You might think that people with ME/CFS don't need help with doing nothing. It sometimes feels - especially when we are going through a bad flare-up - that we are always doing nothing, getting nothing accomplished. But are you really doing nothing? Is your mind ever truly still and quiet?
In this brief TED talk, monk and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe talks about taking 10 minutes out of your day to be still and mindful, to meditate and quiet your mind. He says taking even this small amount of time out of each day to be still can change your life:
I chose this talk today because being still and mindful is a huge weakness of mine. Even when my body needs to rest, my mind is almost always in full gear, speeding along at a hundred miles an hour: "I need to do this," "Better not forget that," "Oh, I have to remember that," etc. I tend to be very focused on being productive - being still is my Kryptonite!
Over the past 10 years or so, I have gotten very good at setting goals for myself - measurable, objective goals - and at meeting them (here are my health-related goals for 2013 and 2015). I've actually accomplished a lot of my goals...except for one. I always do dismally on my goal (on the list every year!) to spend at least 10 minutes a day meditating. I get so busy (in mind and sometimes body, too) that the day passes, and I never make time to just be still. When I do meditate, it is usually as a crutch to help myself fall asleep.
I suspect it is the same for many of us. Even on a crash day, when I need to rest, I am still usually reading or watching TV or (often) using my laptop while lying on the couch. Even worse, I am often trying to do several things at once. I know (though I have a hard time admitting it) that's not really resting. I do take time every afternoon to take a nap (bonus points for that?), but meditation is beneficial in addition to sleep.
So, how exactly do you take this advice to spend 10 minutes meditating or being mindful? I actually learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) when I was 16 years old (so I have no excuse!). My parents had both learned and so I did, too. If you've never learned before, here are some resources:
- Guide to Meditation for Beginners (includes step-by-step instructions) and also some links to relaxing music/nature sounds and guided meditations.
- Wiki-How: How to Meditate for Beginners with illustrations and step-by-step instructions
- 10 Essential Tips on Meditation for Beginners
- How to Meditate: A 10-Step Beginner's Guide
As for me, I am going to take another stab at that goal of mine to meditate 10 minutes a day (and stop counting my nap as "meditation"!) I know how beneficial it is, and I know how much I need to learn to quiet my brain, so I will try again.
Please tell me about your experiences with meditation - or go and try it and report back!