I’ve always been a proactive person, even as a young child. I rarely took the time to reflect and really be present in the moment. Perhaps it was as a result, my passion for entrepreneurship and marketing really began. I have and always will love to learn. Each month I challenge myself to learn a new skill, and this one had profound changes in my day to day regime.
I’ve always loved learning from those I admire. I believe that these figures or mentors are fantastic people to bring change about in your own self. As I continued to read and understand more about inspiring individuals, the likes of Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a common habit began to emerge. They all practised the art of meditation. Not only did they meditate, but they expressed how important it is for their own productivity and mental health. I was super intrigued.
Every month, I dedicate my life to a new challenge. So far, this has included learning to skateboard, salsa dance, backflip, perform stand up comedy, play the violin, transform my body and many more. So after 11 crazy challenges, it was time to up my mental game and start meditating. The goal was simple, meditate daily for 30 days. To make my challenge more scientific, I purchased a “Muse” brain sensing headband that would track the efficacy of my meditation sessions. Initially, the reading for a 5-minute session showed that I was only calm 21% of the time… a lot of work needed to be done!
I began meditating by using a variety of different apps, specifically Muse, Headspace, Calm and 1 Giant Mind. They all were similar but had their own, slightly unique spin on what meditation is and how to practice meditation. I found that Headspace was the app that seemed to mesh best with my personal tastes. I focused on using that app for the remainder of the month.
Initially, I found meditation to be very challenging. My mind was very active and I constantly experienced a plethora of ideas flowing around inside my mind. I’d start thinking about my business and its next hire, it’s clients, that book I wanted to read, what I need to eat, what I need to prepare for the gym and so on. Ideas were flying through my mind, and I found it really hard to just stop and go no, this is my time to meditate…
I need to count each inhale and exhale, and focus on my breath to take away from all the thoughts running through my mind.
Gradually, I began to see improvements. Particularly through the feedback given by the Muse Headband and the Headspace app. I developed a better understanding of what was meant by genuinely being aware of your thoughts. Foregoing detailed attention to the hyperactive part of my brain. It got to a point where thoughts would flow over me, similar to the waves on the surface of the ocean. I became comfortable just watching these thoughts, from below, flow over me, helping me become even more present.
Personally, I started to notice some benefits almost immediately.
I started to feel stronger and more focused at the gym, resulting in me being able to lift more weight in each exercise. My mind wouldn’t wander in the middle of a task, whether it be work or something more personal. I was very aware of being more present. Perhaps the most beneficial thing for me was the improvement in my sleep. I was able to fall asleep quicker by shutting off my active thoughts and I became more relaxed in bed. Compared to how restless I was prior to the challenge.
I continued to track my results for the remainder of the month and was super happy with my progression. When I started, the Muse headband showed that I really struggled to calm myself for 5 minutes. Over 30 days, however, I was able to consistently achieve 10 minutes sessions wherein I was calm for 85% of the time.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience and something that I’ve continued following the challenge. I’ve begun to make it into a daily practice where I spent 10 minutes isolated and in alignment with my thoughts. I would urge you all to give it a go. The rewards reaped from the amount of time spent calming yourself, are phenomenal.