New habit: Meditation
If you ever watched the movie ”Limitless” you probably remember the scene where Bradley Cooper gets his hands on the pill for the first time and becomes a productivity machine. One of the things he does is cleaning his apartment. When you experience those productivity periods the stark contrast between your A-game and B-game becomes incredibly obvious. The goal is to maximise the time you spend in a productive state in a sustainable way. For that you need to start cleaning up your environment and reduce the negative influences.
I regularly have ”doom and gloom periods”, which affect my mood in a negative way and hinder progress towards my goals. These periods result in lowered motivation and missed objectives. They make it harder to maintain my habits. For a long time I thought that it’s “normal” and happens to everyone. I think I may have been wrong.
I’ve started practicing mindfuless meditation about 2 weeks ago and so far have been practicing it daily. I use Headspace app for that, because I’ve used it in the past and found it to be a good way to get into meditation. You can also find ways to do this without spending any money. Meditation, like exercise, is a cheap way to improve yourself.
Benefits of meditation
There’s a wide body of research which suggests that meditation has tangible positive benefits. The ones that I’m particularly after are ”improved self-compasion”, ”improved happiness” and ”improved focus (or reduced mind-wandering)“.
Personally, I found that it helps with my attitude towards issues that I have to deal with in the present. Often, I’d get stuck on “low level” problems, e.g. something that needs fixing at work or home, and feel bad about it, ignoring the larger picture. Meditation served as a reminder of things that matter to me and put me in a better state that helped dealing with present problems. So to me this is “improved happiness”. The jury is still out on whether regular meditation results in “improved self-compasion” (a reduced amount of “doom and gloom” periods) or “improved focus.
Downsides of meditation
I’ve done a quick google search for the “downsides of meditation”, which turned up some interesting articles about the potentially negative aspects of meditation. ”The Little-Known Downsides of Mindfulness Practice” article suggests that meditation can lead to forming false memories, discarding positive thoughts and avoiding difficult thinking activities.
I haven’t experienced any of the downsides of the meditation yet, but I haven’t been doing it for a long enough time to tell.
Without my previously mentioned aims, I will observe how meditation affects my ”doom and gloom” periods with hopes that they will become less frequent. I don’t have baseline numbers, but I would expect the results to be noticeable for me to have enough proof that it is worth continuing. If there are other benefits, they are going to be icing on the cake.
If you want to see my progress in numbers become you can become my buddy on Headspace.
My personal research on meditation is fairly shallow, but I believe that, as with many other things, it’s best to try something and see if it works for me. So far the process has been enjoyable. I will be reporting my progress in the monthly habits review.