In the past six months have spent 120 hours of my life meditating.
I know this because of the Insight Timer, an app with a fairly inconspicuous-looking logo that belies a whole new world of mindfulness and rest for tired brains.
It has quite literally changed my life.
I’m a working mum of two young boys aged 2.5 and five with a fairly hectic schedule.
Despite these odds, downtime is absolutely essential for my sanity and energy levels.
Meditation has become my one-way ticket to rest and mind-chill that, most wonderfully of all, does not require me to move. At all.
In fact all that is required is to lie down (you can sit but I always lie down), put your earbuds in and tap into the Insight Timer app.
For me the best thing about this app is the filters you can use to navigate and select the type of meditation that best meets your needs. It’s SO simple even the most tired and fragged of brains will be able to use it.
The free meditations (and there are 15,000) are all tagged under about 28 categories and include everything from sleep, anxiety, depression, love, stress, yoga nidra and so on. There is also music, guided talks and chat groups to join. Plus, the personal stats feature that clocks up your meditation miles.
For me the variety has been key to my continued practice. No day is the same for me and no day needs the same meditation. Although, I do admit to having favourites.
Each and every day I practise (which has been twice a day nearly everyday of the past 6 months) I notice something positive.
Note I did not say that everything is wonderful in my life or the days are not railroaded with crises. I just said everything seemed more positive and that is largely a result of my changed perspective or approach.
The problems are still there, it’s just my way of approaching the solution is different. At the risk of sounding a bit silly, it’s like there are now more prolonged spaces between my thoughts.
Take this recent disaster for example.
While driving on a very busy road, a very large huntsman crawled across my windscreen.
I am notoriously arachnophobic and my two sons having sensed this, started to scream.
My brain took a few moments to clock into full panic – mostly, I admit when I realised the spider was in fact, outside the windscreen.
But still, there were a good few long pauses there where I did not panic – on the outside. On the inside a loud f-bomb was resounding at very high pitch. But I was able to stop the car, retrieve a large stick and courageously remove the spider from my windscreen without screaming.
Hurrah for me.
I have also noticed that when hit with a long list of tasks (school newsletters, lost socks, breakfast spills, incoming pinging emails, crying toddler) I am more easily able to sort the priority of need (crying toddler, breakfast spills, incoming emails, lost sock found, school newsletter read) and just get on with the day.
And that was just what happened between 6 and 6:15 this morning – imagine how the 11.5 hours of the rest of my day now flows.
It’s a tiny bit magic.
And for as little as five to 10 minutes a day, totally worth the effort.