Meditation Journey

Meditation sounds simple

  • Sit quiet and comfortable
  • Empty your mind
  • Focus on your breath
  • When the mind wanders...
  • Focus back on your breath
  • 10 - 20 minutes daily 

Daily meditation offers many benefits

  • Decrease in stress
  • Improved creativity
  • Slower heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased serotonin
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Increased productivity
  • Decrease in pain
  • Improved mental health
How come meditation is the last thing I think about when stressed?

The doctor's advice is to meditate when stressed; however, the last thing I tend to consider is doing nothing for 20 minutes.  Personally, stress triggers taking action.  Unfortunately, that kind of stress can take a toll on your health.

Keeping this meditation journal below will help hold me accountable and hopefully we will see the benefits listed above.  Even though mentally I can tell myself that meditation is a healthy habit, it is still hard to stop and do nothing.

On an increasing stress scale from 1 - 10 , I would register at 15.  So let's see what daily meditation for 21 days will look like.... it takes 21 days to develop a lasting lifestyle habit.  Here's to a healthy habit.  Cheers.


Day 1 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - Sitting cross legged on the floor facing the window to enjoy the sunshine.  Set wrist watch timer for 20 minutes.  Shut my eyes.  The time felt like an hour.  At one point, I looked down at my watch and saw 4 minutes left.  Felt guilty for checking the time.  Overall, it seemed that I was constantly thinking and trying to let go of thoughts.  It seemed like the last 4 minutes took 10 minutes.  Probably because my watch timer never went off.  Glad I finally checked my watch again or I would still be meditating.

Result - Felt good about taking a step towards following the doctors orders.  After meditation, went for a peaceful walk; however, by the end of the walk I started to think about stressful things and felt tension again. 

Tip - Useful gadget for meditation or click on the egg picture above.


Day 2 - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - This meditation journey has elicited many great comments and advice for meditation.  During the 21 days, the plan is try out the following - Guided Meditation, Holding Yoga Poses - Savasana or Tree.  Today's meditation method:

  • Pet meditation method
    Today, Harlee joined me for meditation in the sun.  It was peaceful with her asleep in my lap; however, she didn't stop my mind from wandering and thinking.  It felt like 20 minutes lasted forever again.  We used the egg timer above, but still got up and checked that it was working.  The timer had 12 second left.  It is hard to let go of thinking and easy to get distracted and fidgety.

    Result - Went for another walk and stayed in a calmer state of mind than the day before.  The best part was wearing my 5 finger shoes (one of the bucket list goals) and did some yoga poses overlooking the lake. 

    Question - What will happen when we let go of worry, will things still get done?


    Day 3 - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - Meditation method:

    • Breath in and out of right nostril 26 times slowly, while holding left nostril closed.
    Results and Tips:

    • This method works 
    • Blow your nose before trying 
    • Recommend privacy for this method, or.....
    • Prepare for people / dog rescue, due to sounds, or....
    • Prepare for laughter - (Harlee investigated my face) 
    This method works because it is hard to think about anything else while counting and trying to breath with one nostril.  Plus you don't need to use a timer.  I felt lightness in my head from this method.  Good tip from the Mid Atlantic Clinic of Chiropractic!


    Day 4 - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - Meditation method:

    • Sunlamp therapy 
    Enjoy sunshine, even when skies are cloudy.  It brightens the mood and offers a reason to sit still.

    Result - Slept better on Thursday and felt calmer about circumstances, such as - locking myself out, driving 3 hours, traveling, and getting off schedule.  Another thing that helped was facing some "truths" in life and being honest.  There is only such much time we are given on earth.  Following your "North Star" is difficult when the direction it is pointing doesn't follow typical society, work, career, corporations, or money "Stars".


    Day 5 - Friday, April 1, 2011 - Today was a vacation day.  Spent the day with my parents, sister, brother, and nephews.  Started the day by meditating.  Meditation method:

    • Before getting out of bed in the morning - meditate for 20 minutes
    This was easy to do on vacation because there were no time pressure related appointments.  It was good to slowly wake up, there were no "thoughts" built up from the day, started the day with a fresh mind.

    Result - As the day events unfolded, enjoyed being in the present moment.   

    Day 6 - Saturday, April 2, 2011 -Meditation method:

    • Waiting meditation method (keep your eyes open)
    The reason for this method is to prove, that we can meditate at any time.  We don't always have 20 minutes to carve out of a busy schedule.  Today, I got stopped by a long train and decided to try to clear my mind and meditate.

