Jauary Challenge Update: Meditation and Mindfulness

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Remember that thing I said I’d do where I’d try meditation for 30 days – still doing it! But I do confess, I missed a day! However, only the one which means I’m currently on Day 16 of the current pack I’m working through, thanks to the guided meditation app Headspace. What I’m actually doing is probably more likely described as Mindfulness, essentially quiet time focusing on the breath.

Most days I go for the minimum 10 minute sessions, occassionally 15 minutes. I tried 20 minutes but that was pushing it! But when I’m further towards the end I might give it another go. Meditation is definitely something that takes practice, and it takes a little while to stop feeling ‘silly’, but once you overcome that I can definitely see the benefits.

If you’re new to meditation and want to give it a go I can recommend the basics pack on Headspace, which you can access for free by downloading it. These are introductions to meditation/mindfulness and you can adjust the length of your session to as little as 3 minutes if sitting for long periods intimidates you. When you’ve completed the basics pack you can try out the first session of some of the paid for packs, which include focuses from all parts of life – from mental health to work life or relationships.

So, having completed 16 days what am I learning? Mainly that taking 10minutes in silence (with some guidance!) is really, really nice. Life moves really quickly for all of us, always onto the next thing before we’ve finished the thing before. Scheduling into your day time for yourself to just sit is really relaxing. And although the idea is to clear the mind and focus on breathing there’s a benefit also to seeing what’s on my mind. The pack I’m currently working through uses noting to try and recognise a thought or feeling and ‘note’ it before going back to focusing on the breath. You can see the video animation for noting by clicking here. It’s really clear when there’s something on my mind because it’ll keep coming back to me during the session, or thoughts around the same ‘topic’. When I finish the session I know that XYZ needs dealing with or thinking about and then I can continue with my day. It is the constant to-do list conversation with myself that is my biggest distraction in finidng quiet time. But, as I said, meditation is definitely a skill tha needs practicing , so there’s no use beating myself up over it.

I can’t say this experience is likely to make me meditate daily for life, but I will certainly see out the rest of the month and I can also see why so many people take up this, or similar, practices.

I’ll see you all at 30 days!

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