what i've learned from meditating for over 100 days in a row... and counting
when i decided to lead a course in creating and maintaining a tiny daily habit, i also decided on two new tiny daily habits for myself. (in the course i talked about only doing one new habit at a time, but since i’ve been at this daily habit thing for over 4 years, i knew i’d be okay with having 2 new ones.)
i’ve already talked about my daily 10 second sprint (#daily10secondsprint on IG). that's still going strong, although there are a lot of days where i’m not feeling inspired. but i haven't yet missed a day.
my other new habit is pretttty much on the opposite side of the energy and intensity spectrum. i am meditating for 5 minutes a day. (actually, i think i initially planned on meditating for 10 minutes, but i very quickly realized that some days 5 minutes was all i was gonna do, so i changed it to 5 minutes. i think i came to this realization before i even did my first day of meditating!)
yes, i know it may seem like 5 minutes isn't long enough to have any sort of effect. but it is. most days i go longer than 5 minutes, but it’s nice to have that as my minimum required time because there are some days where 5 minutes feels like an absolute eternity and i wouldn’t make it if i had to go longer.
i started out using the guided meditations on the calm app. i totally wanted to buy the headspace app because of the cute illustrations, but i'd already bought the calm app last year. and in the spirit of trying really hard to use what i have before buying more, i decided to use the calm app until it bores me so much that my soul turns gray. and then i'll buy the app with the fun illustrations.
the first couple weeks were pretty easy. and then it got really hard. i got antsy, angsty, impatient, fidgety and a little bit angry that i had to do this dumb habit. whose idea was this anyway?!
but i kept on keepin’ on and got through the rough patch. but man was it rough. i dreaded my meditation time and wanted to skip it on many days. but i didn’t. and i still haven’t missed a day.
i’m so, so glad i haven’t missed a day because for me, fighting through the dread and irritation is a huge part of the exercise. it's where the mega growth happens.
i had big intentions of meditating in the morning to start my day off right. but i don’t think that’s even happened once. i meditate at night after doing my sketchbook and journal. turns out it’s a great way to quiet the noise in my head so i can sleep.
i still start out each session with a guided meditation (still using calm app because my soul still has some color), but i add on some meditation of my own after the 5-10 minutes of guidance. i just started doing this a few weeks ago and so far, it's working really well.
so now let’s talk about the benefits! this is the fun part.
i am definitely more calm in general and i handle stressful situations better.
i have far fewer outbursts (if you don’t count the times i freak out at bad portland drivers and mega traffic).
i am more present and don’t take nearly as many trips to worst-case scenario land. meditation definitely helps me put things into perspective.
i am far more accepting of myself and all my flaws. i'm more accepting of others and their flaws.
supposedly meditation helps with concentration and memory. so far, i haven't seen any improvements in those areas, but i'll keep you posted.
i now look forward to that time each day where my brain gets quiet. i so, so need this time where everything melts away except for my breath. just me and my breath. inhale. exhale. breathe.
do you meditate? what benefits have you experienced? do you use an app or guided meditation i should try out?