This Happens Every Time I Stop Meditating


By Unplug Teacher Natalie Bell

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Just recently I was reflecting on what happens through the periods in my life when I don’t meditate much. We all know this feeling when we lose that commitment. Maybe we're traveling or super busy, or really stressed or feeling like we can just soldier on without taking this focused time with ourselves.  Can you relate?


Sometimes I go through phases when I feel like I just don’t really need it, I feel connected to myself and like I have enough of a reservoir of practice to keep me feeling present and grounded.  So, I thought I would test out how I am every day when I’m not meditating.  For the last three weeks or so I’ve hardly meditated at all except while I’m teaching.

But just this morning it was a great opportunity to see how I work and act when I’m not meditating for a while.  Today while on a work call I noticed a few things... I had less patience, I was having stronger feelings of judgment, less compassion towards others, and towards myself!  Really I noticed a stronger negativity bias, that tendency we all have to go negative, stay negative, and even to feel less supported in our lives.  I've been less happy!

Many times my practice looks like other things besides sitting in meditation: doing my embodied dance practice, swimming in the ocean, hiking in nature, being at the beach and listening to a symphony of sounds. But there is always something to be said for a formal, guided, heart-based practice of sitting with yourself regularly, something that ignites your own intentional living to be kind, compassionate, engaged and understanding.  This is the power of meditation - it reaffirms intentional living and that gives us the power to feel aligned and supported.

So, this week I’m back at it, newly recommitting to my own practice at home. I’ve seen this pattern in me countless times over the last 30 years and I can offer myself compassion for it, understanding it's in my nature and having some laughter for seeing myself go through this cycle once more.  Ahhh....I welcome myself back.

If you can relate to this come and join me to reignite your meditation practice.  Come to the studio in person or you can find me on the Unplug Meditation App and reconnect to your practice.   May you have the grace to keep you returning to your inner source of thriving.



Natalie Bell has practiced meditation for over 25 years.She has been teaching meditation at Unplug since it’s opening and is the Director of Corporate Programs.You can find her teaching Mondays and Fridays at the Santa Monica studio or watch any of her 21 videos on the Unplug meditation app.Natalie is also a mindfulness instructor for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and the creator of the Thrive Inside 12-wk Coaching Program to create an inner voice of compassion and resilience.