We talk a lot on mindbodygreen about the benefits of meditation: clearer thoughts, improved sleep, and increased focus. I meditate sporadically, but it’s far from a consistent practice. It’s something I aspire to, but, you know — life. Since I’m doing the month of mindfulness with the #Mindful30 Challenge, however, there is no excuse good enough.
We’re lucky to have a meditation room at mindbodygreen (how cool is that?!), so after a two-month meditation hiatus I decided to make a visit.
Before I began, my mind was racing. I felt guilty taking 30 minutes to sit and do nothing while at work and anxious about what emails I’d miss. If I had to stay at the office later than I planned as a result of meditation time, I wouldn’t make yoga class or have time to clean my apartment and do laundry. (The horror!)
Thankfully, my co-workers reminded me of my task, and begrudgingly, I ventured into the meditation room.
I took off my shoes (don’t tell!), channeled my inner Light Watkins, and began to breathe. Per Light’s suggestion at our last company meditation session, I treated my thoughts as though they were friends at a party, greeting each one with gratitude and then moving on to the next without judgment. Some thoughts were more welcome than others, but few lingered for too long.
Before I knew it, my 30-minute timer went off. Feeling at peace, I took a few extra minutes to get up and leave the room. Had I meditated? I thought so, but I reached out to Light Watkins for his take.
"Don't measure progress on what happens inside of your mind during meditation, but on how you feel outside of the practice. For instance, are you more rested, more alert, clearer? If so, then meditation worked!"
What a nice way to "measure" success! When I returned to my desk, everything was as I had left it. The world hadn't exploded without me, and I actually felt more focused. So I'd say, yes, I did meditate!
The best part? I was on fire in post-work yoga thanks to my laser-focused mind. That night’s savasana was the best I’ve had in recent memory. And I continued to meditate the rest of the week, for only 5 minutes at a time, and still reaped the same benefits.
Do you reflect through meditation or want to give this stress reduction technique a try? Visit aetnamindfulness.com to participate and learn more.
This post was sponsored by Aetna, who believes health is about the body and the mind. Stress can affect emotional and physical health, and reducing stress can boost well-being. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Aetna. To learn more about stress reduction, visit aetnamindfulness.com.
Photo by Chloe Bulpin, mbg Creative