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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekly Challenge #6

Have you ever meditated? I recently hung out with a new friend, Louise, who grew up in a Iowa town known for transcendental meditation. At just five years old, she was taught to meditate by repeating a mantra while she played with toys. At her high school, all the students would meditate for three hours a day. Amazing, right?

I've never been able to meditate. Funnily enough, I think it's because I'm too anxious. Alex and I once went to an evening meditation workshop for a story he was working on, and the whole time I sat there trying to figure out where we should go to dinner afterward. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the point.

But meditation can actually make you happier. According to a fascinating New York Times article, researchers have shown that daily meditation-like thought can shift brain activity toward "positive emotional states...that make us more likely to engage the world rather than to withdraw from it." In the study, participants were told to "relax with their eyes closed, focus on their breathing, and acknowledge and release any random thoughts that might arise," and voila! With as little as five minutes of meditating a day, "a happier outlook is yours for the taking."

So! Who wants to give it a go? This week's challenge is to meditate for 10 minutes a day. Because if it really makes you calmer and happier, then 10 minutes would be worth it, right?

Andy Puddicombe, author of Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day, says it's best to meditate first thing in the morning, if possible, and in the same place every time. "Avoid judging your meditation," he told the Huffington Post. "It is tempting to think you are 'good' or 'bad' at meditation. In truth, there is no such thing...Taming the mind is a skill to develop over a lifetime."

What do you think? Have you ever meditated? Did you feel good afterward? Would you be up for trying it?

P.S. Are you too busy? Also, cat bounce.

(Graphic design by Rachel for Cup of Jo)

97 comments:

Christina said...

im in! i used to meditate more before i got married and while i am not sure i was "happier" i certainly felt like i was more focused on goals.

good luck to you!

thejunkdrunk said...

Are you spying on me? My husband and our cat recently started meditating together for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Both are thriving, but especially the cat.
Pictures of my calm cat, if you're interested in seeing her fur-face.

Simply Mom said...

My sister-in-law grew up in that same town and went to the same High School, they probably know each other.

Jay said...

I meditate - practically every day. Some days are better than others but I always feel a little bit better after.

I really like following this guided practice - easier than just sitting and focusing...

http://www.yogajournal.com/meditationinvitation/week1.html

Liz Atchison said...

speaking of cat bounce... have you seen this yet?? so fabulous... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL82YimQVFI

Simply Mom said...

oh, and I took a Mindfulness Based Stress reduction class and my therapist taught me to think of my thoughts as if they were on a conveyor belt. Don't judge them they come in on the belt and out on the belt and over time there are just fewer of them on the belt.

Unknown said...

When I first started meditating, I used to spend the whole time thinking "man, I'm going to be so happy and so relaxed now that I'm meditating. I can't wait to feel free of my anxiety." This, obviously, was defeating the purpose. It took me so long to turn off all the brain-chatter ABOUT my meditation!

BUT I have had some really positive experiences since sticking with a meditation practice. The best way to describe it is a kind of buoyancy that I feel more often now. I feel closer to my intuition and farther away from that brain-chatter.

General Gingersnap said...

That is so interesting! I have been thinking about doing the 7 Sacred Pauses to help with my stress. The Midnight Pause is going to be tough, though!
(http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Sacred-Pauses-Mindfully-Through/dp/1933495243)

Kirsty said...

In Iowa of all places! Fascinating!

Theresa / InspirationCOOP said...

Ha, I had the same result when I first tried to meditate - My mind wandered and starting thinking of things I needed to do. I recently gave it another go when I read the book, May Cause Miracles, and achieved much better success. In the book, you're asked to mediate for 1-5 minutes every morning as soon as you get up and every night right before you go to bed, and repeat a simple mantra during both. I think the short time span is what helped me stick with it. I have fallen off and need to get back to the practice, so I'm in. Good luck!

BODIEandFOU concept store said...

I can't meditate...I'm all over the place thinking about too many things. Can't do yoga that focuses on breathing or meditation - stress the hell out of me! But I love love love Birkram yoga. I feel so relaxed and cleanse inside out, it is an amazing experience...afterwards 'cause during it can be challenging ;-)
but having done 16 years of classical ballet when I was young, it's the best thing I've done since I gave up ballet...love how much it pushes my body towards flexibility & inner peace

Lara said...

