Does Daily Meditation Actually Make a Difference?
One Restless writer wondered whether a strict schedule would make a difference to her mental health
I’m not new to meditating and I strongly believe it enhances and improves our mental wellbeing, reducing stress and helping in various other areas of life. However, I am finding it hard to be consistent with daily meditating. I usually start and manage a few days straight, and then I’m too tired and break the cycle. So, 30-days straight was a challenge I wanted to set for myself. I was curious to see what impact it would have on my sleep, wellbeing and general mental health.
I normally meditate at night, before bed, which is probably why I have sometimes neglected it. When it’s midnight, and you are thinking of your wake-up time, 10 minutes of meditating makes a difference. So, I will be trying to meditate during the day, failing that I will do it before bed. I want to test a few different apps, my usual one is Calm, but I’m also going to try out Headspace.
Day 1: Do not meditate on a train near your final stop. This won’t put you at ease! Note to self: distractions aren’t helpful.
Day 2: I nearly forgot to meditate but set a daily reminder. It’s too early to ruin this experiment, but 23:30 is still an acceptable time to meditate in my book, even ideal, after a full, tiring day.
Day 3: Meditating in the car before clubbing? Why not, it worked!
Day 5: I’ve been doing the ‘daily calm’ on the Calm app for the last few days, that’s more of a generic meditation, but also quite like the specific programs they offer, like “7 Days of Managing Stress” however you have to be consistent with these.
Day 6: I tried Headspace for the first time, I think this app will be much more suited for novices in meditation as you can select the pace and how ‘new’ you are to meditating.
The first 10 days were the hardest, but after I got in the habit of meditating before bed, I became better at it, and having it as part of my routine. Granted some nights I was so tired I probably dosed off before completing the practice, which maybe is not advisable. Nevertheless, I definitely slept deeper and better. In the 30 days of my experiment I only missed two days, so I’m considering this a success. Perfection isn’t attainable guys! It’s definitely helped in my mental wellbeing daily, but I still need to find the perfect time for me to meditate and stick to it.
I wanted to include the advice of two women that have been practicing yoga and meditation for many years and are much more knowledgeable than I am on this subject.
“Like any task or exercise, you get better at it the more you practice. Adding meditation to your daily routine helps to continually alleviate the mind-stuff more regularly. To make it easier to add to your daily routine, schedule it in your diary as an appointment. Even if you have a tight day, there are always 5-10 minutes where you can stop to just sit with what is here for you in that moment.
“Meditation dilutes the unnecessary mind chatter that we all get wound up by. But don’t beat yourself up if you miss it. Biggest piece of knowledge is that emotions only last in the body for 30-90 seconds. Ride the wave but don’t attach yourself to the story. Let the emotion come and go and remember this too shall pass,” Phoebe says.
Cecilia Rollén, Holistic Wellness Coach specialising in yoga, pilates, nutrition and mindset, Cecilia has just launched a collaboration with Hotel Metropole and Spa by Givenchy, in Monte Carlo. “Daily meditation has been shown to help greatly with stress and anxiety reduction due to its ability to lower cortisol levels,” Cecilia says. Regarding consistency, as with most things, the same goes with meditation benefits: “Daily really is best, but even as a wellness coach I struggle getting my zen minutes in sometimes. So really the best amount of meditation is the one that you do.” Being consistent and doing it as frequently as possible are Cecilia’s key points.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Cecilia’s tips on getting started: