Meditation

Meditation is one of those things that people have always told me to try but I had never got around to doing. I’ve heard so many good things about it; all the benefits like stress reduction, increased attention span, and even the reduction of migraines. Somehow I just didn’t believe it would help me much. I was still interested in trying it at some point but I just kept putting it off longer and longer. One day, around Christmas 2019, I was bored and decided to search for guided meditation apps and give meditation a try. I was surprised by the results.

 First of all, I didn’t think meditation was for me because I wasn’t spiritual. Apparently you don’t have to be a spiritual person or new age-y to meditate. Phew! Secondly, many people tell me that they can’t meditate because their minds are too busy. My mind is busy too! I have to say that it doesn’t matter how busy your mind is. You’ll be guided to focus on your breath. Each time your mind wonders, you just note to yourself that you were thinking, and gently guide your attention back to the breath, without self judgement. You might only have to do this a few times. You might have to do this 100 times. It’s really okay if the whole time you meditate, you’re doing this. Meditation isn’t perfect. You’re not trying to impress everyone. It is something you practice and get better at with time and patience. It may take a lot of patience, but you’ll get there. I did. Lastly, I didn’t think meditation would actually have any real benefit for me, but I tried anyway, almost like an experiment with an open mind. I found it to be very helpful.

It took me a while to find the right guided meditation app for me. It’s important that you find one that suits your needs and your style. There are some free ones out there as well as paid ones. Some paid apps will have a selection of free sample meditations as well, to help you decide whether or not you like the app. After trying a couple of free apps and not feeling sure of them, I stumbled upon an app called Serenity. It is a paid app, but it had a few sample meditations that I was willing to try. I looked at the subjects they cover in their meditations, and it seemed a little like therapy as well as meditation, which made it even more appealing to me. I loved the meditations so much so far, that I decided to subscribe and see how I liked the paid content. It was $10 CAD per month and so far, I feel that the value is worth the money.

Serenity has a nice, relaxing British woman’s voice who guides your meditations. There is a pleasant ambient music in the background, and the meditations typically last between 9 and 13 minutes in length. Sometimes I do two in a row if I want a longer meditation. We cover topics such as distancing yourself from negative thoughts, practicing gratitude, self awareness, values and goals, sleep, weight loss, stress reduction and more.

Since starting meditating in December, I have noticed that I am much more relaxed. I even checked my FitBit and there is a trend that my resting heart rate has actually decreased since I’ve started, which is physical proof that I am more relaxed. The second thing I noticed is that I’m happier. I’m not sure if it’s the gratitude practice or just that I’m more relaxed which in turn makes me happy. At the end of each meditation, we think of 3 things we are grateful for and why we are grateful for them. You end up thinking about things you are thankful for that you did not even realize you were so appreciative of. This can definitely bring joy to one’s life. The big question though, is DOES IT REDUCE MIGRAINES? There is no definite answer to this. Yes, it definitely can help reduce migraines in people who have migraines related to stress. For me, there has been no change in the frequency or severity of my migraines. I still feel that I benefit from Meditation and will still continue to practice using my app, and I would like to also explore other apps to see what they have to offer that may be new or different.

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