Meditating for Well Being

Now that we are coming up to our 12th week of lockdown and restrictions due to the Coronavirus, I’ve been making the most of this time being at home.  As I have a huge hunger for learning, I signed up for a few online courses to keep my mind ticking. One of the first courses I signed up for back in March was The Science of Well Being by Yale University.  It was designed to help people increase their happiness and to help them build productive and life enhancing habits.

I completed the course almost 4 weeks ago and I’m now in the 4th week of my ‘rewirement’ project.  Basically, the rewirement project requires you to intentionally build a productive habit over a 4 week period which will enhance your wellbeing.

I chose meditation as my rewirement project as it’s something that I’ve grappled with for several years.  Sometimes my efforts to meditate would last a few days or a week at a time and then I’d go ‘back to normal’ and not meditate.  The main goal of my rewirement project was to meditate every day for 5 to 10 mins.   Out of the 23 days I’ve been on the project, I’ve managed to stick with not only 5 mins daily meditation but in some case 30 mins.

So, why did I choose meditation?  Let’s look at one statement I came across about meditation ‘it’s a practise of turning our attention away from distracting thoughts toward a single point of reference e.g. our breath, bodily sensations, compassion or / and a specific thought.’

That all sounds great but before I share my experiences of daily meditation with you, let’s look at some of the findings and benefits of regular meditation:

  • It reduces our minds wandering and thereby keeps us more focussed – our minds wander 47% of the time according to a study in 2010 by Killingsworth & Gilbert
  • It generates positive emotional responses and thereby makes us happier
  • It increases our grey matter, the size of our brains
  • It boosts cognitive performance
  • It helps reduce and control anxiety

There are several more that I’ve not mentioned but even looking at this list, it does seem a worthwhile exercise.

In order for this rewirement to work for me, I harnessed my meditation practise to my daily Gratitude Journaling.  This has worked extremely well for me as I generally write up my Gratitude Journal every morning. If for some reason, I don’t get to do it in the morning, I write it last thing before I go to sleep at night.

What I’ve found and I’m continuing to find from meditating daily is:

  • I’m calmer, especially directly after meditating
  • I’m more relaxed
  • I’m sleeping better
  • When I relax, not just sleep, I feel re-energized
  • I’m getting better at keeping my mind focussed on one thing at a time

So, the question is will I continue to meditate after the 4 weeks is up?   A resounding  YES is the answer as I’ve no doubt how much it is adding to my wellbeing and happiness.

For those of you who may be interested in pursuing the course, the link is here.  The cost is €0.00 and $44.00 if you decide you’d like a digital cert to say you’ve completed the programme so a bargain if ever there was one!