    Result - Clearing the mind is not easy, since we need to stay alert for when the window for "waiting" will end.  At the same time, it allowed me to feel less anxious about wishing I wasn't sitting there doing "nothing".  When you make meditation a priority it gives you a reason to do "nothing".


    Day 7 - 9, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

    I got off track.  I thought about meditating and at times my brain was thinking about "nothing".  Unfortunately, I was not intentionally focused on meditation.

    Why the lapse?  Still having trouble convincing myself that mediation has benefits.  My brain thinks.... How can I waste 20 minutes thinking about nothing, especially when I can't "see" the benefits?  Therefore it is easy to skip a day, a week, and basically never meditate.

    Maybe we can measure the benefits. Let's start with heart rate....

    How to measure your heart rate:
    • Locate your pulse on your neck or wrist
    • Count the beats for 10 seconds - seconds
    • Multiple the beats you counted by 6
    • Get more accurate - count for 30 seconds x 2 - or - count for 60 seconds (personally like the 30 second heart rate timer)
    Recommended Range - Resting   =   60 - 80

    Starting Point (4/5/2011)  Resting  =   78 

    Great news, this rate qualifies me for the "Lower your Heart Rate Now - Meditation Program".  The next step on the road to lower stress is to demonstrate that mediation can help lower your heart rate. 

    Day 10, Wednesday, April 6, 2011 -Meditation method:

    • Savasana Yoga Pose 
    It is a fancy way of saying - lay down, spread your arms, let your legs relax, ankles roll to the side, and empty your mind.

    Caution - This method might result in falling asleep.  However in my world, anything that helps me fall asleep is a good thing.     

    4/6/2011 - Resting   =   76

    Day 11 - Day 13, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - Meditation method:

    • Meditating whenever
    During these days, I didn't do anything specific for meditation and I didn't use a timer.  Meditated at my desk, sitting on the couch, or in bed.  Each time, the focus was on the breath with my eyes shut.

    Result - This method currently doesn't work for me.  It felt like I was "thinking" about time and it was difficult to hold myself accountable.  During this stage of the meditation journey, a timer is still needed to relax and let the mind clear.

    4/7/2011 - Resting   =   74
    4/8/2011 - Resting   =   72
    4/9/2011 - Resting   =   68

    300 Days Later - my 21st Day - February 2, 2012 - Meditation method:

    • Meditation / Hypnosis Audio CD's
    I started off this journey thinking that I could force myself to meditate every single day for 21 days and it would eventually stick.  But this is a process that needed to evolve over as many days as I personally needed.  It took me over 300 days to create this habit and open my mind to relaxation techniques.  Many things happened along my meditation journey and I hope my experiences help you.  

    At the beginning of this journey, I was extremely stressed and registered myself at a stress level of 15 (on a 1-10 scale).  I would now confidently say that my stress level on average is a 3.

    The exciting part is that I am currently experiencing wonderful benefits everyday by using Hypnosis Audio CD's.  At this stage in my journey, I benefit the most when someone is talking me through meditation and hypnosis.  This is the first time in my life where I can sit still for about 30 minutes and completely clear my mind.  In addition, I was struggling with insomnia and now I can listen to a "Deep Relaxation" CD track and fall asleep every single time.  If you want to try one of the MP3's - this one is available for FREE.

    It is a blessing that so many crazy, tumultuous, and difficult things happened along my path in life, which finally lead me to these Hypnosis CD's through Hypnobabies.  As you will see, this is a website for pregnant women, but I am positive that there are many other great meditation and hypnosis CD's available (there are several that are for everyone on this website - Relax Me Hypnosis Session Peaceful Sleep Now for ALL).  I plan to explore other meditation and hypnosis CD's, but I am so thankful that I have found this program to help me over the past 300 days.    

    I am excited to share my experiences and what I have learned about health, food, exercise, and meditation over the last 300 days.


    Photo Credit - 123RF Stock Photos

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    1. Just Jen says:

      Good luck meditating! I know that when I workout - mostly with yoga or some kind of core balancing moves - I tend to mostly just release the tension and focus on my breathing. My mind clears. I have a hard time sitting still and find that yoga moves help me calm my brain! Hope the meditation helps!

    2. I just found your blog from your comment on mine. It's so fascinating to read about your different meditation experiences and what works best for you. I'm curious to try some of these myself now.

      Thank you for sharing!

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