I have read and heard much about meditation, especially in recent years as our lives continue to get stuffed with so many demands.  ‘They’ say it can improve your life.

Once you hear that, how can you not try it?

The benefits of meditation

Then you hear about all the benefits of meditation.  Here are a few that captured me:

  • it reduces stress (Yes!  I need that!  What caregiver doesn’t?!)
  • it improves concentration and mindfulness (Ok, guilty of not always living in the moment…that sounds good.)
  • it encourages a healthy lifestyle and benefits cardiovascular and immune health (I want to maintain that!)
  • it increases happiness (wait, healthy AND happy…I’m sold!)
  • it slows aging (I’d like to be around longer especially if I’m healthy and happy!)
  • it increases self-awareness and acceptance (validation that I am enough is always welcomed.)

Top that list off with the fact that you never hear anything bad about meditation and then you really feel like you have to make this a new habit.

Meditation failures

I have a hard time sitting still.  It just doesn’t feel productive.  I evidently place a lot of value on getting things done and producing results.  But this mentality of always feeling like you have to ‘do’ something is frankly exhausting…and not sustainable.  Now I’m not saying I don’t participate in fun activities I do.  I love to read and I enjoy going to movies – but I consider these productive because I’m either learning something or spending time with someone I care about.

I’ve tried meditation in the past and it may have lasted for a few days.

I’ve listened to podcasts to learn how to do it.

I’ve tried downloading meditation playlists from Spotify.

I have even tried other apps.

Each time, I just couldn’t get it to stick for me.  It felt uncomfortable and weird and unnatural, especially the repeating words and phrases like ‘Om’. I guess I just never realized that there are different types and styles of meditation.

The meditation method that is my new habit

Making Meditation a Healthy Habit
I’ve finally landed on a mindfulness meditation method that has stuck for the past four months and continues to pay dividends.  It’s a different iPhone app than I’ve used before.  This one is called ‘Calm’.  While Calm isn’t a paid affiliate of mine, I wish they were as I have genuinely told so many people about this app!

 

The Calm App for meditation
My favorite scene & some of the programs

I initially liked ‘Calm’ because I could pick my background scene that includes a peaceful noise.  My favorite is the ‘rain on leave’s scene followed by ‘mountain lake’ and then ”sunset beach.  I started out with the ‘7 days of Calm’.  I recommend starting with this program since you will learn the basics and receive permission to not have to be perfect at it.

The app has guided and non-guided meditations.  I definitely need the guided where a soothing person transitions you into the meditation and tries there best to keep you there.  They don’t talk all the way through it but they gently remind you to get back on track because your mind will wander frequently.

I also like how the Calm app has a variety of other guided mindfulness meditation programs.  Each program has a focus topic.  I’ve completed the 7 Days of Happiness, 7 Days of Sleep, and 7 Days of Gratitude.  Each guided meditation is usually between 10 and 15 minutes long.  But, if that’s too long for you, there are timed guided meditations that are just 5 minutes long.

 

Calm mediation session history
Here’s my Calm meditation history for May.

My point is that I think the variety of meditations has kept me interested and that I can select one that fits the time I have allotted.

In order to make meditation a habit, I had to find a good spot for it in my routine.  I have the most control, structure, and success around my morning routine so it made the most sense to try and fit in there.

What’s working for me is to meditate in my gym’s sauna after my workouts.  It feels amazing, like a well earned reward.

Take Action

Download the Calm app on  your smartphone and start with the Introduction and then the 7 Days of Calm.  If my memory is correct you can use these programs with the free app.  I ended up paying for Calm after using all the free pieces because it was affordable and working and I wanted all the variety that came with the upgraded version.

To find the right spot in your routine to make meditation a new habit, download my free ‘Help!  I need more ME time!’ resource.

I can’t wait to hear what you think about meditation!

Time for Caregiver Self Care

 

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