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I’ve been wanting to get in to meditation for quite a while now. I’ve heard lots of good things about it but because I wasn’t successful with my mindfulness for chronic pain course that I did, I’ve been very sceptical ever since. I’ve recently downloaded and subscribed to the Headspace app and in this post I share my thoughts on giving meditation a try.
Note: This is not a sponsored post nor am I affiliated with Headspace. I wanted to write an honest post about my experiences of giving mediations try in case it helps some of my readers.
So why am I trying meditation again now?
Recently I’ve read several books and listened to quite a few podcasts which have talked about meditation. It’s almost as if it’s been a sign to steer me towards doing it. One book that I really recommend is Dr Rangan Chaterjee’s 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Wat to a Longer, Healthier Life.
And the health benefits are just phenomenal. It’s almost as if not giving it a go would be more detrimental to my health.
Some of the benefits include:
The mindfulness course I did a while ago was provided by my local NHS Pain Management Clinic. It was a 6 week course where I attended once a week and learnt about mindfulness for chronic pain. Mindfulness and meditation are two different things but there are similar principles in them both.
Because my chronic pain was quite new to me at the time, I didn’t fully understand the concept of mindfulness nor did I fully appreciate the benefits it can have. I guess I wasn’t really open to doing it properly despite giving it my best shot at the time. Having learnt so much about it recently I’m more open to trying the mediation version and seeing how I get on.
Initially I didn’t think I’d find the time to do some meditation but that was actually the easy part. Before I subscribed to the Headspace app I did the free basics sessions and chose the 3 minute option. This was an easy way to find the time and give it a go without over committing myself and fearing putting myself off before I even got properly started with it.
I’ve done a short mediation session at least once a day over the last two weeks and below I talk about both my good and bad thoughts about it.
The things I’m liking about doing my meditation
Finding time for me
I’m doing 10 minutes of meditation after my morning coffee. So far it’s helping me feel more focused for the day and feels like I’m having some ‘me’ time before work.
A session for every situation
As it’s all new to me, I’m following the recommended sessions in the Headspace app and have completed the basics and appreciation course so far. I’ve also used it to help me get through specific situations, such as when I felt really anxious, when I felt overwhelmed, and when I needed to unwind. There’s so many to choose from and I’m excited to try some of them out.
It makes sense
Surprisingly, everything I’m learning and doing as part of the sessions is all making sense. It’s all quite simple stuff but often we are so busy that we don’t take time to understand the impacts of our daily lives and how it can impact on our mind and overall health.
Although I don’t feel very good at it yet, it really is relaxing; time to try and switch off and refocus what feels like my constant hectic mind. I’ve fallen asleep once doing it too.
The things I’m finding frustrating about doing my meditation
It’s painful when I sit
I’ve always been put off by doing meditation because it encourages you to sit or lie down on your back. And for me, these are both extremely painful. This is also one reason why I’m trying to do my meditation first thing in a morning when my pain isn’t as bad – in theory anyway.
I’m sticking to short sessions so that I can manage my pain as best I can, but from what I’ve read about mediation, it doesn’t really matter how you do it, it’s more about showing up each day and just doing it.
I fidget because I can’t get comfy
Because of the above, I also fidget a lot to get comfy and manage my pain. This is quite distracting when you’re trying to focus your mind on something specific. I am hoping the more I train my mind, the less fidgety I will be.
My mind seems to wander more than ever
I’ve always had a wandering mind. Even when I watch TV, my mind wanders and I lose the plot of what’s going on. While I’ve been doing this mediation, my to do list for the day has suddenly popped in to my head, or something I’ve been worried about takes over my thoughts. Normally I’d grab my phone or a pen and paper and right the important stuff down so I don’t forget it (as I have a memory like sieve) but obviously I can’t do this when I’m meditating. Instead I just accept it and try and refocus my thoughts as best I can.
Draw more attention to my pain
Sometimes, depending on my pain and how anxious my mind is on the day, I feel I’m drawing more attention to my pain and focusing on that instead of my breathing or the mind task in hand. An example is when I’m doing the body scan; my mind is really drawn to my painful areas and this can make it feel worse. This makes it much harder to concentrate too.
My overall thoughts
I am certainly enjoying giving meditation a try. I’m enjoying using the Headspace app as it’s guided meditation and gives me some structure to what I’m doing. At the moment I also look forward to each session, which is helping me to stay motivated. It’s quite expensive but most people I spoke to only had good things to say about it, which I why I decided to buy it.
Do you do meditation? Do you use an app?
Have you ever tried it and given up? Why?
How do you find it? What’s easy or difficult about it?
I’d be interested to know and please do share your tips to help keep me on track.