Practicing mindfulness is something I’ve spoken about on this blog because it had been part of the curriculum in my five years of medical school. I can still remember the sessions we had- we were all divided into groups and given a tutor to guide us through it. There were a number of weeks in the first semester when we did it, all of which were very immersive and pretty ‘out there’ in terms of something to actually study. I was surprised that this was actual course material.
We would practice eating food and taking our time to savour things. We would do Progressive Muscle Relaxation that would sometimes send someone to sleep. It was kooky in a sense, but there is data to back all of this up. Kooky works sometimes.
Anyway, part of my resolutions this year was to meditate every day. I have not done that. My longest streak was 12 days and I fell off the bandwagon a bit this week. I got tired more easily, which is a signal that I’m about to have my period, and ended up skipping out on a number of sessions.
But I am resolving to be better at forgiving myself and allowing each day to be a new start.
So, meditation requires a lot of focus. I downloaded the Calm app (the light blue one in the bottom row) earlier this year and it’s been very helpful. You can start with the 7 Days of Calm, which works as a beginner’s stepping stone into what mindful meditation is. The sessions are all under 10 minutes and you can do it in your own time.
My mind definitely wandered a lot, and that is okay. The guided meditation talks you through those moments and assures you that a wandering mind is normal and that you simply have to draw your thoughts back into the moment.
After the 7 Days, you can upgrade to the premium subscription to unlock other 7 Days of ‘something’. I have not done that just yet. It is a pretty penny when you don’t earn anything or even if you earn something but not in USD. There are great free resources too, which is nice because it still includes you despite the fact that you cannot afford the premium subscription. There are guided and unguided meditations, and you are able to pick the duration you would like to meditate for. However, once I do start working, this is definitely something I will consider purchasing premium for.
I think there are other meditation apps out there, Headspace being another popular one. If you think this is something you’d like to jump in on, it’s completely free for the basic subscription.
I find that meditation helps me with keeping a clearer head. It gives you a sense of groundedness which I need. What’s nice about the app is having a guide to meditation as it takes away all the ‘but how do you do it’ questions. It breaks it down to something tangible and ‘forces you’ (in a sense) to spend time with yourself.
For more information about Calm, here’s their website.