A lifestyle blog about intentional living, minimalism, mindfulness and travel.

What I've Gained from 1 Month of Daily Meditation

Today is my 30th day of my 100 Days of Mindfulness challenge! To celebrate I thought I would share a few things I have learned over the course of this project and what I have gained from the process (because I have learned a lot!) thus far.

I talk a bit about how I planned on practicing mindfulness in this post, and I have really stuck to that plan. I have been doing a minimum of 10 minutes of guided meditation a day using headspace (which I reviewed last week along with some other cool apps). This has been the foundation of my practice, but in addition I am trying to find actions throughout my daily routine that I can do more mindfully, like washing the dishes and commuting for example. And finally, over the past 30 days I decided to integrate my new daily habit mindfulness with a few other habits I am trying to pick up like reading everyday and watching Netflix less. The reading more in particular allowed me to both study up on what mindfulness is AND finish 2 books within the month (hello added benefits!). The first book I read was The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh which I am planning to write about very soon, and the second was Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki. Both books I highly recommend whether you are into intentional or mindful living or not.

Okay! Now enough blabbering and on to what I insights I have gained from a month of meditation and practicing mindfulness daily!


I am always future planning...

...and worrying comes from thinking about all the future scenarios of all the uncertain things in life. I can never just be present if I am always thinking a day, a month, or years in advance. This challenge is helping me to "check" myself and come back to the present moment. As Robert Pirsig put it: 

"The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality."

I am probably too adept at multitasking...

...and probably take too much pride in being so. Being an effective multitasker used to be seen as an attractive quality until people began realizing it is not as eggicient or effective as ot seems. Now I am retraining my brain not to be distracted and in more than one place at once. In short, I realized I need to be singletasking more.

I don't always give people my full attention...

...and that's really rude. Part of being present is being present with the person right in front of you. So going back to the multitasking, I am trying to devote my whole attention to a person of we are engged in conversation, and not just part of it, whenever possible.

I don't notice my emotions very often...

...and I have a lot more of them than I knew. I am not an emotionless person by any means, but I can often go through an entire day feeling and experiencing things without processing what I am feeling. This can lead to an unexpected bubbling up of emotion that I don't fully understand. But I believe by observing my emotions regularly, they can be felt without disrupting my entire mood when negative situations do arise.

I carry tension in my body constantly... 

...especially my shoulders, that I dont even notice. What meditation is teaching me is that I am not just what is in my mind, I also have a body and mind and body deserve to be connected. Observing how I feel in my body has encouraged me to improve my posture, work out more, and even be more conscious of what I put in it. 

I don't take deep breaths... 

...when not consciously trying to. Take a deep breath. Doesn't that feel amazing. I am just learning how good and stabilizing it feels to inhale deeply. I've been doing that for nearly 30 years and all it took was 30 days to recognize that fact.

I rush everywhere... 

...and for the first time feel a little ashamed to be a New Yorker. New York is a city where you are rewarded for moving faster, being more productive and maybe even being a little aggressive. But rushing inherently brings anxiety and you miss out on more of life when you act this way. And I noticed I don't only rush form place to place , but I rush thoughts in my mind, I rush tasks, and I just always feel like I am behind. But through my mindfulness practice I realize I can stop that. I can be present, I can enjoy the moment, and I can take the time needed to do things and accept that time will pass. And if you watch my Insta Stories you'll also see that I now (literally) stop to smell the flowers, like all the time!

I rarely have quiet and still moments with myself...

...and it turns out that I love them. I also realized that 10 minutes is a very short amount of time. Meditation is a true vacation, not like sleeping where the mind is dreaming or a vacation away where your are busy sightseeing or lounging. It is just a break from any thinking reaponsibilities, time for myself, and that is true luxury.

And finally, I want to lead A THOROUGHLY examined life. 

I have always known this. I am curious by nature, and that includes bing curious about myself. What I realize now is that there is a whole subconscious that I can explore on my own. There are ways to understand your mind that you don;t need to be a psychologist to understand. I can observe myself outside of my actions, but in the quiet everyday moments. I don't know if any oft this makes sense, but all I know is I like this idea of self-examination

I am giving away 2 one month trials of the full Headspace app, so if you'd like to try out meditation or have a friend who may want to leave a comment down below to be entered! I will let you know who wins them next week!!!