I meditated today!

by Claire

Yay, a gold star for me, I meditated today!

My anxiety has been escalating to quite unmanageable levels recently, and mindfulness meditation is said to help calm certain aspects of anxiety (although there is an interesting array of studies that suggest that while very helpful, it isn’t a silver bullet solution – see below for a sample of studies).

In my efforts to turn this relaxing event into an everyday occurrence – I am challenging myself to meditate for half an hour EVERY SINGLE DAY. As a piano teacher I know that no real progress can be achieved without dedicated practice, and I am determined that this is a challenge I will meet.

I have used various free meditation resources in the past, but my favourite by far is the itunes U podcast by UCLA; Mindful Meditation at the Hammer. This is a recording of a free mindfulness meditation given at a lecture hall every Thursday at UCLA. Their working definition of mindfulness is that “Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to our present moment experiences with openness and curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.” Along with noticing our bodies, our breath and the ambient noise, we are invited to let go of any thoughts that come into our minds,and gently turn again and again to noticing the present moment. It’s really quite relaxing, and I’m sure (I hope) that it will get easier as I do it every day. And I did it. Today. And now I just need to do it tomorrow.

Saturday 15th Jul 2017 – I meditated today
Sunday 16th Jul 2017 – I actually followed through and meditated. Hooray!!
Mon 17 Jul – I fell asleep at the end, but it still counts!
Tues 18 Jul – SO much sleeping after the meditation.
Wed 19 Jul –  barking dog=extremely un-zen, but it’s the effort that counts here.
Thurs 20 Jul – I am loving and hating the post-meditation wake-up alarm…
Fri 21 Jul – yep, this external validation thing is working!!
Mon 24 Jul – meditated
Tues 25 Jul – meditated


Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief: “These findings provide evidence that mindfulness meditation attenuates anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential thought processes.”

Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity: “These results suggest that MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) may have a beneficial effect on anxiety symptoms in GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), and may also improve stress reactivity and coping as measured in a laboratory stress challenge.”

How Does Mindfulness Reduce Anxiety, Depression, and Stress? An Exploratory Examination of Change Processes in Wait-List Controlled Mindfulness Meditation Training: “The results indicated that the facets of overidentification and self-judgment (components of self-compassion) were most robustly predictive of changes in outcome variables, though mindfulness and emotion regulation also contributed. The findings suggest that mindfulness, as a process, may be more complicated than some have given credit and that attention and emotional balance may be particularly important aspects related to its effects.”