As our Masters term winds to a close and my assignment due dates crash towards me, I have tried turning to some of the skills I have learned through meditation. Some days (or moments) are more successful than others.
I am finding myself struggling with more frequent sleepless nights lately, and I find that turning my focus onto my breathing helps sometimes. The visualizations for stress are not working AT ALL for late night restlessness.
Earlier this term, Jarod and I were talking about our Learning Projects, and he told me about a book that was recommended to him by a colleague. It was called “10% Happier”. It is written by Dan Harris, a reporter for ABC who had the start of a panic attack live on air. Through his journey to calm the voice in his head (admit it, we all have one), he finally discovered the secret that worked for him… (spoiler alert)
He describes his process: Sit upright, feel your breath, when your mind wanders, simply return to your breath. This is EXACTLY what the first 30 sessions of the Headspace app teach! Mr. Harris backs it up with the same research that I found at the beginning: daily short meditation will grow the areas of your brain associated with self-awareness and compassion. It should shrink the areas associated with stress.
So, I am proud to tell you that I am not done my Learning Project. I have managed to meditate daily since I chose this project. I will continue to meditate long after this term concludes!