This week I am trying out meditation. The Science of Well-being course I'm taking recommends trying out one or two new habits each week, and this week it's meditation.
The benefits of meditation are apparently many. Headspace has a nice, clear post on the benefits. Among them are stress relief, improved mood, and increased focus. I've heard it recommended so many times now that I'm finally ready to try it, though I never thought I would do it.
I decided to make it easy and signed up for an app, Headspace, and started their beginner course. I followed the app's suggestion to get a reminder every day at 8 AM. So far, it's been easy. I can see myself sticking to this. You can choose for each session be three or five minutes. I've been doing three minute sessions. I think I feel a little calmer after each three minute session. The narrator has a really pleasant, calming voice, and I’m finding I actually enjoy those three minutes of stillness in the morning.
Tools that guide you in practicing a small habit every day, and tracking your completion rate, are a great help in installing habits. I’ve found success with a 7-minute workout app called Seven (36 days in a row until I broke my streak yesterday), and with a smart scale (I’ve weighed in 72 days in a row). So if meditation is helpful to me, I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to make it stick using Headspace or a similar service.
This seems worth trying, at least for a week. A week is a good trial period. Enough to let you try it on, but not so long that it seems like an intimidating commitment. After a week, there's no telling what it might grow into. That's what I love about small habits. They're easy and non-intimidating at first, but they can grow into surprisingly impressive routines.