Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ohmmm... Mindfulness and Meditation

It's fairly well-known that meditation is associated with increased focus, mindfulness, appreciation and in turn less stress. It has never been something I have been particularly drawn to, but for the sake of my Genius hour I thought why not give it a go?


Meditation is definitely something that will take me time to master... a week has not nearly been enough. For some people I'm sure it's easy to catch on, but I certainly have a wandering mind. When I first began to look into meditation I found an article by Leo Babauta: Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind. This article was extremely helpful in starting my journey towards being more mindful. As the article suggested, I began to take just two minutes to meditate every morning - hoping that this would help me ground myself for the remainder of the day. However, many things Babauta suggests not to do I was doing... and I felt like it was beyond my control. I was getting caught up in how to meditate rather than doing the meditation, I was constantly worried if I was doing it correctly and experienced a great deal of frustration with my wandering mind. Though the article suggested to meditate first thing in the morning, this is usually when I compose my "to-do" list for the day; so I found myself focusing on what I wanted to get done after these two minutes of meditation were over rather than the meditation itself. This completely defeated the purpose of taking these two minutes to be mindful. 

Nevertheless, one thing I enjoyed about meditation that I also enjoyed as a part of yoga was focusing on breathing. It can be relaxing to just take the time to focus on your breathing in our busy and chaotic lives. One thing I found to help with this was This is an app that prompts your breathing and helped me to avoid my wandering mind (at least some of the time). I've heard from a few friends that this is a great app for those with social anxiety - you can put it on your smartphone and if you find yourself getting anxious in public places simply turn it on to and focus on your breathing. With the apps visual cues, you don't even need the sound so nobody has to even know what you're up to. 

I'm sure you can tell based on my other posts, I'm generally a pretty high-energy person. What I really haven't enjoyed about meditation so far is that I don't feel as if I'm accomplishing anything. I'm sure this feeling would improve as I improved on the act of meditating... however, currently I'm feeling as if it's a waste of two minutes of my day. As I'm having trouble mastering the idea of meditation it really just becomes a few minutes of frustration. 

In my research I stumbled across the article 76 Benefits of Meditation. This article is the motivating factor behind me not giving up on the practice quite yet. I think it will take some time to master, and I'm really hoping that by devoting some time to doing so I will get to reap some of these benefits. 

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