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Sleep Challenge Day 15 – Modern Meditation

🎯 Today’s Mission:

To successfully complete today’s mission:

  • ✅ Do 5-10 minutes of meditation before bed tonight.
  • Complete the form at the bottom of the page when done.

💡 More Info:

Meditation is quickly becoming one of the most popular and versatile ways to manage stress and take care of both your mental and physical wellbeing just about any time of the day.

Tonight, however, we will be using a very beginner-friendly method as a way to help you calm your mind and improve your sleep.

For just 5-10 minutes before going to sleep, pick one of the two meditation strategies below and give them a try.

🧘 What is meditation?

According to Wikipedia:

  • “Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.”

In the past, meditation has been typically practiced in a more religious or spiritual context.

However, it has since become much more mainstream and modernised in order to combat the stress and chaos of modern life.

Companies like Apple, Airbnb, AOL, Google, Goldman Sachs, HBO, Intel, Linkedin, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Twitter, and Yahoo! all have in-house meditation and mindfulness practices for their employees to benefit from.

As Google’s Head of Mindfulness (Chade-Meng Tan) says, “It’s become scientific, it has been demystified. It’s going to be seen as fitness for the mind.”

👍 The benefits of meditation:

The research on meditation and mindfulness is extensive.

Andy Puddicombe does a great job of inspiring you to see the benefits of meditation and mindfulness in his TED Talk: All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes.

According to Headspace’s List of Benefits, some of the well documented and scientifically proven benefits are:

  • Stress Less: Research suggests that in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs may help manage stress. In fact, a systematic review of 17 MBSR studies found the program to be effective in reducing psychological and physiological symptoms of stress.
  • Sleep Better: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials for insomnia found that eight weeks of in-person meditation training significantly improved total waking time and sleep quality in patients with insomnia.
  • Happier, Healthier Relationships: A study evaluating the benefits of an in-person mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program suggests that mindfulness enhances couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, closeness and acceptance of each other, while reducing relationship distress. In fact, three months after participating in the study, couples were still experiencing these improvements.
  • Manage Anxiety: Anxiety currently affects about one in fourteen people worldwide. That’s 7.3% of the total world population. A systematic review of in-person meditation training found that 69% of the studies analyzed showed meditation practice alleviated symptoms of anxiety.
  • Sharpen Concentration: Findings suggest that meditating for just four days is enough to improve novice meditators’ working memory, executive functions and their ability to process visual information.

Precision Nutrition also add in their “Good Stress, Bad Stress” article that it can help to rewire your brain to reduce your risk for anxiety and depression by improving:

  • Neurogenesis: The growth of new neural connections and brain cells.
  • Emotional regulation: In other words, your ability to manage your feelings.
  • Memory and recall.
  • Development of the brain’s gray matter: Even after only a few weeks.
  • Our ability to regulate our body clock.

And finally, Healthline also brings a few more points to the table such as that meditation can:

  • Enhance self-awareness.
  • Lengthen attention span.
  • Generate kindness.
  • Help fight addictions.
  • Help control pain.
  • Decrease blood pressure.

It’s clear that if we could package the benefits of what meditation provides into a pill or supplement, EVERYONE would want it!

It’s a good thing that you can get started with just a few minutes per day without any specialised equipment.

👪 Meditation for everyone:

At Sleekgeek, our mission is to inspire 1 million people to transform themselves and lead a better quality life.

That’s why we are taking on the challenge of making meditation and mindfulness easy to do.

We want to make it something that real, everyday people like you and us can benefit from. Such as a small do-able daily practice to help you find contentment, greater clarity, and improved feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Method 1: Do a body scan

If you’d like to do so some quick, easy, beginner-friendly meditation then doing a body scan is a great strategy to start with.

It’s simple enough to do without much instruction and interesting enough to keep you engaged in the process.

The body scan technique involves doing a mental scan of your body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

The goal is to notice any physical discomfort, tension, aches, or unusual sensations. Very often our mental and emotional stress can show up as physical symptoms without us realising it, even long after that stress has disappeared. By paying more attention to the physical sensations in your body, you can begin to work through both the physical tension as well as mental and emotional stress.

Here’s how you can give the body scan a try:

  • 1) Start sitting or lying down comfortably with your eyes open.
  • 2) Take a deep breath in through your nose and then slowly breathe out through your mouth, gently closing your eyes as you do so.
  • 3) Bring your attention to the very top of your head and mentally scan all the way down to your toes, almost like you’re a photocopier gently scanning the length of your body.
  • 4) Focus on each main body part for about 10-30 seconds, starting with your head, then your neck, then your shoulders, then your arms and your hands, then your chest and back, your stomach, your hips, your legs, your feet…
  • 5) Notice which body parts feel relaxed or tense, comfortable or uncomfortable.
  • 6) When you encounter areas of tension or discomfort, don’t fight it. Keep breathing gently in through your nose and out through your mouth while you focus your attention on that area.
  • 7) Visualise each body part relaxing more and more as you scan through it.
  • 8) If thoughts arise or you get distracted, take a deep breath in through your nose, breathe out slowly through your mouth, and bring your attention back to the area of your body where you last left off.

You can do this once for a total of 1-3 minutes or you can repeat the scan over and over again, slowing down on tense or uncomfortable areas, focusing on feeling more and more relaxed.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can even do it in reverse, beginning with your toes and working your way up to your head – this works especially well if you’re lying down and preparing to go to sleep.

Method 2: Focus on your breath

A more traditional style of meditation is the focused attention technique, where you use your breath as an object to focus your attention on.

Other than being a great meditation strategy, breathing exercises are also highly relaxing and have been proven to provide almost instant relief.

Here’s how you can give the focused attention technique a try:

  • 1) Get comfortable by either sitting or laying down, whatever seems the most convenient and relaxing.
  • 2) Set a timer for 5 minutes and then forget about it. Let the timer take care of you by keeping track of the time and announcing once your session is done.
  • 3) Close your eyes.
  • 4) Take a deep breath in through your nose, observing how the air flows into your body and pushes your belly out.
  • 5) Breath out through your mouth, observing how the air flows out of your body and your belly falls into a more relaxed position.
  • 6) On the next deep breath in, begin to count to 10. So that’s 1 in, 2 out, 3 in, 4 out… Observe each breath and focus on how the air flows in or out of your body.
  • 7) When you reach 10, start again at 1 and keep going until your 5-minute timer goes off.
  • 8) If you get distracted, start with the number that you left off with. Try to stay mindful and focused enough to notice when you reach 10 breaths and need to restart at 1 again. If you overcount or lose your place, it’s not the end of the world. Simply start back at 1 again.
  • 9) Allow your thoughts to come and go, kind of like they’re clouds drifting across the sky. There’s no need to chase them away or get annoyed with them, simply notice that they’re there and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  • 10) When your timer goes off, open your eyes, take 3 good deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to end off the session.

Notice how you feel physically and mentally after each session. Are you calmer and more relaxed? Do you feel different to when you started?

This exercise can be shortened to 1-minute session or lengthened into 10, 20, or even 30-minutes sessions. If you have a smartwatch, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, you can also pair these exercises with its built-in Stress Tracker feature.

Use meditation as a 🛠️ tool in your 🧰 toolbox:

If you’d like, meditation can be done as a proactive daily practice to help you stay in a state of calm and mindfulness – or get better sleep at night.

But it’s also extremely powerful and effective as an on-demand tool that you can call on whenever you feel stress or emotions start to overwhelm you.

The more tools that you can collect in your toolbox, the better you’ll be able to take on the challenges of life.

✅ Mission Accomplished?

Fill in the form below once you’re done to keep track of your progress.

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