The Power of 10
I've always been a morning person, and over the last year have really found myself sticking to, and thriving from, a consistent morning routine (well, mostly. There is of course the odd morning where I decide to go from bed to couch blob and not move until my stomach grumbles like an impending avalanche).
I wanted to share with you a part of this routine and how it has had such a big and positive impact on my life; meditation. Now, hear me out on this one. About eighteen months ago I went on a retreat that my mum was a part of creating – a weekend at the coast looking at the benefits of meditation for young people. Now I’m sure that many of you can relate to at least some of the thoughts that initially put me off meditation: “I’m too busy”, “I don’t have time to sit down for that long”, “It’s boring”, “I get easily distracted so what’s the point”… the list goes on. And I was right there too.
But I suppose this weekend was the catalyst for me to try to find a way to integrate it into my daily life, for at least a week, and to see how I felt afterwards. And this was made all the more easier by coming across the app Headspace. This is in no way sponsored – I genuinely think this app is awesome and such a powerful resource our phones can give us. Once I had tried it – and stuck with it for the trial - my doubt at being able to "do it", or that it was pointless, started to shift.
The power of 10 minutes meditation each day has created, slowly but surely, a calmness and ability for me to really let things go that previously I would have gotten hung up on. I find myself generally much more relaxed and at ease, both with myself and others. I'm much less self-deprecating. And it's really highlighted to me how important it is to take care of your mental health, not just your physical... your mind is what gives your body the ability to maintain good physical health after all!
The first and foremost attraction of Headspace is it’s easy use and engaging features. The first pack, for beginners, or people like me who may have tried it a few times before but not found anything that worked, is such an accessible way to ease into meditation – why to do it, how it helps, our misconceptions and the benefits of simply being present and not filling our mind with constant thought for a few minutes each day. There are lots of different lengths of time you can do it for; there are really quick 2 or 3 minute options, right through to 60 minutes.
Progressing on from there, you can start multi-day packs that are themed around relationships and self-esteem through to preparing for major sporting competitions. If you like to mix it up, there are also “singles” – a multitude of topics including mindful cooking or walking, when you’re feeling stressed or flustered, preparing for a flight or an interview… The different options allow you to dip in and out of a pack with an ongoing theme, or into something more relevant to your context that day – for example I’ve used the “commuting” single quite a bit on train trips.
One of the biggest misconceptions with meditation is that a busy mind means we aren't meditating "right". But really the point of meditation is to approach the mind with a sense of openness and curiosity, to simply see the mind as it is and become aware of it. Some days it will be more restless than others, and that's ok! This doesn't mean you are doing anything incorrectly - we are not looking to try and change the mind in any way; we are creating a space of ease and calm within this space. At first, I was distracted and fidgety. I found that I was often concentrating way too hard, or feeling like I wasn’t doing it right. But I cannot speak highly enough of the gentle guidance and encouragement from Andy, the voice behind this ingenious app. One of my favourite quotes ever is that it's called "meditation practice not meditation perfect"! You are given the space to explore and be aware of your thoughts objectively, as well as opportunities to reflect. It has certainly helped me with navigating stuff like acceptance and perfectionism.
I would highly encourage you to try it – you can click here to sign up for the first 10 days for free. While I strongly believe that meditation is for everyone (never would've thought I'd say that a few years ago!), this app might not be for you. I know my sister likes the app 'Smiling Mind', I've heard good things about Calm, or there are plenty of resources out there to come up with self-directed options; find what works for you. If you have already tried Headspace, or you use it, what do you think? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts! x