Good morning everyone!
Yes, it is Monday and I am in a good mood. Apologies if that sounds like a gross violation of Monday morning grumpy etiquette.
Why am I happy?
Not sure actually. I haven’t been drinking, and I haven’t yet watched any puppies videos. Perhaps it was that weights session I did yesterday that left me tired but endorphin flooded.
Regardless, I am kicking off this week with blog post.
It is called the Keep Your Cup Full Challenge.
It is pretty simple.
Each day, from today to Sunday, we are going to promote a simple activity/habit you can add to your everyday life, that we believe will benefit your mental health. These activities aren’t complex or cost money. They are just simple additions to your routine that can have mental health benefits.
And let’s face it, most people would be alright with the idea of a little bit of a boost to their mental health.
Today’s challenge habit is to take up meditation – mindfulness meditation that is.
The simplest way to do this that I have found is to download the Smiling Mind application on your mobile phone (it’s free for both iOS and Android), put on some headphones, fire it up, and do the introductory course. This is exactly how I got started.
The useful thing about using the app is that there are many guided meditations included, ranging from the very short (e.g. 1-2 minutes) to the extended (e.g. 30 minutes+). Pick the ones you like the most. All you need to do is find ~15 minutes each day to dedicate to the process.
I have a few recommendations for those thinking of taking up mindfulness meditation:
1) Set yourself some mental goals, things you would like to get out of the process, such as relaxations, self-awareness, ability to cope with stress, improved concentration.
2) Commit to doing it for at least a couple of weeks before deciding whether or not it is for you. I don’t expect that everyone will enjoy it or find it useful. But it is worth giving it a decent go before deciding to stop.
3) Go lightly at first. Focus on the briefer meditations (2-10 minutes) and then work up. Many of the negative experiences that people have had with mindfulness meditation arise because they jump too quickly into very long mindfulness sessions, or mindfulness retreats.
4) If you find it an intriguing and interesting process, consider firing up Google Scholar, typing in ‘mindfulness’, and reading some of the literature on the topic. You’ll discover there is a rich body of literature developing around the topic, about where mindfulness meditation is useful, and where it is not. Spoiler: mindfulness meditation is a beneficial activity useful across a number of settings, but it isn’t a magic wand.
If apps aren’t really your thing:
If the idea of being guided through a meditation by an app feels like a deviation from the natural order, then there are a couple of other options for you.
- Consider doing Maureen’s excellent Mindful Yoga class on Tuesdays from 12.00pm to 1.00pm. I’ve done it before. It is exactly as it claims to be – a gentle mashup of yoga and mindfulness.
- Consider attending Dave’s meditation session on Wednesday from 12.30pm to 1.00pm. The dude is an elite athlete. He’s got life sorted.
Come back and tell us how it went
If you decide to give the mindfulness app a try (or either one of our alternatives), we’d love to know how you went. Consider letting us know by one of the following methods:
1) Go to the Mad Tea Collective Facebook page and leave a comment.
2) Sign in below and leave a comment on this blog post.
3) Visit the address on the flyer – www.bit.ly/keepyourcupfull and leave a comment.
3) Join the Wellbeing for Academic Success FLO topic and join the discussion there.
Mindfully onwards my friends!!