The Next Challenge

Last week I finished up my Gratitude Challenge. It was amazing. When all was said in done over the course of 31 days I wrote down 496 things I was grateful for. There were a few accidental repeats, but otherwise I kept to my rules quite well.

After a few days I knew I was ready for another challenge. And I’d already decided a while back what it would .be.

Meditation

OooHooo.

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(Calm waters make me think of meditating.)

Like Gratitude, meditation has been shown to have lots of benefits. Things such as increased focus and concentration, less anxiety and depression, and more mindfulness. It might also improve things like high blood pressure (related to stress often), pains such as headaches/muscle pain etc. Basically meditation has all sorts of benefits for anyone.

The only way I’ve done meditation before is through yoga. And frankly I thought I sucked at it. Those few minutes where the teachers asks you to sit and focus on your breath usually just had me running through my to-do list or whatever worry was on my mind that.

“No,” I’d say to myself as my mind again drifted to that upcoming test or that bad thing I’d done, “FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH!”

Of course as I’ve started reading about mindfulness, living in the present, and that sort of thing I’ve come to realize that actually no one has a perfectly thoughtless experience during meditation, at least not at first. The real idea behind meditation is mindfulness.

In my last post I wrote about not really knowing how to have fun in this very minute. What I was really trying to get at was my tendency to never live in the present moment. I’m often worrying about something I did, or feeling anxious about the future. Two emotional states and thought processes that really don’t serve me.

My goal with meditation is to increase my mindfulness and my ability to live in the present. (One way I’ve worked to increase my mindfulness in a totally dietitian related way is to have  a silent-distraction-free meal a day. This was something I’d been trying to do FOREVER and somehow just naturally came to be after I finished reading Women, Food and God)

So without further ado, here is my meditation challenge.

31 Day Meditation Challenge (started October 27)

1. Meditate for 5-10 minutes (minimum) at least once a day.
(currently I’m starting in the evenings, before bed – it’s always good to have a “trigger” and this seemed like the best time to me)
2. Use free meditation guides or silence or meditative sounds/music if I find any I like, whatever I prefer.
(I googled for free meditation and found this lady here, and I’m currently using a couple of her ~10 minute guided meditations)
3. Build up to longer and/or multiple times per day
(I would love to be meditating for 20 minutes a day, possibly twice a day – I’m not forcing this though, it if this happens great! If I only ever manage to meditate for 10 minutes once a day then so be it!)

I had my first session last night, and honestly it was a struggle. I kept thinking about stupid little things, like how I have a knot in my shoulder from hockey on the weekend or how dry my lips were, or how I need to stop picking at my cuticles! But there was a small moment where a lot of that stuff disappeared and that was worth the other nine minutes of over thinking, so I’m excited to see if this gets easier or if it remains as difficult from beginning to end. It would also be cool if I gain some of the mental and physical benefits of meditation.

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(totally just posing. I’ve been meditating in the dark so photos won’t work)

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(even marina wants in on the fun)

Leave a comment: Have you ever tried meditating? Or could you recommend any free but awesome meditation guides (I like to have options!)?

I also really enjoyed this illustrated guide from WikiHow on how to meditate.

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