At the end of 2019 I was buying a house and things were naturally quite stressful. I'm sure there were a couple of times when I had full on panic attacks, in the middle of a restaruamt just thinking about the upcoming house move and such a big purchase. I was looking for ways to overcome these feelings and decided to try out meditation. I found meditation to be a bit confusing, and didn't really get on great with it. Anyway, I stopped doing it altogether and moved on.
When I was thinking about things I wanted to do this year, I decided to have a monthly challenge or goal, centering around healthy habits. In short, I decided to run 12 experiments throughout 2020 to determine what works for me. As I had so recently decided to give up meditation, I kept thinking it was bad I had given up so quickly without really giving it a proper chance. Decision made.
I decided I would use a free app called Oak and I would spend 10 minutes meditating every day. I'd log this in my Bullet Journal to ensure I kept track if I missed any days. Small easy steps. I'd do my daily meditation after eating my breakfast, before getting in the shower.
Looking back through my bullet journal, I can see I was fairly consistent. There were a couple of days near the end of the month which don't have meditation checked off, but I know I didn't miss 2 days in a row.
When I started out, the Oak app was okay. I chose the 'mindful' meditation and used this solely for about a week and a half. Then I started to feel like I was pre-empting the words the person was about to say. I found myself concentrating more on the voice than what was actually being said. This caused me to go hunting for some other 10 minute meditation videos on Youtube which I could listen to.
While I was at it, I wanted to find something for focused. I wanted to prepare myself for a busy day and focus on getting myself centered and prepared for the day ahead. The first deviation from the Oak app was not successful. The theme was too spiritual for me. I am really not a spiritual person, and this one was all about spiritual guidance and seemed a bit 'hippy' for my liking.
The next attempt was a little more successful and brought in a concept of visualisation. While I found this really difficult, it was definitely more successful than the first attempt.
About half way through the month, I found I had forgotten to meditate in the morning and I didn't want to miss it. Late in the evening I found some time to meditate. This was a huge error. I found myself just constantly falling asleep and jerking awake. I came to the conclusion it was better to miss a day, than to attempt to squeeze a session in when I'm really tired after a long day.
I completed 27/31 meditation sessions throughout January. I learned it is better to skip something than to attempt with little energy or effort. I found myself a little calmer on the day to day. One day at the end of the month I found myself in a situation where I would normally have been huffing and puffing, or getting really aggrevated with the situation, however I remained incredibly calm and didn't let the situation bother me at all. I don't know whether this was because of the meditation I had been doing up to this point or not, but it's certainly a coincidence.
Looking forward I don't think I will be continuing a daily meditation routine, however it will remain a tool in my toolbox to recenter myself. I will probably look to do a session a few times a month, but I won't be making a routine of it. I'll continue to record a log of when I do meditate so I can draw any comparisons with stress/mood levels.