Hi Joanna! I love your blog, and read it religiously. Anyway, I just wanted to throw my two cents in on this topic. Meditation has had an incredibly positive impact on my life, particularly as someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety. I once read somewhere that saying that you're too anxious for mediation is like saying that you're too dirty to take a bath. :) What I mean to say is that I've found that it can really be beneficial for these types of struggles, as it strengthens the mental "muscles" that are so compromised by those conditions. So, I hope you enjoy your experiment! It's very tough at first, and as someone above said, some days are much easier than others, but, to me at least, has really changed my outlook for the better. I really enjoy Gabrielle Bernstein's guided meditations. Keep up the excellent work on the blog. Love, Lara

lipstick and soda said...

Hi, I don't meditate per se, but I've heard great things about mindfulness and getting into it. Thanks for the post!
http://lipstickandsoda.blogspot.be/

Emily Outcalt said...

I've struggled on and off with depression, and I recently in the beginning of March just accepted that I had SADs and needed an antidepressant every winter. I also started a mindfulness 8-week program at the same time. Within 3 weeks, I stopped the antidepressant because I knew I could handle it without after starting that program. Now I treat meditation like a 'dose' of medicine every day to tune myself.

Mary said...

I have a hard time with it too, but I do often try. I try to take ten minutes after my boys go to bed. I sit on the floor (somehow it's easier on the floor as opposed to a couch or chair). Silence is especially appreciated at that time of day, so sitting still and savoring it is a pleasure, not a chore or something I feel like I should be doing. I don't always manage it, but I can say that it definitely helps calm me and focus my thoughts, and especially after that most crazy time of day, I need it!

Princess Kayel said...

I might even try it! Who wouln't want to be happy!

http://princesskayel.blogspot.com/

joyful.mara said...

Let's do this! The idea of meditation has been popping up around me lately and I think that is a clear sign it is time to give it another try. I also believe I am bad at it and can't get my mind to stop so I give up without really trying it over an extended time. And 10 minutes a day...I can definitely do that.

Alaina Kleinbeck said...

I practice contemplation which is a Christian prayer form that mirrors Eastern meditation in many ways.

Anyway, I am a busymind, so focusing is not my forte. I found that having an index card and pen nearby where I could jot the idea that was bothering me helped me to focus. I could put the thought (usually something like: buy spinach) on the card and then I didn't worry about forgetting it.

It isn't quite the purest way of getting into a mediative state, but it helps my mind relax on my way there.

Nancy said...

I think (even if it is said not to think it) I am bad in meditating, but I have been trying and I will keep on trying because I think it will benefit you. I will be spending one week in France in June for meditation, yoga and writing and I am really looking forward to it (and to be honest, I am a bit scared too).
And... I would like to give you a tip: Deepak Chopra has got free meditations every once in a while. The last one was last March together with Oprah Winfrey. You sign up and every day (for 30 days) you receive an email to log in to a meditation - he will guide you to better health or abundance - it's really cool to participate and easy to do since you have a guideline. And in the end he rings a bell for you so you know the session is over :)

So even now, I will again try to meditate - together with you. Let's start with tomorrow morning. I set for 10 minutes.


Love,
Nancy

Courtney said...

I'm reading the book Mindful Birthing right now and it is so good! You should check it out!

Caitlin Dodge said...

I used to go to a Buddhist meditation hour during college on Thursday evenings. The trick that someone taught me there (which is the only way that I can focus) is this: when your mind wanders, focus on the space one centimeter from the tip of your nose. It forces your eyes to relax, looking forward & down, and it’s very difficult to think of other things when you are thinking about the space right off the tip of your nose, because not much is going on there.

I don't meditate often enough, but when I do I find myself becoming calmer and less irritable.

bRob said...

"relax with their eyes closed, focus on their breathing, and acknowledge and release any random thoughts that might arise," -- that's called a nap. I'm really good at that.

Mami said...

I practice Hot Yoga and definitely feel like I meditate during those first 5-10 minutes where we are performing a breathing exercise. Your post made me realize that. Hooray!

lisaathome said...

I meditated every day in college when I was suffering from anxiety and overall sadness.
I really need to get back to it as it was incredibly helpful in bringing me to a place of calm during a very stressful time.

Dinner-Pal said...

I totally believe in meditation but as a mother of two little ones, I find it very hard to sit still and just meditate. Instead I try to empty my mind at the gym and just focus on my body and that moment. I think that's better than nothing, right?!

