2012 has been a true whirlwind so far – in a good way. Work has been challenging, yet fulfilling; I’ve been pounding the fake treadmill pavement and zenning out at yoga twice a week; and my husband and I have been able to get some much-needed R&R together, now that the holidays have passed.
But more is coming up. I’m about to register for a memoir writing class (it’s always been a dream of mine to write my story – I’m not sure what that story is, but I’m determined to find out!) and begin volunteering again for a local animal rescue group. So I’ve decided to begin meditating. I just read an article on Shape.com about celebs who’ve battled addictions, and almost every one credits yoga or meditation, in part, for their recovery. Rewind a couple months ago to an article I read in Elle about self-control. Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a psychologist at Stamford University is quoted as saying:
“Each time you have to bring your mind back to your breath or mantra, it remodels your brain—strengthening your will, quieting your cravings, and improving stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. Over time, [meditators’] brains become finely tuned willpower machines with more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, as well as regions of the brain that support self-awareness. As little as five minutes of meditation a day can alter your brain, she says, if you do it consistently.”
More willpower, self-control, motivation and creativity? Sign me up!
I’ve tried meditating in the past to no avail. Here’s what tends to happen:
Okay, now I will clear my mind and focus on one word: breathe.
I wonder if I’m breathing correctly.
Uh, I’m so critical of myself. I need to discuss this more with the psychologist.
Oh no, did I remember to reschedule my appointment with her?
Her new voicemail system is so confusing.
Becky, breathe. Focus.
This is nice. I can feel myself relaxing. And this bed is so soft.
It’s so quiet in here. I should have put on some music.
Like Enya. Love her.
She makes me think of flowy, long dresses. Hmm. What am I going to wear out dancing this weekend? A dress? Skinny pants?
It’s been about four minutes. Close enough. I have to go call my psychologist.
You get the point. A grade-A meditator I am not. But in the spirit of my mantra this year – “Be not afraid” – I’m willing to try it again. So I’m embarking on a 30-day meditation challenge in which I’ll devote five minutes per day to some serious mind-focusing and breathing.
I’ll check in periodically and let you know how it’s going. In the meantime, please send any meditation tips or stories on how it’s changed your life. I’d love some more inspiration!