As I mentioned in my New Year’s resolution post, this month I will be doing a 30-day minimalism challenge to get a fresh start and practice mindfulness, solitude, and simplicity. Feel free to join in if you want, I posted an image with all the challenges for you at the bottom of this post for reference.
Minimalism and Zen go hand in hand. Minimalism is about not making life too cluttered, nor too busy. Minimalism is about not being wasteful. It’s about figuring out what true happiness is, not what advertising tells you it is. Anything that is unnecessary is wasteful, and in a world where the trash is piling up and none of us is any better for it, maybe it’s time to try a new way.
I’m starting with doing 30 days, just to give it a try. What I like, I’ll keep, what I don’t, I’ll toss.
Meditate for fifteen minutes
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and gives you a ton of extra energy and mental clarity. Use an app like Headspace to give it a try today
At the beginning of last summer, I attempted to begin a meditation habit. I took part of my lunch break to go to my car and cleared my head for 10 minutes a day. I did use Headspace and I did love the app. I quit because my lunch break became too filled up with things I needed to make a little time for and meditation got pushed out. I meant to move it to the morning but I have never been very good at getting up any earlier than I absolutely need to.
I think this year I should have another go at it and this time really try to make this habit stick.
Meditation is an important part of Zen. Seated meditation is known as Zazen and incorporates the concepts of mindfulness and focus. Since Zen isn’t a religion, meditation isn’t about thinking about God or getting closer to God, meditation is about going “beyond thinking” and becoming calmer, clearer and kinder. It’s about letting go.
You don’t have to be a Zen Buddhist to enjoy the benefits of meditation. Science has shown that regular meditation can:
- Reduce stress
- Increase creative thinking
- Help you learn to focus better
- Reduce anxiety
- And improve your relationships with people around you.
It’s great for your mental health and takes only 10 or 20 minutes out of your day. So, why isn’t everyone doing it? I think people have a hard time believing that the benefits will outweigh the costs in time. We all have busy lives and it really is hard to care out even 10 minutes a day for just sitting and breathing.
I can tell you that when I was meditating every day I really did feel better. I felt happier and less “wound up”. I felt less tired and irritable. I was honestly shocked at how good I felt after meditating.
I think what helped the most was “Andy”, the voice from the Headspace app teaching me how to meditate and doing it in a way that made me feel comfortable. When I tried to meditate on my own I felt frustrated. I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering. I couldn’t stop fidgeting. I couldn’t keep remember to breath right. I was doing it all wrong and I gave up.
Using headspace made me realize that it takes practice to get your mind to cooperate, in fact, that is the point of meditation! It’s ok to lose focus or forget to count, what is important is to bring you mind back to breathing and counting when you notice what has happened. Do not pressure yourself into quitting because you think you have to be perfect right away.
So, today I meditated and I remembered why I loved it. I have resolved to do my best to continue the practice every day. I encourage you to give it a try and I encourage you to try Headspace when you do. It really helped me see what meditation was supposed to be like.
The idea for this challenge came from Into Mind. The rules for the challenge: Do one assignment every day, the order is your call. Don’t skip a day. That’s it.