The Quest to Keep the Mind Quiet

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Every morning my iPhone emits a shrill alarm noise while I fumble with the device, desperately trying to place my fingers over the right sequence of numbers with one eye open to disable it. While I have my phone screen in front of me, I leisurely scroll over to my email app, nervously watching my email populate to see what the day will bring. These first few actions has already triggered my mind to spring into action, and before I get in the shower I’m already making assumptions about what my day will be like.

This is not healthy. I should not be set into fight or flight mode within minutes of waking up. At the same time, quiet is my mind’s worst enemy. If I’m doing any sort of activity where my mind might find room to wander…I’m immediately thinking about every little detail that I might be forgetting. This is the exact reason why I tell myself I’m not cut out for meditation, but a recent article in the Harvard Business Review that I mentioned earlier this week has shown me that no one is perfect at meditating. I might be able to do this!

I did some research, and found this free mediation app called Silva Meditations (image below), which provides guided meditation — perfect for those of us who can’t drown out distractions ourselves. What’s great about this app is that it provides meditations for different times in the day: a “good morning” mediation, “good night” meditation, an “energy booster,” and a “centering exercise.” Throughout the meditation, Silva periodically reminds you that meditation is designed to help cultivate alpha waves that promote the kind of thinking of geniuses (who doesn’t want to think like a genius). She explains that when the mind is at rest, alpha waves from the right side of your brain (the creative side) are activated, helping you make associations you might otherwise ignore. The 20-minute morning session was actually manageable!

I’ve never considered myself one to meditate, but after hearing so much about all of the benefits of just letting your mind zone out, I had to at least give it a try. Do you meditate regularly? What are some strategies you use?

 

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2 responses »

  1. “If I’m doing any sort of activity where my mind might find room to wander…I’m immediately thinking about every little detail that I might be forgetting.” Wow, this is what it sounds like inside my head too. If I’m distracted in yoga, I begin to think about other things I should be doing with my 90 minutes and it’s hard to get back into my downward dog groove from there. It’s hard to allow for make “quiet time” a priority during the day, but is absolutely a necessity just like getting all other tasks done.

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about. Sometimes savasana is the hardest pose for me. I’m laying there thinking, “It’s so hot in here…I have an itch on my face…omg I need to get back home to do X,Y & Z!” What I forget is that I’ve already made a commitment to using this time for myself, so it does me no good to try to be somewhere I’m not — there’s nothing I can do about it, so I might as well just be right here in the present!

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