Today, I started the Take 10 challenge.
‘Well, what is that?’, you ask. It’s a ten day challenge that requires you to take ten minutes (get it?) out of each day to practice mindfulness, a form of meditation that has been all over the internet recently.
Having read so many articles about this wondrous practice, I had to give it a go myself. I downloaded the ‘Headspace’ app (one of many free meditation apps currently available) on my phone, put on my headphones, and was good to go.
I’ll admit I was skeptical about the whole meditation thing. I felt pretty silly lying down on my bed in the middle of the day, fully clothed, to shut my eyes and meditate for ten minutes. How much difference would it make, really?
Well, the answer is; a buttload of difference. And yes, that is a technical term. As I followed the instructions on the ten minute audio clip, my eyes closed and my body still, I could literally feel some of the tension drain from my limbs. I realised I hadn’t taken the time to just sit quietly for years. There had always been something better to do, something higher on my list of priorities.
As a full-time master’s student, there is always something more important than time out. Project work to complete, essays to write, articles to read, emails to answer, meetings to attend. And that’s before my home life comes into the equation. It is so, so easy to get caught up in the stress of my degree and the wear-and-tear of life in general, that I often forget to take time for me. I guess that’s where meditation comes in, and why it’s so effective for people living in our fast-paced, demanding world.
The instructions on the audio clip were easy to follow and extremely soothing, leaving ample time for me to work through the exercises. Ten minutes passed faster than I’d expected, and before I knew it I was being told to stretch out and open my eyes.
My day had only been put on hold for the briefest amount of time, but my ‘headspace’ felt so much clearer, my anxieties lessened.
There was no doubt that I benefitted from taking 10.
I’m going to be completing the rest of the challenge over the next few days, and I’ll check back in when I do. If you feel like trying it for yourself, you can find out more here.
Photo credit: burningnightscrps.org