I Meditated Every Day for a Month. Here's How it Changed Me.
‘Twas the night before the first day of my month of meditation. I decided I’d do my meditating in the morning to set a positive tone for the rest of my day. I went to bed with an enthusiastic spirit, ready to wake up, meditate, and head to class bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But you know what they say about best-laid plans...
Day one of finding my zen rolled around, and I woke up 40 minutes past my alarm. I ran out the door of my apartment with a banana and certainly did not have time to focus on my breathing rhythm. I hopped on the transit, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I promised myself I would bounce back later that night.
Learning to meditate is like learning to play a sport. The more you practice, the better you get, and it’s easier to progress with someone coaching you. At the beginning, I felt like a little kid playing tee-ball. Now I’m on the road to the MLB. Sort of.
I personally use Headspace as my “coach” to meditate. It’s a free app that makes navigating this whole meditation thing super simple, and the guy’s voice is honestly pretty soothing.
I especially love the app’s meditation reminders and “Mindful Moments” notifications; you can set a reminder for a time to meditate. For example, I have mine set for 7:30 a.m. on weekdays. I also get Headspace’s “Mindful Moments” — daily messages to keep me mindful throughout the day. You can set your preferences in settings and get one to five notifications per day. Among a million of notifications that pop up on my phone on the daily, these are the most welcomed.
Morning vs. Night
I am not going to lie to y’all, the hardest part about meditation was actually making it a priority. Adding something into my already-busy schedule was HARD. Not run-a-marathon hard, but hard nonetheless. I already have a pretty solid morning routine, and by the time my head hits the pillow at night, I’m ready to pass out.
After completely skipping a few days, I decided waiting to meditate at night wasn’t working. Someone once told me that the best way to create a new habit is to piggyback it off of an already existing habit. About halfway through this meditation journey, I decided to commit to meditating right after making my bed each morning. If you’re planning on embarking on your own meditation journey, I definitely think it makes it easier to schedule it around an existing “constant” in your life.
Drum roll please… the stuff you’ve been waiting to hear. Did I actually change at all?
Yes, I’ve seen benefits of my meditation in my life, and yes, there are still improvements I’d like to make.
I’m more conscious of the tension I hold in my shoulders, eyebrows, and jaw, and I’ve become better at releasing it throughout the day. My practice has spilled into different areas of my life, and I’ve been less tired, more focused, and have eaten better and craved less sugar (I’m a HUGE sweets girl).
One of my favorite quotes right now is “You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” I notice that when I don’t take care of myself, and I’m burning the candle at both ends, I can’t serve others as well as I’d like to. As I continue to meditate, I want to focus on how it can affect my attitude towards the people around me.
“Meditation can change a lot when you realize how it impacts yourself and also those around you.”
I want to do some research and experiment with different types of meditation. I’ve heard a lot about Transcendental Meditation. I’m also interested in a 5-minute, four-part visualization meditation. It starts with a minute of gratitude and thankfulness. Next, you focus on lifting up a loved one, imagining a glowing light above them as they go about their day. The third phase is about what success looks and feels like for you today. Lastly, you focus on being present by paying attention to your breathing and the noises around you.
That’ll be the next phase in my meditation experiment — stay tuned.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography by Abbey C.