Philline Dilao said...

A friend/yoga teacher tried to get me to meditate regularly in college, but I always found it too hard back then. Now that I practice yoga daily, I make sure to always meditate at the end and it is so relaxing! I got to a point recently where I meditate in a seated position, I start feeling my energy(!?) swaying me back and forth. crazy.

Vanessa Marie said...

I use the Simply Being app for iphone when I'm anxiously tossing and turning and can't sleep. It's works like a charm every time! I've never really used it during the day but I'm sure it would be just as beneficial. I recommend the app to anyone looking for a guided way to meditate :)

rae said...

Susan Piver created the Open Heart Project which sets up 10 minute meditations daily. I found my personal mantra through her: "no hope no fear" which basically helps me to find a place for all my anxious thoughts-- they always fit in one of the two buckets. Then I can be done with them and live in the moment. http://susanpiver.com/open-heart-project/

Alegria said...

Hi Joanna! I also have a very anxious mind, but I've been practicing meditation every single day for about 8 years now, and it's become such a part of my wellbeing that I would just feel strange not doing it one day. I love it. Here are a few tips I learned over the years that can help you:
- Start small, don't be too hard on yourself. 5 minutes is a great start, and it will naturally, effortlessly increase with time.
- I meditate first thing in the morning; I've found that keeping it for later in the day is too difficult as I never know how my day will be.
- You can calm your mind and nervous system with some breathing (pranayam) before you sit in silence-- try alternate nostril breathing (sitali pranayam) or ujjayi breathing. This is the tip I wish I had followed way back when I started; it makes my meditation 10 times easier and enjoyable.
- Sitting in silence is wonderful, but for busy minds repeating a mantra can be much easier, because you have something to focus on and come back to again and again. You can repeat it out loud (better yet, sing it), whisper it or repeat it mentally; the easiest is out loud.
Enjoy! With Love

Eliza Jane said...

I love this photo!! I used to go to meditation class every Sunday night, when I lived in Canada.

Gabriella said...

Meditation has been very useful for me, and I try to do it every day, along with going to a meditation center in NYC for classes, group meditations, and talks (useful to share the experience with others, I've learned.) I also found it hard to calm my thoughts at first, but one the books I read and very much recommend -- "Turning the Mind Into an Ally"-- speaks about the mind as a horse that you gently, patiently, and persistently tame over time. It truly is a practice like any other, and I think it has great rewards.

Ellen said...

I'm an RYT 200 (yoga teacher) and teach guided meditations to students in my class for anxiety and depression. If you're worried about how to tether your focus and whether or not your anxiety might creep in while you meditate, I would recommend that as you sit for your 5-10 minutes, use the breath as an anchor.

A great exercise for anxiety in particular is to count the beats of your inhalation and exhalation, eventually getting your exhalation to be twice as long as your inhalation. For example, inhale through the nose for 3 counts, exhale through the nose for 6. Following the breath keeps the mind anchored in the moment; the extended exhalation relaxes the body.

Best of luck! Meditation--or, honestly, just stillness and silence--is something we can all benefit from.

styleatelierdc said...

Ha!

MC said...

A technique that I read in a book by Thich Naht Hanh has made my transitions into meditation easier. When you sit you simply watch your breath, like always, but say "In/out, deep/slow, calm/ease, smile/release." Each set of words corresponds with a breath cycle. You don't change your breath, you just watch and it will slow down as you breath in and out and say the corresponding word in your head. Sometimes I do it for the full 10-20 minutes, other times just at the beginning to stop the chatter in my mind. Love it.

Shannon of HAPPINESS IS said...

I recently started up a little practice - 20 minutes before I go to bed. But I sit up, so I won't fall asleep (sometimes I still do, but hey).

One thing that really helps is guided meditations. Helps your mind wander less. I wrote about some good ones if you're interested...

http://www.happinessisblog.com/happiness-is/2013/03/get-happy-guided-meditations.html

Nicola said...

Never thought I'd admit that I really enjoy it, I battled with my monkey brain for a long time, but did a six week mindfullness course and now I really enjoy taking three or ten minutes (find I'm much more successful using a guided meditation like calm.com)

Plus I'm trying to kick in the mindfulness a bit more with my new blogging project! Nothing like a breakup to inspire a bit of self improvement right?

Www.mindfulgrateful.blogspot.com

Emily said...

