Of all the benefits of meditation, the one that has surprised me the most and brought the most value to my life is the effects of meditation on time.
I have long been well versed in the many benefits of meditation, and know that it is a daily ritual of just about every high achieving person you hear about these days. Getting it into my daily practice has been a bumpy road, but I have always persevered, knowing that it was an important part of the person I want to be.
Before it became a habit, I had all the excuses for not meditating regularly and some of these may sound familiar to you;
- scattered schedule
- no perfect ‘place’ to do it
- being embarrassed to do it in front of others
- not knowing how to do it "properly"
- too many failed attempts in sticking with it
- not wanting to do it if I couldn’t do it for a specific amount of time
- not having enough time (Ask anyone who meditates regularly and they will tell you that if you think you do not have enough time for meditation, than taking time to meditate is EXACTLY what you need!)
Once meditation became a regular and constant part of my daily routine, it didn't take many days before I felt calmer, my feelings of anxiety decreased, I slept better and felt happier in general. And then the coolest thing happened, one day, as I was calmly going through my busy schedule, I checked the last thing off of my 'to-do' list and realized that I had accomplished all I had set out to do for the day and that the day wasn't even over yet! I mean, this wasn't actually groundbreaking or anything at the time, because we all have those magical days now and then, but when the pattern continued for the rest of the week, it made me stop and take notice.
Shortly after this discovery, the holiday season hit and as many of you can probably attest to, though the holiday season is one of the best times of year, it can also be the worst time for self care and healthy habits. We get so busy that we put those things on hold for a while. During the holidays that feeling of having extra, or even enough time for that matter, seemed to disappear. One could chalk this up to actually BEING busier, with all that goes into family and Christmas and what have you, but during this time, I stepped away from work and school, so technically, I was less busy.
After all of the merriment abated and it was back to real life, I picked up where I left off with my daily rituals and lo and behold, it only took a couple of days before the feeling of having more time returned.
At that point it was as if the skies parted, light shone down upon me and I could hear the singing of angels, my prayers had been answered! As a stay at home mom to 2 toddlers, a wife, a keeper of the home, a student (I am currently working on my second degree) and a business owner, a little extra time is a bit of a big deal.
For so long one of my biggest wishes in life was to have more time. I wanted at least 3 more hours in each the day, to get done all the things I wanted and needed to do. And at least 3 more hours each night, just to feel like I’ve had something close to the proper amount of sleep. I wished for my children to stay each the age they were for at least an extra year. One year of my son being 2 was not enough for me, I wanted it to all last longer. Time moved too quickly and there was never enough of it. Anyone else have this problem? According to social media, the answer is a resounding YES!
Now, I’m not a quantum physicist, but I was fairly sure stretching time wasn't actually something that was possible, yet the results were right there, everyday. So, as is my nature, I started to research. Though I haven't found anything to say that meditation actually adds more time to your day, (which is probably a good thing, as this would wreak havoc on your calendar and schedule, trying to do the math to be sure your at your 9:30 meeting on time now that you're personally running off a 30 hour clock, while all the other suckers are still using 24.)
But there are reasons why I was getting the results I was. It was a perfect storm of the benefits of meditation coming together to give me the illusion of bending time. With daily meditation I became;
These changes made me more productive and had me moving through my day in a peaceful and very present way. At the end of the day, when I lay down in bed and looked back on what I had accomplished, I could remember little moments that otherwise may have been lost in the busy buzzing of my brain before meditation became part of my life. Being able to remember more of the day, made it feel like there was actually more day to remember.
Before regular meditation, I used to go about much of my day on autopilot, missing what was going on around me. I was often guilty of being 3 steps ahead of myself mentally - planning or worrying about what I was doing next. Or sometimes being months or years behind - obsessing over some random embarrassing incident or conversation that had happened ages ago (thank you anxiety!). Try to focus on the task at hand when you're planning tomorrow's rout for running errands or berating yourself for that time you accidentally overshared to you boss and he stared at you blankly before making a beeline for the staff room door.
Living in the 'now', along with having heightened self-awareness helped me in setting more achievable goals, and being extra focused and creative allowed me to blast through my to-do lists. It is fantastic.
