Right after I posted about trying to incorporate meditation into my life more and how I found meditation hard, I gave up on the Headspace foundation level 3 program. Honestly, trying to fit in 20 minute meditation sessions were giving me more anxiety than relief. I don’t know if that’s monumentally pathetic or what, that taking 20 minutes to myself seems next to impossible… but instead of dwelling on that I switched to the anxiety program.
The anxiety program is 30 days, you can choose if you want 10-, 15- or 20-minute sessions. I chose 10… which really means they’re around 12 minutes when you incorporate the surrounding introduction and closeout with each one. But those are more doable.
But here are reasons why meditation is challenging:
- Your work phone/email/Slack starts to blow up while you are trying to meditate
- Your child wakes up early and cries out for you while you are meditating
- You have to hide in a closet on the weekends in order to have time to meditate away from your family. And then you’re half listening for them to find you or have some kind of problem at any given moment.
- Your spouse treats meditation as one more of your stupid hippy-dippy ideas, and you feel self-conscious even saying you want to slip away to meditate.
- Sitting outside on the patio is one of the few places you can hide from things and then 30mph winds kick up and ruin the moment.
- Your dog comes and sits on you while you meditate
- Your dog sits next to you and immediately starts licking herself while you meditate
- Your dog starts barking at something (real or not real) in the midst of meditation
- Your dog starts licking your face while you meditate.
- Your dog farts while you meditate. And it smells really bad.
- Basically, having a dog near you at all while meditating.
But there are little tricks that I feel have been helpful, especially since I started the anxiety pack in Headspace. I never really thought that I had “anxiety, ” but I am clearly an anxious person. Maybe I do have clinical anxiety, who knows? It could go along with all my other mental diagnoses. But since becoming a parent, my anxiety levels are a lot higher than they were before. (This should/could probably be a whole separate post!) Anxiety has been growing and growing and I think that’s a big part of why I have felt physically crummy this year and it has ruined a lot of my running plans this year.
I’m not a “casual observer” of all my anxious thoughts. There are a lot of them. Kind of like I don’t think you could be a casual observer when sitting in the middle of a battlefield. But I think the meditation practice is helping in some ways. I can finish a 10 (12) minute meditation and feel my breathing is a little more settled, even if I know I didn’t do very well at controlling my rapid-fire thoughts.
Plus, little messages popping up on my phone from Headspace in the midst of all the work crap are kind of refreshing!
I’m on day 26 of the anxiety pack. I think I’ll do the stress one next. And that should take me up to my December renewal date and then I’ll decide if I’m sticking with Headspace or trying another meditation app. But I kind of want to try the sports packs in Headspace… assuming I ever get my body back to a place where I feel comfortable signing up for a race again!
I’d love to hear any meditation success stories or recommendations if anyone has them! Or at least commiserate in the challenges with me!
Oh… and how do I make my anxious dog meditate and chill out?
try square breathing. Really focus on it. It works.