Welcome back from break. It’s October and time to smash out some learning before exams in November.
I hope you are feeling excited, maybe a little nervous. I feel pumped, but I think that is because I rode my bike today and I deprived my brain of oxygen for a good couple of minutes.
If you can already feel the nerves of exam period setting in, now might be a good time to launch a personal mindfulness practice.
Back in September, I wrote that I had started a regular (5 day per week) practice of mindfulness meditation, using the Smiling Mind app.
I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and wanted to provide an update.
I completed the introductory course on the app, which is very short. I then launched the ‘Adult’ program which consists of 42 meditations in total, across 10 modules.
I’m only 14 meditations in but here are some of my observations:
– I wouldn’t say that I have noticed any benefits of the meditation during the day, but I find the meditation a relaxing start to the day.
– Most of the meditations I have done so far have focused on the breath, and body scans. In essence you are encouraged to focus your attention on either your breath, or on scanning your body for sensations. Whenever you notice your attention wandering, you are encouraged to bring it back to the breath or the body. The continued discipline of bringing your attention back to a desired focus is essentially the practice.
– You are asked to rate your level of happiness, contentment and alertness before and after the meditation. I generally feel a little better on each of these domains after the meditation.
– The meditations I have been doing last anywhere from 2-3 minutes to 10-12 minutes. Longer ones are coming down the track. I have around 20-30 minutes spare in the morning that I can use.
– Some of the meditations are little exercises that you are encouraged to repeat during the day. I have not been as diligent with these ones, but will get better at it over time.
– I find the male voice on the meditations easy to listen to.
– Mindfulness meditation is not specifically about relaxation, but you might find it relaxing.
– One of the most interesting meditations has been to purposefully remember both happy and unhappy events, and then try to locate where the resulting emotions are found in your body. I find sadness is behind the eyes. I find anxiety is the pit of my stomach, and I find anger is in my neck.
If you think you might benefit from mindfulness practice, get started now, so you have some time to get used to it before using some of the techniques around exam time. The Smiling Mind app is as good as any and it is Australian and free.