This gift of extra time is something I want to share with the world! And if more time or presence are not something you're after, or feel you need to work on, the myriad benefits of meditation have something for everyone. Anchor Dan Harris wrote an entire book on how regular meditation just made his life “10% Happier” overall, and I mean, who can say no to that?
Having trouble getting started? Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:
5 Tips for Successfully Making Meditation a Daily Habit
1. Don’t be too picky about setting.
With two small children at home, my dream of sitting in my little home gym with the lights low, my oil diffuser on and binaural beats playing over the speakers, just wasn’t in the cards. We usually do it in the upstairs living room sitting on the floor or couch.
2. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
I’ve heard and read many a tale of the amazing, existential experience people have during meditation and was wondering what the heck I was doing wrong. Most of my meditation was just me repeatedly reminding myself to stop thinking about whatever it was my mind wandered to, and to focus on what I was doing. Finally, a wise friend, who is well versed in meditation and mindfulness told me to relax and not put so much pressure on myself, that there was no “wrong” way to meditate. She was right.
3. Find some methods that work for you and don’t be afraid to switch it up!
Some days I focus on breath, some days it’s a visualization, sometimes I concentrate on chakras, sometimes I chant and sometimes nothing seems to be clicking so I just sit quietly. But I do it in some form every day - and that is key.
4. Some minutes are better than none minutes.
Research shows that benefits of meditation can start with doing as little as 5 minutes a day. When I started, I did 8 minutes (which was all my kids could handle at the time - more on that next) and slowly added a minute or two over time. I’m currently meditating 15 minutes a day, with aspirations to keep slowly adding.
5. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
This was a BIG one for me. With two small kids, I tried for a long time to make time to meditate on my own. My biggest plan was to get up early enough to do it before they awoke, this failed as my son is an early riser and was hard to beat. Even if I did manage to get up before him, I was on edge listening for the baby monitor. Then I tried taking time to meditate after they had gone to sleep. This failed for a few reasons, one, again, the baby monitor, two, evening was time to be with my partner, (whom, due to my own little insecurities, I didn't love meditating in front of) and three, I was just so tired by then that the thought of anything even slightly productive (even if it was relaxing) didn’t hold much appeal.
Children should be proud of their accomplishments.
Pride means finding joy and satisfaction in a job well done. Pride means feeling admiration for yourself and value in what you have achieved. Pride, authentic pride - not bragging, boasting or seeking outside approval - is an essential part of self-esteem.
Encourage your children to take pride in what they do and MODEL IT FOR THEM.
Take pride in your accomplishments! You have accomplished so very much, from learning to drive a car, to starting a family, to getting up each morning and taking care of what needs to be done. Be it big or small - take time to feel that joy and satisfaction.
What are you proud of today?
As part of our children's mental health initiative, we have been offering the workshop, Guided Imagery for the Classroom: Theory, Benefits and Practical Application. For the past couple years we have traveled to school districts in Northern British Columbia, teaching educators and school staff about the value of guided imagery and how to implement it in the classroom. The course was so well received, that we were inspired to make it available to all teachers, everywhere and through the support of Northern Health and the Imagine Community Grant, this aspiration has become a reality!
We are so excited and pleased to announce the launch of our online Professional Development course, Guided Imagery for the Classroom: Theory, Benefits and Practical Application. This course is based on the original workshop of the same name, with added information, resources and insight. This free course teaches the science and theory of the mindfulness practice of guided imagery, the myriad of its benefits, as well as the whys and hows of implementing it in the classroom. This professional development course is suitable for any and all school staff and takes approximately 1.5 hours to work through, with participants receiving a certificate of completion at the end.
Click on "Courses" in the rosywindow.com menu, sign up, and learn about the brilliant mental health tool that is guided imagery. Teach children the value of taking time to be mindful, while instilling healthy mental processes and moving students into a mental and emotional state of optimal learning.
A huge thank you to Northern Health for their support in making this informative professional development course available at no cost. And also, for supplying each school in our local district with two copies of the mental health resource, Imagine If Maybe, You Had a Cloud.
It is our sincere hope that these resources will be put to good use and that staff and students alike, will enjoy the time that they spend with Rosy Window.
-M & B
Rosy Re-Frame: It’s all in the getting there.