I used to meditate every so often before bed. I have trouble shutting my mind down when I'm trying to fall asleep, so focusing on my breathing and calming down that way was really helpful. Sometimes I would start to fall asleep while I was still sitting up, haha!

zoe said...

I just started meditating in February... I thought I would never be able to do it but when they say it can change your life they mean it! A whole world can open up. It's pretty awesome :) Can't wait to see how you find it!!

KJ said...

I really like the exhale vs. inhale counting - thanks for the tip! I think that would be very calming at night too, as a way to calm your mind as you fall asleep.

Jules Elle said...

I love meditating it is very calming. It really helped me relax especially during finals. :) I wish you the best of luck

Lisa Johnson said...

I meditate for 15 minutes most everyday. Usually soon before turning in for the night. It's taken about a year to work up to the 15 minutes. It's definitely a lifetime practice, because it feels different each time. The days that I'm most upset and restless are the days that it's the hardest. I live just outside Boston, last Monday, on the night of the bombing, when I most needed to sit and be calm, I just couldn't do it at all.

Sparkling Ruby said...

I had a horriblehorrible bout of insomnia last year. I did not sleep for close to three weeks.I tried so many different medications and no.thing.helped. The only thing that finally broke the sleeplessness was this kind of cheezy meditation hypnosis podcast for free on itunes... glenn harold... it's 45 minutes long and i would listen to it twice and i finally slept one night for 3 hours. the next night for close to 5. I think it saved my mind. I try to make time for it in the mornings now. right there in bed before even getting up, i put ear buds and ease into the day for a few minutes. i always have a better day when i do this. Thanks Joanna!

Richard Hobbs said...

Hi Joanna.

Your friend almost definitely went to Maharishi School in Iowa (see www.maharishischooliowa.org ) which is quite an incredible school.

As you say, all the kids practice Transcendental Meditation, and hatha yoga too, all the way through from K through to 12 and the results are quite stunning (the 3 hour program is an elective, and only part of it includes TM).

There are very few of the problems schools normally suffer from (drugs, violence, etc.), students win all kinds of awards (particularly anything to do with creativity), they don't get so stressed out at exam time and despite the absence of any admission criteria over 95% go on to college and many to top schools like Harvard, MIT, Wellsley, Smith etc. Some though choose to go on to Maharishi University of Management next door (see www.mum.edu), a fully accredited University offering Bachelors through to PhD programs that also integrates Transcendental Meditation and yoga into the curriculum.

Both are well worth a visit for anyone who wants to develop their brain and succeed in all worldly their aspirations too. I should know as I'm an alumnus of the University, and my daughter an alumna of the school.

Enjoy.

Richard

Lindsay said...

I too have a very busy mind, not always anxious, but definitely noisy! As others suggested, I found guided meditation the easiest to practice, and in short sessions. A month ago, I started Andy Puddicombe's 'Get Some Headspace' 10 day series. I initially chose it because it was free and a short time commitment (10min/day), but I've really enjoyed it, and felt like it had a positive impact on other parts of my life.

chocolateprn said...

i used to be really great at shavasana and would almost fall asleep in class. i started to use it to fall asleep at night - amazing how well it worked. now that i am pregnant, my prenatal class instructor leads a meditation at the end of every class and she also instructs our prenatal aquafit class where she ends ever class with a guided meditation. i love it and have looked online for some guided meditations to use in labour. youtube has some videos and ideas if you are interested. Curious if anyone reading has any recommendations for me?

Joann Liu said...

I do this too! And then follow it up with gratitude meditation, where I ask for wellness, peace, happiness, calm for myself; then once through for someone I love; and then once through for someone I am struggling with at the moment.

Then follow it up with some EFT, and it's a pretty nice transition into my morning!

Larissa said...

The website www.calm.com offers 2, 10, or 20 minute 'guided relaxations'. I have never been able to meditate on my own but this site is a huge help!

Spags said...

Guided meditations always help me a great deal. There are tons of scripts and audios available online/itunes/etc., and the visualizations keep my anxious mind a little more engaged. My favorite is picturing myself at a river, watching the water rush by, and when a thought pops up to place it on a leaf and watch it float down the river. Instead of leaves it could be anything really, boats on a lake, balloons floating off, clouds floating across the sky--anything moving that you can place a thought on and watch float away.

Best of luck!!!

cmr16@yahoo.com said...

