Hey guys and girls, this is A r c h a l e n. I had my username changed because I am using that username for other professional "things," and I don't want my boss or co-workers googling my username and looking at all my private stuff :).
Anyway, I have not meditated in a while. I stopped meditating when my anxiety became very, very manageable. I stopped on purpose, because I don't want to associate meditating with something I do only when I'm feeling stressed. I want to proactively meditate to improve myself beyond stress-coping, and I didn't want to use it as a crutch for when I'm anxious. When I do meditate anymore, it is purposefully when I am already feeling pretty good. This is just something that works personally for me, I wouldn't really recommend it for anybody else.
Some people have mentioned that meditation did not work for them, or only worked basically for the time period that they were meditating. However, experienced meditators have shown permanent changes in brain structure that persist even while they are not meditating, and changes in the dominance of certain brain waves even while they are not meditating. These newly developed brain waves are associated with neuroplasticity, focus, and other positive traits.
So, why are these changes seen in studies done on experienced meditators, but you are not experiencing changes outside of the meditation period? Well, I don't know (lol), but I have some thoughts on the matter. It probably has to do with (1) the "quality" of your meditation, (2) how you take the essence of your practice (i.e. mindfulness) and implement it in your life outside of meditation, and (3) the frequency of your meditation practice.
(1) I will not personally venture into defining a "quality" meditation, but I do know that it is possible to put forth effort into meditating. The effort is not straining yourself to focus or anything like that. If, for instance, you are practicing mindfulness, I would say that effort should be exerted to ensure that you return to a state of equanimity and non-judgement when your mind wanders. Sometimes, before a meditation, I would promise myself that I would not just passively meditate, but rather actively put forth a quality and intelligent effort into meditating the "right" way.
(2) What you learn about and during meditation should not be confined to the time period you are meditating. For instance, mindfulness will feel more intuitive if you practice it in every moment. You will meet less resistance over time and your mindfulness meditations will feel more "effortless."
(3) When my anxiety was at its worst, meditation did not start helping me noticeably until I meditated more often. When my anxiety and derealization was at it's worst, I meditated for around an hour for a few days, and it really worked. Now I realize that is a lot, but you get the point.