The things we learned from Puppets, who knew? I can recall a stuffed green frog, peddling a bicycle, singing “Moving Right Along, do do do, do do do” and although I don’t remember all of the lyrics, I can remember the “getting there is half the fun” part.
It is kind of funny that in an existence that is essentially made up of a series of journeys, we always seem to be in a hurry to get to the next thing (whatever that may be). We know how important it is to be mindful, be present. You don’t have to stall out your day to be present in a moment, you simply need to take note of the smaller bits –
there were probably 30 or more moths on my front door this morning. Which was kind of cool, as they were sitting, not flapping their furry little selves around my face, the sunrise was gorgeous and so were the two deer I allowed my-self to take note of on the way to work. Curious how the day didn’t change, I still made it to work on time, and went about things the same way I would had I not stopped to count the moths, or notice the deer.
When we are cooped up, travelling along by plane or bus or car, we can fuss and fume and be impatient for the goal, or we can enjoy the scenery, catch up on sleep, reading, laugh and talk, isn’t that valuable time?
Maybe the destination is not what is intended to be the reward, perhaps it is the richness along the way, the fall colours, the smile of a friend or stranger, the time spent with family in a vehicle.
If we think about the ultimate journey that we are all on, it is not the destination we crave, it’s really each moment along the way.
Photo credit @jdmytruk
Around five years ago, my life started to fall together beautifully. I had free time to enjoy myself, lived in a nice place, had the career I’d worked so hard to achieve, everyone I loved was safe and healthy and I had fallen in love with the person to whom I would eventually marry. This was a complete 180° turn from where my life had been just a few short years before. So, as everything calmed, myself and my G.P. could not figure out why I had developed these bed-drenching, wake-up-to-wring-out-your-pajamas, finger-pruning, night sweats.
My Dr. ran every test he could think of. I was too young for menopause, my thyroid was working fine, no allergies… all my numbers were good. We were stumped and his only suggestion was to look at my mental state. Was I anxious? Depressed?
Heeding my Doctor’s advice, I set myself up with a counselor who then referred me to a psychologist. Everything was so good in my life, I really had nothing to stress over. The night sweats continued and I grew more frustrated (and thoroughly grossed out!) Enter the Counselling Hypnotherapist.
I started seeing a hypnotherapist and after some explanation of what PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) actually looked like and a few weeks of sessions, the night sweats stopped. I went back once or twice over the next few months, then eventually never again.*
Things I did not know about hypnotherapy until my first visits with Bev at On Track Hypnotherapy:
The good news is, by working with your subconscious and conscious mind to sort out the issue, remove negative or limiting beliefs and make positive new suggestions, your mind and body can be healed!
Visit Bev Berg CHT at othypnotherapy.com to learn more!
*I have been back to the hypnotherapist since, but for more fun things like hypnobirthing, which, by the way, I highly, HIGHLY recommend.
When I look out the window and see the fall colours beginning to emerge, or catch a glimpse of the V shape of a flock of Canadian Geese headed back south, I get to decide what I let my thoughts wander to. Is it the beauty of the crimsons and golds? The majesty of the Canadian Goose and how fortunate I am to catch a glimpse of the migration? OR is it that any day now I'll be sweeping the snow off of my car and freezing my nu-nu's off, complaining of the cold and dark and ALWAYS exaggerating how long and miserable winter is?
When the idea of our little production company was conceived about 3 years ago, the name Rosy Window was arrived at very purposefully - we all know that it is not healthy to look at the world through rose coloured glasses (that may be a bit naïve) but we can choose to see a rosier world if we look through the right frame.
We are all creatures of habits, this is true of all of our thought processes, so when something happens or when we are going through the day to day, the habit of positive thought or negative thought is very powerful, changing this instantaneous thought process is not as hard as it may appear. Practicing the art of re-framing is a great way to start, aware at first, purposely re-writing those thoughts, until it's no longer a conscious effort at all, it is simply noticing the "glass half full" first as the habitual thought response is positive.
We are beginning our 12 week "Re-Frame Campaign" we would love to hear from you. Can you think of an example of a perfect re-frame? Is there something that you need help re-framing? Send us a picture of your favourite window we would love to include it in our campaign.
Rosy Window Staff