I’m not a meditating type of guy. Over the years, many people have suggested this to me – for good reason. Quick tempered for all too much of my life, I could use a way to chill. Type A kind of guy, yeah, I could use some tools to get myself to relax.
As I’ve noted many times, I listen to a ton of podcasts. Many podcasts feature people I admire and a trait shared by 80%+ of them is meditation. Maybe I should give it a shot.
I downloaded the Headspace app and did the free Take 10 program. For 10 days in a row, for 10 minutes, I sat down, turned on the app and did what Andy told me to do. Spoiler alert – it worked and I love it.
Here’s the top four things that happened:
- My resting heart rate fell from 74bpm to 65bpm. The only thing I changed was the 10 minutes of meditation each morning. A 12% drop in my average resting heart rate is a big deal for this big guy.
- I can quiet my mind. Who knew? My mind is a beast that I’ve never been able to tame. I flit from one idea to the next and rarely have been able to easily center myself. That doesn’t mean I cannot concentrate on a task. What it means is in the downtime, my mind has gone off on its own and it often was not healthy. Now, I have a way to gently bring my mind back to the center, allowing for a calmness I did not believe could exist for me.
- When I relax, my body really itches. I haven’t looked this up and maybe it is common, but I find it odd. In a strange way, I also find it comforting because I’m able to feel such minute changes while meditating. Is this some way of connecting with my body? All I know is I itch, good, bad or indifferent.
- My life is better with meditation and I’m going to continue. I’ve downloaded a new app to try. If I don’t like it, I’ll pay the subscription to Headspace because I like Andy’s process and a few bucks a month is more than worth it. More importantly, I crave the serenity, the mindful process, in the morning. It is a way to start my day to make the rest of it better.
Will meditation work for everyone? I doubt it. Like most things in life, you have to want to try it. Coming at it as a bit of a skeptic, I was blown away by the immediate results. When my heart rate during the process was down in the low fifties, I knew something good was happening. Also, I am just more awake and aware before any coffee is even in my system.
I should also say that meditation, the way I’m approaching it and the type of guided routines I’m using, is about mindfulness. It is about awareness and finding a way to gain some semblance of control over my mind and body. It is not sitting in a blinding white tunic in the middle of a meadow and clearing my mind. This “guru” picture is what I always thought meditation was like. It isn’t if you don’t want it to be.
As I gain more experience, I hope to find a way to improve other aspects of my life with the tools the discipline teaches. I already believe this will be possible if I am dedicated and patient. If I can use this to stop eating that darn Portillo’s lemon cake, then it may be the most powerful force on earth.