Who has time to meditate? Everyone. We can all carve out 10 minutes a day. It doesn't matter who you are.
Over the past couple of years, I have used the app Calm to help with meditation sessions. After trying several apps, including Headspace, Oak, and Calm, I settled on Calm.
Why Meditate in the First Place?
There are many health benefits to meditating. You can Google and find long lists of them. All benefits tend to fall into better thinking, a healthier body, and better emotional well-being.
In my experience, the three most significant benefits I see include lower stress levels, more patience, and better problem-solving ability.
Is it a placebo effect? What has been interesting is my wife can sometimes tell if I miss sessions or not. Since I meditate in the early morning, before the rest of the family is awake, nobody is aware of when I meditate or not.
Why the Calm App?
It's not about the app. An app is a tool. Use one, or don't use one. If you use one, this isn't a scenario where you need to spend a bunch of time reading versus comparisons online. Download 3-4 and give them each a try for a week to see what works for you. I'd start with Calm, Headspace, Oak, and 10% Happier.
What I like about Calm is the "Daily Calm" and that they have little mini-courses on topics, such as anxiety, that you can plow through as well.
I also find Tamara Levitt, the voice of calm, to be the one that resonates with me the most. I enjoy her personal stories in the sessions.
3 Tips for Getting Started with Meditation
Having used the Calm app, along with others, over the past two years, I have three tips for getting started with meditation.
- It is easy to use meditation as a break/fix tool at first. That is the mistake I made. I would only use the Calm app when I wanted to lower stress or address anxiety. While that can be effective for addressing a single issue, meditation has so much more to offer. My recommendation is to make it a daily practice. The compound interest of daily 10-20 minute sessions is compelling. Don't sell yourself short.
- Get comfortable. It is hard to stick with a daily routine if you know you will be in pain, figuring out the lotus position. All of my sessions have been lying on a yoga mat, chair, or bed. I want to be comfortable. Purists are yelling at their monitors right now, but that's fine because IMO, there are no rules to meditating. Do what works.
- Your mind will wander. The monkey mind is strong. Let it wander. It is an excellent way to take your temperature on what is bothering you or distracting you in your day/life. Refocus, if you can, but don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself or you are defeating the purpose of the session.
"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
— Bruce Lee