I've dabbled on and off with meditation. I'm rather partial to a spot of yoga and whilst I always enjoy the meditation segment at the end (I've been known to nod off), I find it difficult to actually focus on 'quieting my mind'. I know this is a struggle that many face when attempting to meditate but I imagine we can all agree that five minutes peace and quiet is enjoyable and welcomed either way.
With so many 'professionals' out there telling us that we should be meditating and this can lead to improved mental health and happiness, I thought I would try and give it a go consistently, for a mere week. I'll be honest, I don't think a week is long enough for any astounding conclusions, but a month felt like too much of a commitment.
Trying to find the motivation to actually take five minutes to go and sit and be quiet for 5 minutes was extremely difficult. During the day I was worried how I was going to fit it into my schedule. On reflection you could say that from this statement I am someone clearly in need of a 5 minute meditation break. However, I did manage to make it up to my office after declaring I was off to meditate and not to be disturbed. I put on some calming ocean sounds and tried to focus. My mind wandered, a lot. Due to the nature of my experiment I spent most of the meditation wandering what I should note down after to log my experiences. So, slightly counter productive. With that said, the 5 minutes flew by and I did feel very relaxed, which was a nice way to proceed onto bedtime.
Day 2 and 3
Over the next couple of days I really tried to work on focusing more during my meditation time. On day 2 I was able to better acknowledge my passing thoughts, and then let them go. However, I actually really enjoy day dreaming and so it was very easy to drift off and forget I was meant to be clearing my mind. Day 3 my focus was just as poor. I kept thinking about the jobs I needed to do and I didn't particularly want to meditate that evening. I did note that I was feeling better though. As I write this the past me didn't feel the need to elucidate on what 'better' meant exactly, but I suppose we can assume meditating was having a positive impact on me.
In an attempt to improve on my focus I decided to use a guided mediation. This did not work. My mind wandered a lot more in fact, but it did help the 5 minutes to go a lot quicker. I noted that my sleeping had improved.
Days 5 - 7
On the home stretch of my short experiment. The motivation to take the time out to meditate was even more difficult. I decided to try out a video guided meditation on day 6. The video I found had images of trees to watch. I did actually quite enjoy sitting on my living room floor looking at a forest, but keeping my eyes open I found I didn't find it quite as relaxing. By this point the mediation certainly felt more like an extra chore than anything.
My very scientific findings
From reading back through my experiences of my meditation week, I can agree that it did seem to have a positive impact on me. Adding it on to my night time routine and doing it just before bed was clearly helping to relax and unwind myself, leading to a better nights sleep. I wouldn't say it was improving my overall mental health or happiness though. I do have incredibly busy week days so unfortunately didn't have time, or the memory, to note down how the meditation was impacting me during the day time, but I don't remember noticing any significant changes.
My personal views on this is that meditation can definitely be a useful and powerful tool for helping to relieve stress, and carve out a small portion of your day just to be and to breathe. For me though, I don't think I need to add this into my day. I have other ways of unwinding and taking me time, for instance reading my book, having a bath, or going to the gym or for a run. I think we all just need to find our own forms of self care and what works for us. By all means we should definitely be fitting self care into our busy routines, but it doesn't necessarily have to be meditating.