Habit Shift: Meditation
One on the main ways I’ve simplified my life over the last few years is by making as many things as possible automatic. I’ve found the less you have to remember, or actively schedule, the shorter your to do list can be, with no real impact on how much you get done.
Habits is the number one way I’ve automated things in my own life. Because a habit is just a deeply programmed behaviour, it will happen for you, without much effort. The trouble with habits is that some of them are useful and some not so much (read: my chocolate addiction). The good news is that they can all be programmed in and un-programmed. This is the bit that takes effort and willpower, but once they are set, they will perpetuate themselves.
I’ve created Habit Shift as a new series on the blog to share some of the habits I’ve consciously taught myself over the last few years, or am in the middle of establishing. I hope this will a fun insight and hopefully inspire you to lighten your mental load by creating some useful habits in your own life.
First up: Meditation. Let’s be honest, we’ve all known that meditation is life changing for a decade now, but implementing the habit is easier said than done. I have a very busy mind and I know I’m not alone with this. When I first started meditating it felt like I was fighting this busy mind, that did not want to be quiet. The moment of change came for me when I realised I didn’t have to make it quiet. In fact I found that the more I let my mind wander the less it wanted to, and the less I resisted my thoughts the more easily they went away.
My meditation practice is very basic. I meditate for 10 minutes every morning. On the mornings when Dan has the kids it’s the first thing I do. I don’t even get out of bed, I don’t check my phone. I just open my meditation app or put on some music and start. On the mornings when I have the kids, I usually do it once I’ve put their breakfast on the table and they are happily eating, then I can have a couple of minutes to myself. I’ll be honest, on these mornings, my meditation usually involves a lot of Arthur climbing all over me, but I hope that at some stage the kids will get interested in what I’m doing and it will be something we can do together.
I use the meditations on the Rituals App. I did try some paid apps like Headspace but to be honest I didn’t find them superior to the Rituals meditations (which are free). I’m sure others have different preferences but for me these are perfect. Sometimes, if I don’t feel like something guided, I’ll just put some relaxing music on and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Over the last few months meditation has become a habit for me. I don’t force myself to do it if I don’t want to but most days I do and it takes no effort to practice.
As for the benefits, I’m by no means stress-free, but I have so much more mental clarity and my mind chatters so much less than it used to. Since I’ve started meditating regularly I also have a much better connection to my intuition and hear what it has to say more often and with more ease. It’s also ten minutes every day to be still and check in with myself, which in the modern world, is the most life-changing bit of all.