BY GUEST BLOGGER, DANIEL LEE
How did I meditate for more than one and a half months? More on that in a bit. First let me tell you what changed for me…
- I am more calm
- I no longer get scared by screaming strangers on the streets or the TTC or in tight spaces (mentally, I feel like Bruce Lee)
- I now have more patience and genuine interest when someone explains how their day has been
- I am less reactive — example, when my mom criticizes my cooking — I actually listen rather than talk back, and appreciate her feedback, to her amazement
- I am more fascinated with changes in the weather and gratefully accept that it’s -20 degrees celsius outside with windchill (lovely day)
- I sleep better
- I workout better
And most importantly, I am way less stressed out. Mainly because I am no longer playing a defensive, reactive game to my emotions whenever a part of my day doesn’t pan out “smoothly”. I feel in control — more on Stoicism, a mental Operating System on dealing with stress, in a later post (I promise).
This brings me to answer my initial question of how I managed to consistently meditate for 45 days and introduce a new habit—I hacked my willpower. Think of willpower as a finite resource, similar to energy that we have in a day the moment we’re awake. By finding the most effective, efficient way of using the least amount of willpower to cultivate a new habit—I could more easily introduce an intended habit without it feeling like a chore.
First thing after I’m awake when my cognitive capacity is still powering up—this is especially useful because I’m hardly making a conscious decision to do anything that requires effort. I’ll gulp a glass of water with apple cider vinegar along with a few pinches of pink salts (this is for adrenal fatigue purposes) and go straight into my meditative practice.
Headspace is a guided meditation + mindfulness app that’s available on iOS & Android. When I turn it on, I’m in my zone.
The creator, Andy Puddicombe travelled to the Himalayas to study meditation and eventually was bestowed as a Buddhist Monk in Northern India. He uses a series of pre-recorded videos and audio to guide me into easing my mind for relaxation and being aware of thoughts that may arise. Each session can be adjusted between 10, 15 or 20 minutes. I chose 20 because, why not? More chill is always better!
I initially began with the Headspace Take 10-series (ten free daily sessions) and became convinced that I wanted to experience a new level of mindfulness so I asked myself, “can I afford not to have this”—the answer was easy so I promptly paid ($12.95/month) to access the Performance Pack which includes modules like Focus, Creativity, etc.
It’s fascinating to witness the changes in my psychology these past 45 days. The melding of meditation + tech (conventionally, a very unlikely couple) prove to be a winning combination for those who are interested in stepping into the world of modern mindfulness.
My advice? Even if you choose the 10 minutes session and you manage to keep still for a minute, just focus on your breathing—that’s considered a win. 3 minutes? That’s a BIG win!
Always make it a win whenever you want to introduce a positive habit into your life. I’d rather do 10 minutes of meditation a day for 10 days straight rather than 100 minutes all crammed in a day—it’s easier, more productive and most importantly, winnable!
Download the app here, try it out and go make things happy and mindful for yourself!
DANIEL LEE // Hell hath no fury like Daniel when he hasn’t had his bowl of noodles. Or rice. He (usually) makes better life decisions when he’s adequately fed. Our guest blogger is a wannabe techie, zen master, world traveller — help him validate his motto of “less is more” when it comes to life (and food) by following @danieeeleee on Instagram. Home base is Toronto.