If you’re a doer who has difficulties sitting quiet, you may struggle to visualize yourself meditating. That was the case for Paulina Porizkova, but when her anxiety and panic attacks escalated, she decided to give it a try. And she’s glad she did.
Like many others, the former supermodel, 57, initially thought of meditation as “woo woo crap,” she posted on Instagram. “Ever since I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder in my late teens, I’ve been urged to meditate. And I tried. But I wasn’t getting a hold of it,” she said. “Focusing on my breathing actually made me suffer panic episodes instead.”
Still, throughout her life, she kept trying, and even joined a meditation class in her forties in hopes it might improve her experience. “The teacher urged me to focus on noises instead of breathing, and things finally clicked into place,” she wrote.
She appreciated her newfound approach to meditation until her 30-year marriage to ex-husband Ric Ocasek began to fall apart. “Every time I sat down to meditate, I’d start crying. So I gave up,” she continued. “Tried in spurts, but no, every time the same thing would happen—I’d get into a quiet location and start bawling.”
She initially felt the surging emotions were tainting her meditation experience, but she slowly learnt that they were simply part of it. Of course, that hasn’t made sitting with sadness any easier. “In the last two months, since I finished writing my book, I resolved to actively make my way through the sobbing. Meditate and cry. Just let it happen,” she wrote. “So I’ve been meditating an hour a day, and crying an hour a day. It’s gentle tears, they just glide down my face, unbidden.”
She remarked that she doesn’t feel relieved or cleansed after the emotional session. “I feel basically drained,” she said. However, the process has been cathartic in that the rest of daily life is beginning to seem lighter.
“My anxiety levels n my everyday life are getting far more manageable,” she stated. “I am starting to feel the change. Even a five-minute session helps.”
Porizkova then shared some resources for people who might wish to try it out for themselves. She said she often conducts guided sessions on the Insight Timer app and also recommended following wellness coach Tony LeRoy, who often gives free meditations online.
“If you give it a try—know I’ll be your companion,” she wrote. “Bawling but feeling better.”
The pro-aging activist isn’t the only one to enjoy meditation’s benefits. Research has shown the practice can help tame stress and anxiety, reduce cardiovascular risk factors, manage chronic pain, and improve sleep. So even if you don’t battle with anxiety like Porizkova does, commencing regular sessions could improve life in a different way.