For quite some time, I wanted to make it a habit to meditate daily. One day I’ve just woken up and started doing 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation, just focusing on my breath, having no judgement of my thoughts, being aware of them, and bringing my focus back to the breath.
Practicing meditation has nothing to do with something religious for me. It’s more like a workout, but for my brain. I’ve been doing it for few a years now, but only for about one or two times per week maybe, never being serious enough about it.
How I meditate
As everybody will tell you, to meditate you just sit down in a comfortable position and breathe. Basically, I’m doing the same. I usually sit in cross-legged position, resting my back on a pillow, but concentrated to sit upright. So, as they say in yoga, head over heart, heart over pelvis. I close my eyes and focus on my hearth beat, 4 beats breath in, 4 beats breath out.
Of course, there are times in the session that your mind starts wondering. And that’s normal, one point of meditation is to “work out” your mind to focus on a single task (breathing). Once that mind wondering starts, and I notice it, I just tell myself that those thoughts aren’t something that I need to be focused on right now, that’s not why I meditate, and I just get back to breathing.
I usually use youtube, looking for some “meditation music”, which I listen to, and put a timer to limit my time meditating.
Once I finish meditating, I put the result in HabitBull app, and that’s it.
Experience in sessions
In the session, I sometimes remember something, or come to a solution for some problem, but that happens maybe once per week. But it’s strange yet satisfying experience. You think about nothing, and a thought pops up about something that has an importance (unlike majority of thoughts).
I started meditating with 5 minutes of meditation per day. That was enough for the start, to get into it. Every week, I’d add one more minute, to make it as seamless as possible that I meditate longer. So far, I’m on 17 minutes. I should be on 14, but I’ve added one minute two times a week or something like that, because I knew I could do it longer.
These are some benefits that I noticed happened to me, nothing medical or from studies, but from my own experience:
Being present - From time to time, I don’t think about anything in past or future, I’m just in the moment, seeing things that are in front of me. For example, I’ve pet my cat - Lena - today, and we were together for around 15 minutes. I rarely taught about anything else. I was just aware of how my cat feels, where she likes to be petted. Also, when I’m at work, I don’t think about things that are happening outside of work. When I’m at gym, I don’t think about what I’m going to eat, what problems I have at work and similar. I just focus on the activity at hand. Of course, I’m not perfect, doing one task (like now writing this blog post) takes me sometimes to watch something fun on youtube or whatever, but I can concentrate in some blocks of time at the task at hand.
Being relaxed - When I started meditating, I noticed some tension in the body when it should be relaxed. Two parts of my body were the most tense, my forehead and my shoulders. So I focused a bit on relaxing them. My forehead was easier. To me it seems that I looked a bit angry or upset with tension in forehead. But concentrating to relax that part of my body took a week or two to finally be relaxed once I started meditating. My shoulders are still a bit of a problem, they tend to go up and forward, instead of down and back. So I’m still working on that, but it is better. Funny enough, for the forehead part, a female colleague told me that my skin looks like I’ve had botox, but to me it seems that my facial muscles are relaxed.
Less stress - I wasn’t too much stressed out even before I started meditating. But looking at stressful situations, I am more calm and present, looking from different points of views at a problem at hand, and I think more rationally, since I’m not under stress.
Improved sleep - This is for the sleep itself and for getting to sleep. For the sleep, the quality of it is much better, I feel more refreshed when I wake up, and I tend to have more dreams. For getting to sleep, I usually do something like meditation to get to sleep faster by meditating and while my eyes are closed, I look down. Sometimes it seems that it takes me less than a minute to get asleep.
Thinking positively - Once something happens, even if it’s bad, I look at it from the learning perspective, and being positive about it. If I did something wrong and get criticised about it, I get a little bummed, and sometimes it can last for few minutes, hours or a day (usually nothing bad so far lasted more than a day for me). But after that period, I start to think “well ok, that did happen, but if I do this and that, it will be much better”, or something like that, you get the point.
Being happier - This one is related to previous benefit. I now enjoy the little things more. For example seeing the sunrise or sunset, the stars, parents, partner and other people being happy, laughing and enjoying themselves, makes me feel nice.
For now, my goal is to meditate for 20 minutes per day. For now I think that’s enough to have the benefits, while not spending too much time on it. Also, meditating is the part of my morning routine. But that routine needs to be a bit more organized. I wake up at 5AM, then snooze alarm for 15 minutes, and that can last up to an hour. But once I wake up, I do the hygiene, do 100 push ups (that’s one more habit I want to acquire, do 100 pushups every day - for the rest of my life), meditate, read something useful, and get ready for work. For me, that’s about 2 and a half hours spent doing something useful to improve my life before I even get to work, and once I get back from work, even if I did nothing, I still did enough for the day.
Once I completed 66 days, I’ve got a nice achievement from HabitBull. It doesn’t mean that much, but it’s nice to look back, and see that you did something every day for more than two months.
This is just the beginning of my practice of meditation and I will continue doing it for the rest of my life (being optimistic). You’ve read how I do my sessions, what are the benefits and similar. If you want, you can do the same now, do a 5 minute session, see how it goes. Hope you find this interesting and you can relate to it if you have been doing meditation in the past.
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