So I’m guessing you’ve heard about all of the great things that happen when you start meditating, right? A sense of calm, lower stress, greater creativity, glowing skin . . . the benefits run deep.

But what about what happens when you DON’T meditate?

Last Tuesday I got back to Barcelona from Wales and something happened. I chose not to meditate—for a week. Now seven days might seem like nothing, but it’s actually the longest I’ve gone without meditating in the last twelve months. And girl, let me tell you, things have not been great.

Here are a few things that have happened without meditation in my life:

1) I’ve been picking at myself A LOT. The time I should have been sitting on my meditation cushion has instead been used for analyzing my pores, perfecting my curls, and sizing myself up in the mirror. ??? These are not only a complete waste of my energy, but also signs that I’m holding on to unprocessed stress. The same stress that meditation is so good at eliminating.

2) I’ve felt a lot more insecure. Another great thing about meditation is that it gets you in touch with your core. When you intentionally carve out 15 to 30 minutes a day to just be with yourself, connect with your body, and sit with your soul, you go into each day feeling SOLID. You’re also a lot more likely to live in reality and not just your perception of reality.

3) I haven’t been a good partner. Without my meditation practice I started looking to my partner to fill up all the holes and cure all the wounds that are my own responsibility to work through. By meditating, you offer yourself love and care so that you aren’t constantly seeking it from other people. Last week, I became totally focused on what he wasn’t doing for me instead of asking what I could have been doing for myself.

4) I’ve pressed the easy buttons. Easy buttons are those things that give us the illusion of stress relief, but actually make our lives more difficult in the long run. There are a lot of easy buttons, and you can actually press more than one at the same time: eating cookies with a bottle of champagne while scrolling through social media with Netflix playing in the background (for example . . . )

So with all of those negative consequences, you may wonder why I stopped meditating at all?

The obvious excuse is that I got out of my usual routine. When I went to Wales last week everything got thrown for a loop, but honestly that’s just an excuse. At the core, I think there was a part of me that thought I would be okay without it. After all, I was doing other things I enjoy like yoga, spending time in nature, and being creative.

Was meditation really necessary? As it turns out, YES!

We often think that meditation is just for dealing with the stress we’re experiencing in the here and now, but it’s actually one of the best ways to deal with stress from way back when. Stress from getting a divorce, stress from an estranged relationship with your father, stress from having to say goodbye to the man you love, stress from that first time you had to share your son with his father because of the custody agreement (even though it was Mother’s Day) . . .

You might not think that the old stress is still around, but it will continue circulating until you put an end to the cycle. Picking yourself apart and letting your inner critic run wild won’t do it. Trying to mold yourself to everyone else’s expectations won’t do it. Playing the victim in your relationship won’t do it. Mindlessly scrolling through social media won’t do it. And eating cookies while bingeing on Netflix definitely won’t do it.

Meditation will.

And with that being said, I’m off to my cushion. Because this is going to be a big week, and I need more than just the easy buttons to get me through.