We Tried Meditating For A Month
We tried meditating daily as part of our self care routines this past month and now are ready to share our experiences! Take a look and see if meditating is something you can work into your March plans.
What Is Meditating Anyway?
Meditation is a centuries-old practice for training the mind. Historically reserved for monks, yogis, and kung-fu masters, it’s now the performance-enhancing practice preferred by athletes and A-list celebrities. It’s gone mainstream and isn’t attached to one religion or philosophy. While there are various forms of meditating, it’s essentially a technique for resting the mind and attaining a clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused state of consciousness. So you’re not thinking about the external world, but rather your mind is silent.
Easier said than done right? With busy lives, this might seem like an impossible task, but we learned meditating isn’t an all or nothing experience. Even making small progress each session works towards achieving some serious mental benefits. Plus, when we heard meditation was basically like taking an inner vacation, we were sold.
How We Meditated
Each of us tried a really simple daily routine and customized it as necessary.
- Find a simple, uncluttered, quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
- Sit on the floor with a cushion under you or in a firm chair with your back straight and your eyes closed. Dim the lights if needed.
- Bring your awareness slowly down through your body, allowing all of your muscles to relax except those that are supporting your head, neck and back. Take your time and enjoy letting go of the tension in your body.
- Once your body is relaxed, bring your awareness to your breath. If you are breathing primarily with your chest you will not be able to relax. Let your breathing come primarily through the movement of the diaphragm. Continue to observe your breath without trying to control it.
- Try to stay like this for 5 minutes at a time, and gradually increase as you are able to.
As we mentioned, this isn’t easy. Immediately our minds flooded with judgements and mundane daily tasks. “Am I doing this right? My back hurts. I have to put my laundry away after this.” The trick is to stay aware of this process but not to react to those passing thoughts.
Benefits We Saw
While everyone’s experience is different, some key benefits we noticed after our month-long experiment were:
- Stress management! Meditation slows your heart rate and breathing way down, and your blood pressure normalizes, while your adrenal glands produce less cortisol and your immune function improves. These physical responses might be hard to measure in your own experience, but for us, it essentially left us feeling zen after a few days of practice!
- Increased creativity.
- Help controlling anxiety and negative thoughts.
- Self-discovery and emotional control. Through slowing down and observing the movement of your own mind, you’ll begin to recognize deep or hidden motivations within yourself.
Try out our routine above, and make it your own. Some of us liked including blankets or relaxation scents to help set the mood, depending on if we meditated at night or in the morning. Eventually, you might be doing both! Do whatever feels right for you. There’s no right or wrong way to develop your practice. And if you prefer a guided meditation as a starting point, some of our favourite apps are Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer.
Relax, take the pressure off of yourself, and enjoy this quiet, relaxing part of your new daily routine for March!