I've been meditating with the Headspace app since 2016/2017. (Read 'Meditation Using Headspace.') My longest meditation run streak had been around 180 days a few years ago, but as always, life got in the way, I skipped a few days here and there, and then I never achieved a high run streak till now.
I had mentioned in a previous post about having resumed my meditation practice since October, 2022, and this time I did it slightly differently. In the past, I used to meditate for 10 to 15 mins at the beginning of my day. However, this time I decided to make the habit a little easier to follow, by only meditating for 5 mins, right before I went to bed at night. The reason I chose the end of the day, is because ever since I started working, I've always been in a rush at the beginning of my day, and so, I never ended up meditating at all. Always choose a time that is suitable for you!
Currently I'm on a 130 day run streak, but I wanted to cross the 125 day mark to write this post. *wink*
Over the past 130 days, I've been practicing the Daily Meditation on Headspace. There are tons of different meditation courses which range from 10 to 20 mins a session, which I used to follow in the past, and I hope to start again soon.
Now that I've made my 5 min meditation a habit, it will be much easier for me to increase the duration to 10 or 15 mins, as opposed to starting with a longer duration from the get go. As I've written in the past, in order to make habits more sustainable, it is always better to start small. (Read 'Want To Lose Weight? Start Small.')
This is what my new meditation practice has taught me and reminded me about:
1. Duration doesn't matter:
Meditating for a longer duration does have it's benefits, there's no argument from my side. However, with most of us struggling to find "me time" with work, household chores, exercise, social media, etc. we tend to think that 5 mins of meditation won't really provide any benefits, which leads to us ignoring the habit altogether. What we seldom realize is that the duration of meditation doesn't matter!
Meditating for just 5 mins each day has increased my mindfulness to a great extent, enabling me to be present with my thoughts and emotions, especially when I get too overwhelmed. The techniques taught during each of the meditation sessions can be practiced throughout the day, leading to a calmer and happier life.
2. There are good days and bad days:
On some days you'll be able to meditate with ease, concentrating on each thought and being able to let them go. On other days you'll be so distracted by your thoughts that you won't realize when the meditation session is over. On such days, it's important to forgive yourself and try meditating again.
3. Be an observer of your body and mind:
We spend most of our life listening to what others think is best for us, that we forget that we are the captain of our ship. The essence of meditation lies in the fact that we are not our thoughts and feelings, we are their observer. Mindfulness meditation helps you identify which aspects of your life are out of tune with your body and mind. It helps you identify emotional pain before it manifests into physical pain. It helps you realize what truly matters to you.
4. It's okay to put yourself first:
Being empathetic, more often than not, I put the needs of others before my own. Being mindful has reminded me about how important it is to treat myself with kindness and love, as it is only then that I can be of greater service to the world around me. First fill your own cup, and let others benefit from the overflow. It's important to learn to fight for yourself before the world quietens your spirit.
5. Mental health is as important as physical health:
If you want to be healthy, you have to give importance to your mental health as much as you do to your physical health. Some examples -- On social media, follow accounts which promote healthy living and body positivity. If an app overwhelms you, uninstall it from your phone. Participate in a digital detox. Do you!
Listen to podcasts and read books which give you hope and joy. I've resumed watching/listening to 'Mayim Bialik's Breakdown' over the last week, which is such a wonderful mental health podcast. Do give it a listen.
There are different types of meditation, and I prefer the guided ones. It is important to try them all, and make your own decision about which type you like the best.
I hope this post has convinced you about how meditation can change your life! Make sure to give it a try. Happy meditating!
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!