28 days of me

Day 18

Mindful Moments

Monday, May 18th, 2015
Show today's brain activity
Alpha 66%
Waves which occur when relaxed and calm
Beta 31%
Waves which occur when, for example, actively thinking or problem-solving
Gamma 3%
Waves which occur when involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information

Ok, so I’m meditating daily, reading articles on meditation and mindfulness and I am becoming more aware of how I am feeling and (very slowly) making small steps to calm my mind and be more focused. But what I am still really struggling with is creating mindful moments in my day.

I pretty much use most of my down time to process things in my head. For example, cycling to work I go through a check list of everything I need to get done that day, I usually get obsessed with one particular thing, stressed about said thing, get myself pretty worked up about it and arrive at work stressed and ready for my day! Ha, what an absolutely rubbish way to prepare for work. It is probably as effective as getting drunk before trying to run a marathon.

I do these things all day long – in the shower I’m thinking about something that happened yesterday, having breakfast I’m reacting to something that is happening on my phone, taking a walk during lunch I am going over a meeting I have in the afternoon… and it goes on.

I am sure I am not the only one – we live busy lives and by doing this ‘mental processing’, at least for me, feels like I am optimising my down time.

So, finally, this morning I was able to be mindful while cycling to work! It definitely didn’t come easily, my brain kept wanting to go back to ‘planning mode’ but eventually I managed to just ‘be’. I saw things for the first time ever and this is quite shocking as I’ve probably done this particular cycle route at least 500 times. The best part was it made me feel pretty good – I actually felt my mood lift as I started to really see the trees and canals and hear the traffic and birds.

headspace.com mindful commute

I arrived at work feeling like I just gave my brain a mini holiday. :-) I can honestly recommend trying it. Here are a few ways:

— Having a cup of tea
— Taking a shower
— Doing exercise
— Having a conversation (this is a great one – how many times does your mind wonder off when talking to someone? For me it is quite a lot!)

It isn’t easy, so if it doesn’t work for you the first few time, keep trying.

Here are 5 tips for integrating mindfulness into your everyday life

Today’s Meditation

20 minute Headspace meditation in the evening. I meditated after going to the gym and before dinner – I struggled a bit because as the meditation went on I got more and more hungry!

Today’s Brainwave activity

 28 days of meditation

Blue = Alpha waves, 66% (Day 1 was 43%) — this is the one I’m trying to increase.
Yellow = Beta waves, 31% (Day 1 was 38%)
Pink = Gamma waves, 3% (Day 1 was 19%)

Image credit: Headspace + Davide Ragusa