After I had my second baby and was extremely anxious and stressed, I tried: Meditations for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It was SO HELPFUL in getting back to sleep after a night feeding when my mind was racing. The meditations are short and easy and he has an amazing voice. Plus he is one of the very early founders of the whole meditation movement in the US and he understands the challenges that skeptical beginners are facing as they try to meditate for the first time. I highly recommend it. Also he has a great book on mindful parenting written with his wife that is also worth reading.

Kate said...

My parents have meditated for years and years. They would sauna in the mornings and then meditate before we got up for school. I still remember how confused I was when they told me that meditating wasn't about concentrating on one thing - it was about concentrating on nothing! It made no sense. I was such a worrier when I was little and I would stress myself out while falling asleep so badly that I would be up for hours, but my dad taught me how to "meditate" by counting backwards from 10 and concentrating on only the number until all other thoughts were cleared from my mind...then you move on to 9, and then when all thoughts are gone but "9" you go to 8, and so on. If other thoughts start crowding in during a digit, you patiently clear them away and try to focus again on the number. It can take some time, but it's worth it :)

When I got older and started spending the night at friends' houses, I used the trick to help me calm down and fall asleep when I started getting to nervous about being away from home. I still use it to this day when my mind is racing for one reason or another, and I usually fall asleep before I can get to the number 4!

I think that meditation being a normal part of our household's daily routine helped me to (hopefully) grow up a slightly more patient, quiet-appreciating, aware person. I also find that knitting in a silent room both opens and calms my mind in the same sort of way. I hope you find it as beneficial and enjoyable!

Brittany said...

Back in November I went to Bhutan, the theme of the trip being meditation. It was obviously very easy to relax with such beautiful and natural surroundings, but as soon as I arrived back to my life and to the city, I lost that ease of doing so and eventually gave up completely.

Maybe I'll pick it up again! :)

LRB said...

I've been meditating (almost) every morning for the past 10 years. My boyfriend at the time gave me the gift of meditation as a birthday gift. It has changed my life for the best, instilled a deep & true confidence in me and a level of patience that I never had before. Even though it's not for everyone, there's a comfort in knowing that those that are heavy meditatators are pushing (recycling) positive energy out there.

http://www.littleredbook-thatshaute.blogspot.com

Nicola said...

Yes! I love calm.com too, even if I do tend to get a bit distracted picking my 'favourite scene'

N

www.mindfulgrateful.blogspot.com

Em said...

I am an anxious, flighty-minded mess a lot of the time but I am loving the recent challenge I took up of trying to quieten my mind and meditate.

I'm definitely feeling calmer overall. I also feel like I am doing a really, really good thing for myself!

I'm using an iPhone app called Smiling Mind that does guided meditation. I think they have a website too :)

Inner-Outer Beauty said...

I am all for it, even though I don't do it often enough, but I try to still my self at least once a day, even though it's not real deep meditation I almost consider it that since it gives a lot, like new outlook on problems or just being more relaxed. But, the real pro in my family is my grandmother, who is soon turning 101! She's been meditating daily for the last 50 years and taught the art of meditation to thousands of people in Sweden, being an authorative in the field. She's wonderful and I have written about her on my blog since I think she's such a great example how it can prolong and enhance life. She taught me that, and to always keep Champagne in the fridge to celebrate the small things! Caroline

Inner-Outer Beauty said...

I also love Gabrielle Bernstein, she's great! Caroline
www.inner-outerbeauty.com

megan said...

I did a 30-day yoga challenge this winter and originally I dismissed the meditation component of it. Then I realized that the few minutes when the class was done, where I was just breathing, reflecting and well, meditating, really grounded me. I had a few minutes to feel good about accomplishments, reset for the following day and it energized my soul. I stopped a bit once the 30-day challenge was up and was going to get started again tonight. I notice how much I miss it and feel a little 'off'. This is perfect timing. So long answer short? I'm in.

Maywyn Studio said...

Listening to Adele's "Rollin' in the Deep" the radio station studio version, if you let it, can produce a feeling a clear and clean energy. I meditate. Music is an equal.

Mary Elizabeth Velarmino Francisco said...

Hi. I found your blog just recently, and I guess, it's already saving my life. Thank you very much.

Shayla LaFreniere said...

So cute!
This reminds me of a quote I read that said "You should sit in mediation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour. :)

JacPfef said...

