I Tried 10 Days of Meditation – Here’s What Happened
If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ve spent more than a few hours reading through the morning routines of successful people. These can be both motivating and intimidating at the same time. In my research of how interesting people start their day, I’ve noticed a huge trend of meditation. Since I practice yoga on a weekly basis and am fairly comfortable with breath work, I decided to try out ten days of meditation to see how it impacted my day and if it was something I would like to practice more regularly. Who wouldn’t want the benefits the practice boasts like reduced stress, improved concentration, increased self-awareness and immune health?
I have dabbled in meditation before on a one-off basis but never fully committed to a practice. In order to make it easier, I tried using the often recommended Headspace app. Headspace is “meditation made simple”. It claims to teach the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day – something I can keep up with!
My introduction to Headspace started with the Basics pack, a free 10-day beginner’s course that will guide you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness. When you sign up for the app, you fill out a brief survey to explain a little about you and then you have the ability to choose three, five or ten minute sessions.
Ten days of meditation
In order to make the meditation manageable with my schedule, I decided to start out with five minutes a day. I had originally aimed to do my meditation at the same time each day but with a shifting schedule, I ended up trying it out at different times each day throughout the week because sometimes balancing waking up, picking an outfit, doing hair and makeup AND getting breakfast before running out the door can be difficult for your life.
The first day was the easiest for me. I woke up before my alarm after eight hours of sleep and felt amazing which was extremely motivating to start up my meditation. I found it fairly easy to focus on my breath as instructed by Andy. Practicing yoga regularly over the last year significantly improved the way I approach meditation. I find it much easier to connect with my breath as opposed to a few years ago, when I felt like a fraud while attempting to meditate.
Day two was the hardest day. I had a stressful and packed morning so I didn’t open my app before heading to work. Once I got there, I made it through half the day and then got extremely anxious. I decided to try a meditation at lunch to calm my nerves. Surprisingly, the five minutes of breath work helped me get out of my head. It was harder to focus in a public place but I definitely felt it was easier to manage my anxiety level after checking in with Headspace.
The remaining eight days went relatively smoothly. I decided that I much preferred to do my meditation in the comfort of my own room with no one else around. So I mostly stuck to early mornings or just before bed. The practice is a great way to either set up your mind for the day or refresh before bed.
One of the best things about the Headspace Beginner’s course is that it reminds you each day of things to remember as you are starting your practice. A couple of things I picked up during the sessions that resonated with me were:
· Meditation is not about stopping thoughts. You can acknowledge thoughts floating by and the go back to your practice. Don’t fixate on them.
· Seeing your mind clearly is useful. You can respond more skillfully to difficult situations when you take time to breathe. It is also helpful to know there is a calm place in your mind you can go to.
· Anchoring your practice to another part of your routine can be helpful when it comes to meditating regularly. Headspace recommends doing meditation around brushing your teeth, so you make it a habit.
· Allow your mind to do what it wants sometimes. At the end of every practice, Headspace encourages a minute to allow your mind to think all the things you want. This acknowledgement of your thoughts makes it feel less structured and allows you to finish your practice strong.
Overall, I really enjoyed my ten days of meditation. I feel like it lessened my anxiety, kept me relaxed and helped me stay in touch with my body. Although I don’t know if I will continue to practice every day, I would certainly be interested in trying out some other meditation practices focused on sleeping or anxiety.
Have you tried meditating? Let me know your experience in the comments!