30 days of meditation: challenges and learnings

My 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge has come to an end. This week, I'm sharing challenges and learnings from each of the three aspects of the challenge: mindful eating, morning meditation and the screen curfew. 

My interest in meditation is new. I used to think it was strictly for Buddhists, and didn't understand what it was, really. (And to be totally honest, I'm still trying to figure it out.) 

Yoga has meditative aspects of it, which I enjoy and which sparked my interest in meditation as its own practice. Here's a refresher of what the morning meditation portion of my 30-day challenge was all about:

My typical morning is not-so-zen. My alarm is obnoxious and I snooze a couple of times before rushing around to get out the door. That's not the best way to kickstart a day. So I'm setting my alarm clock earlier to get up, focus my awareness on the present, what I'm grateful for and what my intentions are for the day. 

As this 30-day period comes to a close, I'd like to share the challenges I've faced and lessons I've learned through 30 days of morning meditation.

Overcoming the Challenges

Challenge 1: Discipline is Hard

I say I'm a morning person, but it's still hard to get out of bed some days. The discipline of getting up to go to school or work comes easier than the discipline to meditate or exercise. When the only accountability we have is to ourselves, it's easier to say, "F it. I'm sleeping in."

Getting over this hurdle involved:

  1. Going to bed earlier (the screen time curfew helped)
  2. Making my morning meditation a habit (the 30-day challenge motivated me)
  3. Reminding myself how great it made me feel 

Challenge 2: Finding My Routine

I tried a few things before finding a routine that worked for me. At first I thought I wanted to meditate in bed, so it would truly be the first thing I did in the morning. But I kept falling asleep. Then, I tried guided meditations via iPhone apps and YouTube videos. But ultimately, I got the greatest benefit by starting with a breathing exercise and doing my own thing. (I wrote about this routine here.)

The Learnings

I'm definitely still a "newb" when it comes to meditation, but I've already seen great benefits from my morning practice:

  • I am the master of my mind. I alone am in control of my mood and can choose whether or not to let external factors dictate my thoughts.
  • Being still is powerful. We live in a fast-paced culture where multi-tasking is encouraged, if not expected. Taking time to just be and enjoy stillness is liberating. 
  • Mornings are magical. I enjoy being awake before most of the world. The stillness of the world is the perfect setting to still my mind and center my thoughts. My morning meditation has become my sanctuary.
  • I have a lot to learn. I'm excited to explore my meditation practice further.

For those of you who joined the challenge or practice meditation, I'd love to hear about your challenges and learnings as well!