Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mindfulness - an update

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to start meditating and practicing mindfulness. Soon, one quarter of 2011 will be gone already (time flies!) and so I thought it was time for an update on my trials.

Facts

The first 1,5 months of my trials, I was practicing roughly 4 evenings per week. I first followed some online guided meditations, then I started focusing on my breathing in silence for a set amount of time, and now recently I started to listen to guided meditations on my Ipod.

Results

As I've been trying out different styles, I think different styles of meditation have their pros and cons.

Guided meditation:
+ Help me to focus on the voice
+ Can guide me to very deep relaxation
- Less "active"
- I tend to fall asleep

Focusing on breathing:
+ More active, I cannot relax and follow a voice
+ Makes me feel very "aware"
- My mind wanders terribly
- I don't have a good timer, setting my cell phone stopwatch for 10 minutes is not the nicest way to have a meditation ended

Progress
The positive progress is that I've started to live more mindfully, or at least I'm trying to. I'm trying to point my focus on one thing at a time. I try to focus more on what I'm precisely doing when I'm eating or biking and I try to give my undivided attention when I"m talking to someone.
The negative progress is that I've been slacking off with the meditation practice for the past few weeks. These past weeks have been quite stressful and overly busy, so it would be great to clear my head with a short mindfulness exercise, regain focus and then get my work done. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and in my most stressful times I tend to slack off, procrastinate and panic.

Favorite links
Here's a collection of websites with guided meditations:
http://portlandpsychotherapyclinic.com/mindfulness_and_acceptance_exercises
http://quietmindcafe.com/sympathetic-breathing.html
http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/index.html
http://integraleric.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-learn-to-meditate.html (although I"m still not getting the point of their audio file at all)

3 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks for this summary and the list of links!

    I've started guided mindfulness meditation a couple of weeks ago. I manage to do it 4-5 times a week, usually in the evening. I mainly listen to mp3s by Mark Williams and Jon Kabad-Zinn, although the latter has a tendency to put me to sleep. I think it's a good way to start with the basic excersises (breath, body awareness) before tyring out longer or more complex ones (focused on thoughts). Although I am not supposed to judge myslef too harshly for letting my mind wander, I am having a hard time with that. I get annoyed when I suprise my mind wandering off again. I think my problem is that I am expecting results too soon. Nevertheless, I did notice, that the excercises are very relaxing and I enjoy that very much!

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  2. Nice to read that you enjoy the exercises. My mind wanders a lot too, and when I get frustrated about it and focus too much on it, it becomes even worse. I too just keep trying and hope I will find focus in the long run :)

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  3. I have found Free Guided Meditations extremely helpful. I have a very stressful job and it really helps center me after a long day.

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