I’ve been working on my overall health for a really long time, but most of the time, I put a huge focus on my weight, and the way I look and not how I’m feeling. Getting older means getting wiser, and learning self-love. So, in addition to my weight loss escapades, I took on a new challenge – meditate for 20 minutes each day. This all actually started BECAUSE of my phone. I was browsing the app store, and came across this app called “Calm.” I checked out what they were about – reducing stress and increasing calm in an increasingly stressed-out world.
Meditation means lots of different things to different people. For me, I decided that it was a moment to pause, listen to some calming music, breathe, unplug, and get away from the world and in tune with myself for 20 minutes – no thinking, just being. From the time I wake up, to the time I go to sleep I’m in front of a screen, so I thought a 20 minute break was warranted. No cell phones, no computers, just me, my thoughts, and the soothing sounds of my app (which is cheating JUST a bit, but whatever).
So I ventured into the foray of calmness, and I learned a few things.
1) Trying to be calm is way harder than you think.
It took me a few nights before I mastered the art of emptying my mind. At first, I would constantly open my eyes and shut them really fast. “dang it! I wasn’t supposed to do that. Dang it, stop talking to yourself inside of your head!” I would have this battle with myself about how to just BE calm for the first few days. I usually wasted about 10 minutes before I’d actually tune anything out.
2) The people you love will make fun of you when you tell them you’re going to start meditating.
I never saw Bryan laugh as hard at me when I laid in bed the first night with my app. He kept poking me, and giggling, and prodding until I was like “DUDE. I’m seriously doing this.” Then he said he’d try not to distract me again. But ya. People think it’s totes weird, they think you’re turning into a Monk and they’ll let you know about it.
3) You HAVE to do it when it’s quiet, the dark helps too.
Meditation is actually just a deep exercise in extreme focus. So, doing it with little distraction only helps you have a better time. For a few nights, I’ve had the sound of the TV on, or B playing a video game. My sessions were okay, but they would’ve been better with some slight adjustments on the nights where I just played ocean sounds, or the rain, I had a better time.
4) You feel kind of stupid at first, but then you’re so outside of yourself, that you don’t remember how stupid you felt…
I felt weird listening to a lady I don’t know give me instructions on how to stay calm. Every so often I would get really deep into my session, but she’d pop in to tell me about my posture, or my breathing. At the end of the first few sessions I thought, “this is kind of silly.”
5) …But if feels so good when the bell goes off and you slowly wake up with a clear head (or you’re even more ready to hit the hay).
After I “woke up” to the bell each time, I felt refreshed in a way that I never really have felt (like, even after I wake up from sleeping). My shoulders weren’t tense. My head was clear and I felt like I let go of whatever I was holding onto that day.
Taking a time out each day is something that I feel is really important to me. Even if it’s before sleep, or I take a few minutes during my lunch break to just recharge. I’m learning that just taking a quick breather everyday just makes me feel good.