Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Inspiration: 10 Minutes of Mindfulness

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:
If you are struggling to relax when you try to meditate or can't seem to quiet your mind, you might want to start with some Guided Meditations - just look up "guided meditation" on a search engine and plenty of free audio/video options will come up.

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!


Sue Jackson said...

I did it! Before my nap today (and the reading I usually do before my nap), I first spent 10 minutes meditating - actually meditating, not just trying to fall asleep! lol It came back to me surprisingly easily and the 10 minutes went by really fast. Now, let's see if I can keep it up for more than 1 day...

Sue Jackson said...

I am happy to say that 3 weeks later, I have kept up with meditating 10 minutes almost every day! I found that they key was to make it a habit by attaching it to another habit - for me, that means 10 minutes of meditation before I take my nap each afternoon - it is cutting into my reading time a little bit, but it definitely helps to settle my mind!

Anonymous said...

I have CFS as well and have learnt To meditate during eating. Which is Super good idea. Try! ☺I chew the food properly so that the saliva mixes well with food. Then I taste and also smell the food. Wien I eat I do nothing but eat. This method I learned from mundfullness course. Suits me well as I dont lie too much meditaation. You van also meditate while brushing your teeth or while showering. Using senses. Btw you hae a great blog. How are your kids? Wishing all the best for you all.