30 Days of Meditation (And What Happened)
I'll be honest: I (Leez) thought by meditating every day for 30 days I would somehow transcend into Elizabeth Gilbert at the end of Eat Love Pray. You know the kind of person that doesn't let stress and anxiety phase her, becomes significantly more at peace, and magically arrives at happiness.
And with all the current research out there on the benefits of mediation, why would I think differently? After all, numerous studies show mediation can reduce stress and anxiety, slow down aging, and increase acceptance, self-awareness, and overall happiness.
Here's what actually happened:
- I meditated every day for 30 days (anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 depending on how much time I had or discipline, logging a total 503 minutes for the month).
- Some days I meditated in the mornings, but most of the time it was at night.
- I fell asleep during quite a few of the guided evening meditations when I was lying down.
- Some nights I craved meditation, other times I kind of dreaded it.
- I learned how to soften my body and ease my mind through simply breathing in and out (although some days it felt much more challenging than others).
- Almost every time, I listened to a guided meditation on Insight Timer, a free meditation app used by over 2,800,000 meditators (a great place to start if you're not sure where to begin).
- This meditation below touched me beyond words and made me cry. I could listen to it over and over again. Her voice and message is healing and inspiring.
But my biggest learning about myself actually came when I was telling a coworker about my journey, which I was rather quick to label as more or less a failed challenge. In reflecting on all the things I felt I didn't do correctly, I realized how much I was actually missing the whole point of meditation being a practice, the awareness I did gain, and the fact that I actually did what I set out to do.
This experience also made me realize how quickly I almost dismissed something great because I didn't see the results I was hoping to see. Thus, not only dismissing the results I did see, but also forgetting that meaningful change requires a life-long commitment. And although 30 days is often times the first step in forming a habit, sticking to it is the ultimate challenge.
So if you're like me a month ago, considering the 30 day meditation challenge...my advice to you would be to let go of any expectations you have about meditation (positive or negative), find a comfy spot, close your eyes, breathe, and just go easy on yourself.