Happiness · Personal · Self-Improvement · Uncategorized

Before I Go’s 30-day Meditation Experiment

“30 days has September…”

During this year’s journey- and for many years before I got really serious about my mental health- I have been told (and shown) by numerous sources that meditation, even in a small amount, can do wonders for the brain, body, and soul. Positive thinking can literally change your cell make up. By changing your thought patterns, you can be a magnet for good through the basic law of attraction. And here’s the weirdest part: you don’t have to believe it, you just have to SAY it. Sounds amazing, right?!

MiracleMagnet

On and off I’ve tried a few different ways of mediating, but perfectionist that I am, I want to be “good at it” right away. Which is, of course, impossible. Even monks who spend their entire lives living and breathing spirituality and meditating for the better part of every day STILL have trouble quiet-ing their thoughts.

And just like anything else, meditation takes practice. Yes, it does feel good to do 20 minutes here and there when my “monkey mind” gets particularly chaotic, but the REAL benefits- the long-term, long-lasting, life-altering benefits- only come when you make it a “practice” in your everyday life.

Side note: don’t you just love that it’s called meditation “practice”?

Really takes the pressure off! And it’s TRUE- it’s not a performance; no one is judging you or grading you on how many thoughts you let seep in, or how deep your breathing was, because nobody knows that but YOU. And in the case of meditation, “practice” doesn’t make perfect because there is no such thing as “perfect”. Rather, practice makes easier. And the easier it gets, the more benefits you glean.

I’ll explore more in later posts about the benefits of meditation, but for right now I’m going to focus on my goal of PRACTICE.

For the 30 days of September, I am going to commit to sitting quietly with a guided meditation for at least 15 minutes a day.

Last month was a rough one, and I found some solace in a few guided meditations/positive affirmation recordings. I’m listing them below, but please leave any other podcasts, youtube channels, etc etc in the comments- I’m always up for adding to the library!

And lastly, a tip for beginners like me: When you go to meditate, STACK THE DECK.

Meaning, turn off your phone (even better if you can put it in another room completely), wear comfy clothes (I find meditating in my pajamas when I first wake up always gleans the best results), be in a space you like where you won’t be disturbed (and if you don’t have one, set one up! I pull my chair up to the window and light a candle on the windowsill- it immediately “sets the mood” and, it’s fun!).

The Meditation Podcast

Disclaimer: I have only just discovered this podcast and haven’t listened to all the episodes. However, I HAVE tried to listen to quite a few meditation tapes/youtube videos/etc and I gotta say, I have a hard time meditating/concentrating/ relaxing when the person speaking sounds like a phone sex operator. This series has male and female narrators that are relaxed enough to be soothing, but still speaking in a borderline “normal” voice.

The other thing I like about this series is the “episodes” are only 20-25 mins long which is a GREAT length to start with; short enough to be not a huge time comittment but long enough to really quiet your mind.

The first episode is a really nice intro to meditation. Asking and answering questions like:

  • What is meditation?
  • Why Meditate?
  • How to Meditate?

And so on. I think it’s a great place to start.

Louise Hay: Affirmations

Louise Hay is a badass lady who has changed so many lives for the better with positive thinking. She is particularly known in circles where addiction (whether it’s your own or a loved one’s addiction) is an issue. BUT there is SOOOOO much more to her work than that; I really like the simplicity of her daily affirmations. If I’m in a pinch, or I don’t feel like sitting and listening to a whole podcast or video, I’ll just find one of her affirmations that speaks to me and repeat it out loud 10 times.

For Example:

louise-hay-quotes-happiness-day-begins-ends-joy

How lovely is that? And so simple!

She also has some great videos on YouTube of her guided meditations and positive affirmations. She also has a TON of helpful links on her website and many wonderful meditations available on iTunes.

I’m sure I’m going to stumble during this 30-day experiment and I promise to write updates on my progress. Comment below if you have any advice!

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