If you pay attention to health and wellness at all, I am sure you have seen that mindfulness is a hot topic especially in the past year. I have been interested in this idea for quite awhile and have talked about making it a part of my daily practice for the same amount of time.
In graduate school, I learned a lot about mindfulness and I even took a whole course at the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA while I was getting my MSW. I encourage the patients and families I work with to practice mindfulness to help with pain, anxiety and depression. My mom is a big believer in mindfulness as well and has integrated a mindful awareness in to her life to help her chronic pain. But despite being a self-proclaimed believer in mindful meditation, it was not something that was a part of my daily routine.
What I Learned:
The idea of doing something new indefinitely is scary- so, I told myself I would start with 30 days and see how it goes. This is what I learned:
- It is difficult to find 10 minutes per day- okay, it really is not at all difficult but it feels like it. It is literally 10 minutes out of 1,440. Its no time at all so how do you find it? Mark it on a calendar, set a reminder, do it right when you wake up so nothing else can get in the way.
- I never regret meditation. I liken it to working out- do I always feel like doing it? No! When I do it do I always feel better, accomplished, healthier, etc? Yes!
- While I am only meditating for 10 minutes per day, it has created a more mindful approach to daily life for me. That being said, meditation is not magic. It is called a meditation practice because it certainly takes time, dedication and practice. However, adopting a 10 minutes per day approach can lead to a variety of health benefits.
- There are so many tools out there to help you!
There are a few really great tools out there to help you get started.
- The Headspace App. This app starts with “take 10” which is 10 days of mindfulness practice that help you learn how to meditate, how to be mindful and what the benefits are. They app also has animations that illustrate mindfulness which help it make a whole lot more sense. Lastly, the app lets you set reminders and mindful moments to sneak mindfulness in each day no matter where you are.
- Buddhify. This is mostly what I used during my month of meditation. I love this app because it has meditations for every situation. For someone just starting out who might not love the idea of sitting on a cushion and meditating quietly, this app is perfect.
- MARC– UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a list of guided meditations on their website. You can find them here.
- Books! I love the Headspace Guide to Meditation by Andy Puddicombe who is also the creator of the app.
I encourage you to try it for a week or month and stick with it as best you can. Look for more posts on mindfulness coming up.