Yesterday I completed an 8-week meditation course known as MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction). It was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and offered in Kuwait by Mai Miles Frandsen (Instagram), a qualified MBSR instructor.
The course was a wonderful experience, and I was exposed to new practices I wasn't familiar with, and it provided me with a weekly routine that I insisted I'd commit above all else (except for a couple of pre-planned trips). I skipped family gatherings and events that are important to me because I felt it's important I communicate to myself that my self-care shouldn't be compromised, break a pattern that lasted a number of years now (and I have the belly and irregular heart beat to prove it. Actually, I'm not sure about the heart beat now. I need to get that checked).
The commitment was very important, although I had daily meditations to do, which I never did. Mostly because I was working on other forms of self-care and pursuing what mattered to me.
I found the idea of "non-striving" extremely valuable, and it extended my general attitude towards building habits by keeping them small. If there was a yoga move I didn't feel comfortable doing, I did an easier expression of that move. It meant that I didn't build up any resistance towards showing up for sessions because there wasn't anything I'm not comfortable with.
Even showing up late or not doing my meditation "homework": there is no judgement in the sessions, so nothing to feel anxious about. In fact, part of the practice is not to stress about being late or things not going our way, beyond the weekly sessions and homework.
I highly recommend mindfulness meditation as a way to reduce the mental chatter, coupled with Stoic philosophy as a way of working through troublesome ideas by ourselves and change our patterns of thinking. Both, I believe, are important for cultivating a healthier mental attitude and a healthier life.