Welcome back to OnGoing Growing! Today we reflect on the benefits of Meditation but before that, we will look at why to Meditate and how to develop the habit of Meditation.
I have been considering meditating for a looooooooooooooong time… I always pushed it back and told myself I add it to my habits later. You know tomorrow or “next week”. The procrastination turned out as bad as it sounds and took me years to get started.
Why Start to Meditate?
For me, it mostly came down to two reasons:
You probably have heard about the all the scientifically proven benefits of Meditation. While that is encouraging, it wasn’t yet the trigger for me. I have been following Tim Ferris‘s doings, and by now, he interviewed all kinds of outstanding people in his Podcast and his books. What he found is that roughly 90% of them, practice a kind of meditation or at least, mindfulness. He very rarely met a successful person that was not having such a practice in their life. That was even more encouraging, but I kept pushing it to “next week”;
The other reason is my Beloved Wife: she has been meditating for many years, she has been to meditation retreats, and she is even now a meditation trainer. She did explain many times the benefits she got from meditating, and I witnessed that myself. I saw how often that inner peace practice brought her to a joyful and relaxed state.
So when in France for a holiday, while listening to Tim Ferris going through his morning routine: cold shower, meditation and journaling. I decided that the first day I am back to Ireland, I’ll meditate and have cold showers too. This time, it was a true commitment I made. I meant it and planed it. The result is that since September last year, I have been meditating 4-7 times a week, for 5 to 30 minutes. It is easy to say that it is now a habit because it is hard to break. Let me share with you a way to develop a new habit.
How to Start and Stick to a New Habit?
As we know, I wanted to add meditation to my morning routine. I knew that if I removed anything from my current routine (i.e., breakfast, gaming and watching YouTube), I would take a risk not to develop this habit. I was not ready to compromise my current routine or to have less time for myself in the morning. So at this point, the solution was pretty obvious: waking up early. By giving myself 30 extra minutes each morning, I felt pretty comfortable with starting to meditate at least 5 minutes and offered myself a possibility to do more when I am more comfortable. The longer goal for that habit was to often be able to meditate for 10-20 minutes.
To make simpler for myself, I started with the free beginner meditations from Headspace so I can learn the basics. Then after that, I went off to YouTube to find the length and type of meditation I want.
That is all it took to make to successfully start the habit!
Why do I Keep Meditating?
It took me a few months to feel the benefits of meditation. Something to call out is that I previously never worked on “quieting” my mind. I have been happily following its chaos for many years. While I am still far from having a “quiet” mind when I meditate, it brought me a lot of peace and helped me be centred.
Maybe the best way to explain is by sharing a little story of mine:
It was back in December during a stressful day at work that was the first time I felt the need to meditate. I was stressed and felt overwhelmed. It felt that my to-do list was longer than what I am able to accomplish in my next two work’s weeks. In the morning, I just felt the need to slow down, ease my mind and go back to my work with a better focus and concentration. During my lunch, I went outside on the balcony, put my headphones on and went for 15 minutes of guided meditation. While I was afraid to look like a fool, I still went ahead and I am happy I did.
It felt great afterwards, I could think more clearly, I was feeling peaceful and overall calm. Things weren’t as bad as they looked previously. It allowed to be organized and clear with my priorities and at this stage, it was easier to move forward, to have my most important work done and keep the rest for later.
Besides that story, these are the benefits gained from meditating:
- I feel calmer (centred)
- I connect more with my emotions
- I gain temporary clarity when I meditate
- I have less intrusive thoughts
- I feel more grateful (some meditations I did had a focus on that)
- I share a new activity and experience with my wife
It’s worth mentioning that I rarely meditate for long, most days I do 5 to 10 minutes and at times I do, 15 to 30 minutes. I believe I need to meditate for longer to experience other benefits.
The main issues I have when I meditate could be back pain if I don’t lean on a chair or a wall. Some days (rarely), I feel agitated after a while when meditating and I want to get out of the meditation. It’s often because I want to do something else or that I let my mind interrupt the meditation. Some days I can push through it, and it feels great, some days I just gently stop and move on with my day.
Building a new habit is never pretty nor always a success. At times it didn’t work as well as it could, and it is okay. I still meditate most days, it’s part of my routine, and I enjoy it!
What about you? Are you meditating? If not, do you want to start now? Let me know in the comments!