There's a buddhist monastery in Port Jervis (about an hour north of NYC) and I found out a year ago that a guy I dated in HS was LIVING there! He invited me up for a guided meditation workshop and it was so fascinating. I was anxious the entire time we were meditating - the room was so quiet and I was so nervous that my stomach would start growling and I'd mess up everyone's meditation. Then, when the instructor prompted me to open my eyes, I was so surprised to find that I was so calm and focused. We grabbed tea in the adjoining cafe afterward and had the most profound philosophical discussions. It was such a great experience and I really want to go back for one of their weekend retreats!

Christina said...

I used to feel too distracted to meditate, but then a massage therapist told me a trick that really helps clear my mind. Whenever another thought pops into your head, like, did I take out the trash, or I forgot to answer that email... just say in response, "oh well." Any thought that enters your mind, just take a deep breath and think or even say out loud, oh well, as many times as you need to. Because it's ok, whatever it is will be there when you're done, and for now, it doesn't matter. Just two words - Oh Well. It has helped me tremendously. I meditate and do yoga a few times a week and it does wonders for my anxiety. Thumbs up, Joanna! You can do it! Oh well! :)

XOXOX

Dani said...

I couldn't sleep last night (sick baby) and remembered your dad's tip from the post a few days ago... Totally helped me release tension I didn't realize I was holding in my shoulders. Anyway, I also thought about this for you: when I was pregnant and struggling with the racing night thoughts I downloaded some episodes of The Meditation Podcast (official name, free) from iTunes and oh man, the ones where the man does the talking put me right to sleep! You should try them!

librarytour said...

I've made attempts at meditation on and off for probably a decade now. Read a book. Took a class. Listened to a lecture. Downloaded a podcast but never listened to it. Tried it alone. Tried it with groups. Attempted on the MBTA subway. My cat actually gets in the WAY of my meditation efforts by ceaselessly begging for attention.

I've long known that I'm fairly stumped by consistency. Can't even take vitamins every day!

I expect my meditation journey will continue much in the same vein as above, as long I feel the practice still contains value for me, which it does.

Fionnuala Power said...

This has nothing to do with the above or meditation but saw this old pic of Hugh Grant and he looks so like Toby! http://www.blameitonthevoices.com/2009/02/before-they-were-famous.html

Here Now Brown Cow said...

I have meditated in classes for a while now, but have only just begun going it alone at home. I found the main thing is to have the time and space set up so that you can't talk yourself out of it, just do it. Once you start, you'll see so many benefits you'll be creating time to do it more! More on my journey here http://herenowbrowncow.wordpress.com/category/meditation-2/

Margaret H. said...

I think someone else already commented about Jon Kabat-Zinn, but he is worth repeating. He has a great book...'Wherever You Go There You Are' about mindfulness meditation. It also comes with guided meditations...10, 20, 30 minutes sitting or lying down. I too suffer from insomnia and meditating daily, even if only 5 minutes, has truly made a difference. It really helps my mind from spinning at night and lets me fall back asleep. Try it, Joanna.

Jennifer Beaudet said...

I think Oprah did a piece on that town. It was very interesting and it seemed like everyone was happy. I've tried meditating as well and can't seem to get to that place. I actually ended up falling asleep...must have too tired! I'm reading a book from Dr. Dyer right now and it's all about controlling your thought. Meditation is a big part of it. You need to be able to quiet your mind of all that chatter. Not an easy thing to do for an anxious person. Good post! Have a great weekend Joanna:)

kbd said...

the only thing that helps calm my mind is to hear the sound of a tsing-tsa. One of my yoga teachers used it, and now I have my own. Maybe it would be something you'd find helpful, too!

oneawkwardyear said...

Oh I would love to try this! I was just writing about how much trouble I have at Yoga during the meditative parts - but how, even though I can't get my mind to turn off, I find that the thoughts that fill it tend to be good ones. I go from "GAH work! money! stress!" to thoughts of how excited I am for an upcoming visit, how happy the warm weather makes me, how much I love juice (ha) or things like that. So while I'm not totally clear, I find that the happy thoughts do make things a little easier - and this from a similarly anxious gal. Thanks for the challenge, Joanna - I'll be joining you! xo Liz

Ashley Cline said...

I consider the time I spend each day in my garden a form of meditation. I feel really calm and at peace once I am finished. I know everyone doesn't have the same reaction to plants but they kinda force you to slow down and not fret about the little things.

emmy d said...

