Many people with pectus excavatum showed interest in meditation to improve their quality of life. To start meditating, most people think you need to get in a quiet, dark room, where you sit down cross-legged with closed eyes and make weird humming noises with your hands doing an “Ok” sign.
In actuality, it is all about being super focused and present at the moment. For example, you can simultaneously walk, fish, cook, clean, and meditate. While doing it, you shouldn’t stress about the months, years, and decades that passed you or jump years in the future. It is all about being in yourself exactly when you’re doing it.
COMBINING WORKING OUT WITH MEDITATION
I am very consistent and love working out because it is so meditative. Since I built my home gym in the basement, this meditative state has tripled in intensity because I am primarily working out myself.
I love putting on sound-blocking headphones in crowded gyms, not because I enjoy the music so much, but because it instantly puts me in a meditative state.
Working out makes me super present, and I don’t think of anything that happened, or I think it will happen for about an hour in the day. I’ve noticed great benefits of this mentally.
BENEFITS OF BEING IN A MEDITATIVE STATE
The mental benefits of constantly going into a meditative state while doing a lot of positivity for your physical well-being are excellent. You will probably feel the same things if you’re on a fitness and health journey long enough.
At first, you’ll probably focus on nutrition, sleep, workout programs, etc. Still, in the end, you’ll end in this spiritual practice you will practice. Presence and living stress-free as much as possible is the core of health.
When you practice meditation regularly, your diet will be better; your workouts will be more fulfilling, and you’ll fall asleep faster. Everything will fall in place. Weightlifting to make pectus excavatum less noticeable will eventually lead you to practice meditation whenever you workout, resulting in all the benefits mentioned above.
There is a difference between pursuing presence and attracting presence. Most classical meditation practices around the web nowadays are oriented toward pursuing presence. For example, they tell you to concentrate on the now, a mantra, the breath, or a spot on a wall while sitting cross-legged in a dark room.
Even though this is amazing, increases focus and attention, and tends to work, it is not my favorite way of meditation.
It allows you to hold awareness at a particular place for a long time. However, this is an escape. As soon as you stop concentrating on that one thing, you are back in the dirt. The stuff you are running away from will still be there.
Even though this classical type of meditation can help everyone with anxiety and pectus excavatum, there is a better way to do it. This worked tremendously for me and helped me improve the quality of my life.
This practice doesn’t get you to the root cause because you are back into the dirt when you don’t concentrate on the meditation.
Instead of focusing on that one thing, you focus on the things you try to run away from in mindfulness-based meditation. For example, you focus on the insecurities of your appearance caused by pectus excavatum or any other problems that hold you down and that are inside of you.
By focusing on these things, you experience, process, and let go of the issues. After you do this, there is nothing that you will run away from; you’ll come to an authentic presence.
Being present in the moment isn’t something you do; it should just be. You will be attending by releasing all the inner demons you have inside. The way you embody presence more often in your life is to dive deeper into the things in your life that you try to avoid.
Personally, my inner demon was constantly anxious, further worsened by my pectus excavatum deformity. Whenever I was alone at home, my mind was racing about my inner “demons.”
Because of that, I craved distractions like loud music, TV, porn, fapping, social media, etc. As I mentioned, I started to confront my problems face to face instead of doing that.
I highly recommend you do the following challenge after reading this post. Sit down with yourself, and do absolutely nothing for ten minutes. Get rid of any distractions; sit with your thoughts. Even though this may sound easy, it is surprisingly one of the most difficult challenges you can do.
After seconds pass, you will feel your inner “demons” pop up. You will start hearing that little voice of your difficulties. Some of my thoughts when I started were:
- “Mihail, you can’t even sit by yourself for ten minutes,” or
- “Hey Mihail, remember the bad thing you did when you were eight years old,” or
- “Hey, Mihail, remember when my schoolmates made fun of your deformity and laughed at your face in the sports locker room in elementary school?”.
GET READY FOR ALL TYPES OF THOUGHTS
Expect these thoughts to happen. Even though it may sound funny, your mind will tell you the worst things imaginable when you do this exercise. You can hear these voices every time in the background. However, they will be even louder when you’re doing nothing yourself. It is strange how we all have this opponent inside of us.
It is like an annoying friend reminding you how the girl you’re attracted to keeps judging you because of your appearance and that you don’t look good today when all you try to do is chill and have a good time.
PROBLEM WITH CLASSIC MEDITATION
Classic meditation tells you to ignore this voice and be present for a specific time. Another problem with this kind of meditation is that I judge myself constantly when my voice starts to pop up, and I can’t control it.
Then my meditation session goes into a downward spiral, judging myself for not doing a five-minute meditation properly.
ATTACK THE NEGATIVE INNER VOICE
The meditation technique I share with you is about diving into the problematic inner voice and experiencing the feelings that come with it. These aren’t comfortable at all, but this will also teach you to be relaxed in those moments. Stay with these sensations, be aware of them, and face the inner demons with full force.
