What 301 days in a row of mediation has done for me and my dog
1. Became aware of anxiety levels
As a high performer, an entrepreneur, an athlete, you learn to handle a lot coming at you. It becomes normal. I was that person. I knew I was dealing with a certain level of anxiety but I had no idea how deep it ran.
2 days, 10 day, even 30 days didn't reveal it to me. But after hitting 3 months, 5 months... now 10 months I've become aware of anxiety IN THE MOMENT it starts to come on. I've realized how often I was in anxiety and didn't even realize it before my consistent mediation practice.
2. Realized there was something to all of this hoohaw about breath work
Honestly I woke up and realized how often I was actually holding my breath. My practice breathing consistently made me aware of those times where I was going into anxiety but didn't realize. Flight or fight response turned to freeze response. Either response found me holding my breath unconsciously.
The consistent practice of becoming aware of my breathing with meditation woke me up to a much more relaxed state. When I was in a relaxed state, my dog picked up on it. My high strung dog started picking up on it and state of mind changed for him too.
3. Realized I was filling my schedule completely full unnecessarily
The state of anxiety is practiced. It's hard to have anxiety when you actually practice a resting state. We're told to hustle, hustle, hustle, keep going. Fit it all in. It becomes so normal that we have no idea what it's like to be in a relaxed state. We train ourselves to stay overly busy to feel normal, to feel like we're accomplishing important things.
301 day in I say no more often. I don't sign up for things that are a waste of time and keep me busy from the moment I'm out of bed in the morning until dropping back into bed completely exhausted, but not able to sleep because I didn't get all the things I wanted/needed done.
I was saying yes to everything to avoid the important things. Meditation brought awareness to what I was saying yes to, but more importantly why I was saying yes to everything and ignoring the real things I want to accomplish.
4. Enhances self-awareness
Waking up to times I was holding my breath. Realizing how much time I was scrolling social media and working myself up over comparison. Finding myself irritated over little things that really don't matter to avoid actually becoming the person I really wanted to be out of habit. Breaking the habit of being myself and instead consciously choosing to be the person I'd defined as my future self, changed everything.
5. Lengthens attention span
When my mind was busy running every which way, my attention was a mess. I couldn't remember what someone told me 2 seconds ago. 301 days of mediation in row, I find my attention span increased exponentially.
My irritation level went down. I find myself kinder to people, to my dog, to myself.
7. Stopped scrolling social media
I'd rather get my mediation time in when I wake up in the morning then lay in bed for 10, 20, 30 minutes scrolling social media. My mind is clearer. I don't start the day anxious about politics, climate change or what someone else is doing or saying.
8. Improved sleep
I go to bed with a clearer mind. I have gratitude and I say 3 things that went right today. I do a quick breathing session. If I do happen to wake up at 3 am, I'm no longer tossing and turning for hours without sleep. I head into a short mediation, breath, tell myself I'm okay, I'm safe in this moment and my GPS app tells me I go into deep sleep right after that.
9. My dog is calmer and happier
My dog lives all of these moments with me. Dogs pick up on energy before they pick up on anything else. He's dropped the practice of anxiety right along side of me. He also exercises with me every day.
10. I have found space for exercise instead of skipping it because I'm too busy
I used to fill my schedule with frenzied work. Now I can concentrate, do what's important first and truly feel the space to exercise every day. The 20 minute (mine is usually 45 minutes) walk with my dog in the Calming the Chaos Experiment I've created was a game changer.