The first Monday Mindfulness post of the year! And, as many of us are working hard on keeping our resolutions, it couldn’t come at a better time. After doing some reflection on what the next year looks like for my little blog, I decided I was going to change up the format of my Monday Mindfulness posts. Instead of sharing inspiring articles from around the web, I’m going to share personal experiences. It could be something that happened that changed my perspective, a new thing I’ve tried, a podcast, song, movie that inspired me. Instead of reading articles about wellness & mindfulness, I’m actually going to DO something about it! To start things off, I started meditating.
My initial struggle was where do I even BEGIN? I can barely get through a yoga class, how can I possibly get myself to sit down and commit to meditating every day?! We all say we’re too busy, and I felt the same way. I was also unsure about what exactly I was supposed to do. Do I just sit there and breathe deeply? #clueless. That’s why I decided to download Simple Habit, a meditation app “for busy people”. I figured, well, if all I need to do is put my headphones on and press play, it can’t be that bad?
The app has a ton of free guided meditations available, so I dug into the starter series, which required 5 minutes a day. I thought I’d benefit most from meditating in the AM, since I typically wake up and check my email immediately. That’s usually about the time the stress kicks in, as I mentally go through all the things I need to tackle that day. Instead of going straight to my inbox, I started my day with a five minute meditation…and here’s what happened.
I looked forward to it.
I’m not a morning person by ANY means, yet I found myself looking forward to waking up and meditating. And it was just for five minutes! I would feel accomplished finishing a series and excitedly browsed through the app for the next one I’d try. I also loved how much credit the guided meditations gave me for participating every day. I even got a star for my longest day streak! Yes, I feel like I’m in 1st grade again (“everyone gets a sticker for trying!”), but as I’m very hard on myself, it was nice to be reminded that I had a small personal victory every AM.
I started my morning with ease.
Post-meditating, I found myself less anxious & generally less stressed in the morning. Annoying things happen daily (obvi), but I noticed that my reaction to these things wasn’t as extreme. I felt more calm and positive than normal. Nothing drastic, just a slight change that I’d imagine continues to grow as you meditate more often & for a longer period of time.
I found myself going back to my breath throughout the day.
I opened up a bit about my anxiety in last week’s post; it’s something I’ve struggled with for years now. I’ve found that with the simple practices of meditation that I picked up on, I was able to find my breath for a minute or two during the day when my anxiety kicked in. Even though it doesn’t completely make it go away, it’s helped me manage it better!
I learned that you can practice anywhere, really.
My favorite feature of the Simple Habit app is “On the Go”. You select how much time you have, what you’re doing (i.e. tough day, big event, morning, sleep, walking, at work), how you’re feeling, and it will surface the best meditation for you at that moment. The other day, I was taking an Uber home from work, and decided to plug in for a few minutes. It was the first ride in a long time where I took in my surroundings, felt the car vibrating under my feet. For once, I wasn’t glued to my phone on my commute. It was so refreshing, I can’t wait to do more of it.