What will happen when you don’t run away from them and experience them to the fullest will vanish. There will be nothing to run away from.
PROBLEM WITH LAW OF ATTRACTION
You may question whether thinking and deepening those negative thoughts will worsen the problem. The Law of attraction says that you attract what you think and that thinking positively is the only way to attract positive feelings.
I also thought focusing on the negative aspects of my anxiety caused by pectus excavatum would bring more negativity. Here’s what you need to understand, and this is very important. Inside of us, there are two worlds.
- What you’re aware of
- What you’re NOT aware of
You’re now aware of your problems further worsened by your inner voice. What you’re not conscious of doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and impacts your mental well-being.
Whenever you think about positive things, you can’t fake positivity even though there are underlying issues. The negative inner voice also attracts a lot of negativity, and there is a constant battle between those two voices.
You must experience and dive into the negative inner voices, process them, and then release them to concentrate on optimistic things by default. The same applies when someone says don’t focus too much on the past; look towards the future.
The problem with this is that if you don’t fix the stuff that still bothers you and hang onto you, you will still manifest them in the future.
The past will still drag you down. Because of this, facing your demons, getting rid of them, and building the future more positively is essential. That is what mindfulness-based meditation is.
It is more simple than traditional meditation. You sit down with yourself, sinking into your deeply rooted fears, feeling the emotions that come with that.
COMMON THOUGHTS THAT MAY POP UP
The first time I did this mindfulness meditation, one of the most common thoughts was fear of not being good enough. I felt those sensations and experienced the whole struggle during these ten minutes.
I genuinely thought something was wrong with me. I thought life was easy for everyone, especially the attractive people who had no trouble attracting people.
What if I was fated not to progress through my life socially, no matter how many social skill improvement books and videos I’ve watched. I also thought something was wrong because of my chest wall abnormality. Ask yourself, what if this is all true?
POKE THE FEARS
Poke those fears, and feel the sensations as much as possible. Make them appear on the surface. This is how far negatively your inner mind can bring you, even though things aren’t as bad as you think.
Pectus excavatum isn’t just a cosmetic deformity. You’ll realize how much it affects other areas in your life, especially the psychological area.
POWER OF NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
As mentioned earlier, we feel all these fears when mindfulness meditation. The negative thoughts and feelings run us. The purpose is not to cover this stuff up.
It would be best if you poked at these fears very intensely and made these fears and feelings exposed to the surface. These things drain us mentally and emotionally, causing excessive stress in the background.
The constant need for approval, validation, acceptance, recognition, or the necessity to control other people, holds us. We all run away from our true selves just to be approved by society. Accept yourself the way you are. There is nothing you should run away from.
DON’T LET DAMAGING THOUGHTS HAUNT YOU
If you don’t attack the inner demons face-on, you will always have these negative thoughts and feelings haunting you no matter what you do. Most people try to change their life situation, hoping it will silence these voices, but it rarely helps. Also, others change their personalities to deal with this, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that well.
Wherever you go, there you are. You need to stop running away and attack the demons head-on at one moment. Because if you are not, you are probably wasting your time and life away, trying to compensate, be good enough, have more success, repair the visual appearance of your chest wall, and try to justify your whole life.
Are you living, or are you trying to justify your existence?Julien Blanc
MEDITATION AND MUSCLE GAIN
I know you’re probably tired of reading philosophical writing if you are still reading to this point. Let me explain how mindfulness or traditional meditation can help your physique. Even though it may sound weird to most, meditation can help you increase muscle gain. There is no direct effect, but explain how stress reduction can help.
Chronic low-to-moderate stress raises cortisol, producing energy in a short time. Still, long term, it eats from muscle and stimulates fat storage. Cortisol is a stress hormone that burns energy. Still, it will make you burn fewer calories and store more calories as body fat.
Stress also lowers testosterone, decreases insulin sensitivity, lowers growth hormone, and reduces sleep quality. All these things are terrible if you want to build muscle to improve pectus excavatum. Meditation is proven to improve quality of life and reduce the adverse effects of stress.
As a result, the result will create more muscle. There are lots of studies that support this. Meditation does a lot more than help you build muscle. That is just a by-product of it.
When most people start meditating, they do the classical, laser focus, distractions meditation. This is proven to work and helped millions of people worldwide. I struggle when I do this meditation because the problems and distractions I tried to silence appear after I am finished.
Also, I don’t like my physical response to focusing on deep breathing, probably because of my pectus excavatum. I’ve realized that other people with pectus excavatum experience that.
What worked perfectly for me was mindfulness meditation. Even though it is more uncomfortable mentally than the classical one, it helped silence my hostile inner “demons” for a long time.
If you’re not interested in the psychological benefits meditation offers people with pectus excavatum, it is good to know that it can help you get rid of stress. That will help you grow your muscles more, making the deformity far less noticeable.