I've always been unsure of how to time meditation! Do you put on a timer so you know when 10 minutes is up? I've always thought that would be a jarring way to finish a meditation session. I anticipate when the clock is going to go off. Any suggestions?

emmy d said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm going to try that app.

Unknown said...

My daily form of meditation is prayer and worship. When I connect with God, I regain a sense of peace, purpose, and child-like wonder. Knowing that Someone is in control who knows EXACTLY what to do (even more than I, in any situation), makes me feel secure and safe. :)

Kate C. said...

When I go to yoga (which I try to attend weekly) I still have a tough time shutting off my thoughts and just focusing on the practice. It definitely has gotten easier, but took a year or so before it became more natural.

www.dashofkate.blogspot.com

xo

agapelife said...

I'll do it too.
I used to meditate pretty regularly - I pray every day, but it's not exactly the same.
And yes - it's okay that you kept thinking about where to go to dinner when you meditated - that's exactly the point!

The point is to teach yourself to quiet your mind, you're not going to be good at it right away!

kimsukie said...

what Iowa town is this?? It sounds amazing!

Giulia said...

my chemistry teacher makes us meditate for a minute every day before class. she brings a bell, and after the sign we all close our eyes an think about nothing for one minute. it was so funny at the beginning and we couldnt stop giggling, but it works soooooo well. i actually understand chemistry now!

Sharna said...

I totally agree with the blowing off meditation at the end of yoga! Once I embraced it, it really did start to make a difference. It's like taking a tiny nap, and waking up feeling refreshed!

I think the key is to focus on positive things you have done or accomplished. It's a great time for self reflection.

Sharna
perfectlycloudy.etsy.com

Melissa Cooper said...

Iowa?? Which town?! I live here and I've never heard such a thing!

maria said...

I'm from South Dakota & Oprah did a piece on Fairfield, IA...I'd never heard of it, nor my friend who is also an Iowan.

Sara Tall said...

When I was in high school a teacher tried to get me to meditate. I thought it was a bunch of BS, but now that I've graduated college I might revisit it. Ten minutes a day is doable. Apps like Lift can help you keep track of your goals.

Caroline, No. said...

ALL about Jon Kabat-Zinn. Recently saw him talk in London. Just a gentle, encouraging, philosophical approach to meditation. There's a great google talk with him on Youtube and I massively recommend his book Wherever You Go, There You Are.

I try to meditate but can't quite do it often enough. A clear sign I desperately need to meditate. I'm a strong believer that it makes for calmer, less anxious living.

Greta L said...

I discovered this website a few months ago. It leads you through a guided relaxation for 2, 10, or 20 minutes. You can pick what calming sounds and background to listen to, like a beach or a river or just the wind in the fields. It a lovely way to take a break while still on your computer.

http://www.calm.com

Sarah said...

For all those who want to meditate, but feel like their mind is too active to get much relaxation from it, there's an incredible breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya that naturally brings you into that peaceful state so you can go deep into meditation with ease. It's taught by the Art of Living Foundation in the US and throughout the world. Highly recommend it!

tasmia said...

I used to meditate pretty regularly,try to do five times a day through Namaj.Whatever your religion when you pray to Almighty that is meditation. It keeps your mind calm.

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Susie said...

I struggle to quieten my racing mind. That cat photo made me so happy! It's the simple things...x

Em said...

No problems emmy d! Enjoy xx

suzy said...

meditation is really hard at the beginning though once you allow your mind to settle for even 10 minutes, you will really feel the difference....Its def achievable and i've found that repeating mantras really works. Just find the right one for you :)

franceparijs said...

Great post - yes, I meditate (and I talk a little about it here: http://franceparijs.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/respect-trust-and-praise/). It helps me a lot. I have been doing it for quite a while and it is part of my daily routine.

Meagan said...

Is this Iowa town Fairfield, by chance? I visited a few years back with a friend who grew up there. We listened to David Lynch speak about transcendental meditation and it was pretty cool.

Danielle from Harper said...

The Iowa town is Fairfield and the type of meditation is transcendental!

Jennifer Scancella said...

Emmy I have a couple different ocean tracks that I use. One in particular is 20 minutes long and when there is about a minute and a half left on the track you start to hear seagulls. They act like a timer for me and I usually use the rest of the track to allow myself time to readjust back to the present.

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