,” wrote a reader from Washington, DC, who asked to remain anonymous. “But like most African-American men of my generation, I believed that asking for help, especially help to deal with mental or emotional stress, was a sign of weakness.” Since I started mediation in December 2021: “I feel much more centered, calm and focused, and less emotional going through the largest set of simultaneous changes in my life.”
  6. Find physical well-being. Joyce Scott from Houston, Texas said she found relief from frequent migraines. Anne Henderson from Washington, DC spoke of a host of benefits, including: “My office stayed organized. I wasn’t mad at my mom anymore. I felt more clear-headed. I quit smoking and I lost weight.”
  7. Kindness shines. It’s not just you who benefits. “I’m really happy and calm, which has a direct effect on my family. They don’t worry about whether I’m going to get hurt or get angry or lock myself in my room anymore,” Katie Schaefer said. Murray of Valparaiso, Indiana, wrote.

The bottom line: When you do anything to improve your physical and mental health, the positive effects echo each other.

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