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Meditation – Is it worth it? My experience so far.

Is it worth it?

This question has been asked many times, and it’s a tough one to answer.

The best (and I think only) way to decide is by trying it, which is what I’ve done.


Look up the search results for ‘benefits of meditation’ and you’ll see may exciting prospects, including:


- reduced stress

- more controlled anxiety levels

- better emotional health

- enhanced self-awareness

- lengthened attention span

- reduced memory loss

- increased kindness

- more resistance to addictions & pain

- improved sleep

- reduced blood pressure

With this list freshly planted in my brain, I sat down on day one to give it a go. I woke up bright and early and sat down on the floor, legs crossed, with my back flat against the wall. The first thing I noticed was quite how ‘busy’ my mind was – thoughts interlacing and jumping over each other like fish at feeding time. It’s amazing how hard it is to just sit there quietly and ‘observe’ your thoughts. I kept thinking that ‘I’m probably wasting my time’, that I should ‘just get up and get on with my day’ and that ‘I’m definitely not doing this properly’. I stuck to it and ten minutes felt like about ten hours, my legs dead from crossing them and completely out of blood by the end of it!


I kept to it and every week I increased the time by one minute. So by month three, I was well and truly into it, waking up and going straight into a 20 minute sit-still. I have a habit-tracker app on my phone, and I’m now up to 110 days in a row.



Habit Tracking App (Habit Bull)

What’s changed?

I still get dead legs every day and have to stretch them for 5 minutes after finishing to get a bit of life back into them. This isn’t anything to do with the meditation but probably more with my poor sitting posture and rubbish flexibility!


I now sit solely on a meditation cushion without resting my back on the wall – this was difficult in itself for a good few days as you’re using muscles you wouldn’t use in a normal desk chair!


I still get a lot of thoughts popping into my head but it’s definitely easier to ‘observe’ them than be sucked in and overtaken by them. It’s like they’ve changed from hundreds of excited little goldfish at feeding time to 5 or 10 tired, slow, well-fed goldfish instead. I’ve also noticed that it’s easier to ignore unwanted, negative thoughts – instead of them being all-consuming. You still know they’re there, but you can let them arrive and then let them leave without them affecting you.


So I guess that ticks off the top three benefits:


- reduced stress

- more controlled anxiety levels

- better emotional health


One more thing I can attest to is improved sleep, even though I could sleep pretty-well beforehand too!


I think the others are a bit harder to measure and may take a bit more time.

- enhanced self-awareness

- lengthened attention span

- reduced memory loss

- increased kindness

- more resistance to addictions & pain

- reduced blood pressure

You may have to ask me in another 110 days about these other ones!

What I found difficult

It’s actually amazing just how complicated something as simple as sitting still can be, or it seems like it is before starting. When researching how to start meditating, I was overwhelmed by the amount of types of meditation and mindfulness, among others. Some sources tell you to count to 10, to watch your breath, or to say a certain word over and over. I read ‘Hurry up and meditate’ by David Michie, and it was great for keeping things simple and helping me get started. I decided to use counting the breath as a way of focusing the mind as it’s probably the easiest thing to ‘watch’.

How does it work?

Very simply - meditation increases how well we can move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency ones. Lower frequency wavelengths are slower, which gives you more time in-between your thoughts, and the ability to take more time deciding which thoughts to pay attention to and what actions to take. Obviously, this happens sub-consciously but the benefits we can see are the ones listed above.



Meditation slows down your brainwaves

How to start

Sit cross-legged on a cushion with your back straight. Close your eyes and watch your breath as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Count to ten inhales and exhales, then start again from one. I do twenty minutes a day as I find this the optimal amount for me – you might be able to do more without becoming fidgety, but you’ll have to give it a go and see what works for you. I would recommend starting at 5 or 10 minutes as twenty is a big ask from day one. If you’re like me, you’ll find it quite difficult to begin with, but after a few days you’ll soon start to get used to it.

Incense or nonsense?

I don’t think it matters whether you use incense or not, I think it’s personal preference. I like it, because sometimes when my mind if drifting off, the smell of the incense reminds me of what I should be doing!



Incense? Personal preference

What about boredom?

A lot of people worry that it’ll be boring, I did before I started. But I’ve realised that it doesn’t get boring as there are so many thoughts in your head to think about! If you’re sitting there bored, then maybe you’re doing it right as there’s no thoughts left in your head?!

And motivation?

It can be really hard to stay motivated, especially when you’re up early with a busy day ahead of you. Or on the weekend when you’re having a lazy morning. But I find that trying not to think too much about it actually helps. Rather than thinking, ‘I’ve got to meditate now and I don’t want to/ want to do something else/ want to keep sleeping’, just sit down, get set, and start the timer straight away. By not allowing your mind to overthink it, you just get on and get it done.

So, meditation – is it worth it?

Yes, I definitely think so. But, don’t expect it to be a quick fix. The short-term effects of sitting in silence and calming your mind are good, but the bigger benefits come with time (I hope to see many more anyway!). If you’re happy with putting in the time on a tough, cold winter morning (when you just want that extra 20 minutes in bed), then it’ll probably work well for you. If you can’t push yourself out of bed and in front of your incense stick, then I’d probably just hit the snooze button again!

What do you think? Do you feel put-off or motivated to give it a go? I’d be really interested to hear your experiences too – do the dead legs still affect you or is it an amateur condition?!

Good luck!




A Buddhist monk during meditation

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," Blaise Pascal (French Philosopher, 1600’s).



References/ Further Information

Hurry up and meditate (book) – David Michie

Healthline (website) - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation

Habit Tracking App - Habit Bull

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Swansea, Wales

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