I tried meditation for the first time, and I found it to be very rewarding, surprisingly challenging, and quite energizing. Now, I am making daily meditation a part of my normal routine, and apparently, I’m not alone.
Ray Dalio is the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates the largest Hedge Fund by ‘Assets Under Management’ in the world, and he has historically encouraged his employees to practice transcendental meditation on a regular basis (Credit). Ellen DeGeneres is also quoted in saying, "[Meditation] feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it's okay again. That's what meditation is to me" (Credit).
I am not saying that meditation will bring you billions of dollars or get you into your very own prime-time talk-show. What I am saying is the practice of meditation has proven its relevance. It’s been around for over 5,000 years, and today, in a world that can be incredibly noisy and distractingly connected, it is thriving like never before.
For me, I found myself constantly on the go. With a family, a full-time job, and plenty of extra-curricular activities, I found it hard to take time to collect my thoughts and decompress. I decided to try meditation as a way to separate from the noise and distractions, so I jumped into a ’30-day meditation challenge’.
My Goal: 10 min daily meditation sessions for a month.
My Outcome: 20 of 31 days I meditated. My sessions ranged from 5 – 15 mins. I found some days were more rewarding than others, but overall, I found it to have an incredibly positive impact.
There are a lot of options for meditation. Here were 3 options that I tried.
Oak – Great app for a beginner or an experienced meditator. This app is from Kevin Rose, a serial entrepreneur and venture partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures). I like this one for its simplicity and educational reminders (Example pictured below).
Headspace – Great app for a beginner. I like the ‘guided meditation’ throughout the first 10 – 20 classes. Once beginner content is all utilized, additional content can be accessed by subscribing.
Everyday Meditation by Aaptiv – Geared for beginners, but I found the beginnings of the sessions to be a bit long-winded. I also felt this wasn’t as helpful being in the form of an ‘audio book’ rather than a true standalone app.
Overall: I wouldn’t let the options overwhelm you. Try 2 or 3 different options and pick the one you like best. For me, it was Oak.
Challenge 1: It’s incredibly easy to just skip a day or stop.
Tip: Get an ‘accountability partner’. This is someone who can ask you if you meditated each day, and this can help keep you build the daily habit.
Challenge 2: It’s very difficult to meditate with a clear mind… thoughts of looking silly and thoughts of work or personal matters can creep in often, as it did for me.
Tip: Find a quiet and secluded space to sit comfortably on the floor. When you are meditating and distracting thoughts come to mind, try to simply acknowledge the thought. Then turn your attention away from them. This was (and continues to be) the hardest part for me, and even though I am constantly working on it, I still feel incrementally better after a challenging meditation session. Headspace does a nice job providing tips each day.
Challenge 3: Finding the time.
Tip: If you don’t have an established meditation practice, you won’t magically fall into one. You truly must make time by scheduling it into your life. Setting reminders on your phone or creating an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning or during a work lunch break can be a helpful start. There is no 1-size fits all, so try a few different time slots.
Overall, I found there to be some short-term benefits during my 30-day meditation challenge. My mentality when facing typically frustrating situation was improved. Frustrations can come from many places - traffic, work, family- I found my meditation practice helped me acknowledge these frustrations and face them with a fresh mind. This was improved from sitting and stewing over the fact that something unexpected happened. I discovered that meditation is a great way to take a moment to decompress and to clear your head for productive work and being present in your personal relationships. Give meditation a try, and I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.
You can also try these alternatives to meditation: Adult Coloring books. Yoga for active + physical form of meditation.
Feel free to reach out if you have specific questions with regards to this blog.