Spoiler: I wish it were that easy.
I read up on the benefits of meditating, I downloaded an app to help me do it, I predicted that it would be a doddle. Guess what, it wasn't.
There are countless benefits associated with quieting the mind, if even for ten minutes a day. Meditating is said to reduce anxiety, improve attention span, combat stress, and decrease blood pressure among many other pros.
As a freelance writer constantly preoccupied with tasks, deadlines, pitches, ideas (and you know, trying to have some form of a life away from my laptop) my brain was starting to feel like an over-used storage unit - and nothing was in the place I had left it.
In a bid to restore some mental clarity, meditation seemed like a one-stop-shop for a more compartmentally organised brain.
Here's how I fared:
I downloaded the Headspace app. When it prompted me to log in to my existing account, I remembered that, oops, I had already tried to zen-ify myself by meditating once before. Hmmm.
I started my ten minute guided meditation and within say, two minutes, I ...... fell asleep.
I awoke, an hour later, hungrier and groggier than I'd ever been, ate half a tub of hummus while contemplating life, cursing the Headspace app and the British man's calming voice for lulling me into a false state of security.
...I forgot to meditate. Not good.
I managed about eight minutes of the ten minute guided segment. While my eyes were technically closed, I wasn't really relaxing (admittedly I was thinking about dinner) and hit stop on the app before I could make it over the mental hurdle holding me back.
On this day, I rediscovered SWIMMING! I recently joined a new gym that has a pool, and though I'd never been one for doing countless lengths of front crawl, something spurred me to try it again.
Moments in, I couldn't believe the sense of calmness that came by moving at my own pace (I'm confined to the slow lane for now with my rookie strokes). With each synchronised movement of my arms and legs, ensuring my breath was in tune with the physical rhythm, I felt more in control of my thoughts than ever before.
Headspace? The app was already a distant memory by now. I couldn't wait to get to the pool and let my worries float away buoyantly. While bobbing along in my swimsuit (which has seen more action this past week than it did in years) I've found an activity that's as restorative as it is engaging.
Here's the crunch: if I tell my mind it has to do something, like meditate, it will instantly rebel. My brain already feels like a hamster wheel, processing an endless cycle of thoughts every day, and meditating quickly became another to-do item and a chore.
I think it's ironic that my lack of prowess as a swimmer has limited me to the slow lane. It feels fitting that the only real break in my day now comes when I step out of the so-called fast lane (aka life) and just remember to breathe, and take each stroke one at a time.