Author Topic: Anyone meditate and find it useful?  (Read 2921 times)

pudding

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Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« on: May 20, 2019, 06:21:35 PM »
Do you meditate or just have some other way of chilling your brain out on a regular basis?

There was once a time when I used to be a bit more 'relaxed' about things than I am nowadays... but then again I was younger and different priorities etc...

Now I'm 57. But funny thing is I used to work with a guy who was in his 50's back when I was about 28.  He used to be pissed off at everything, being in the passenger seat of his car was hilarious to me then as he seemed to be upset with everyone on the road and just seemed to be this frustrated square old dude who hated his life.

Fast forward to now and I was chatting to a friend who's around my age, we both work in the trades.  I was saying how I thought things have gone to shit nowadays and maybe it was since weed got legalized here in Canada and the percentage of the people stoned at one time had reached a critical mass.

He said, "no, it's because you're old"   He then told me about how he had given some younger trades people crap for doing something wrong, then later overheard them saying "it's because he's in his 50's, they get that"     ;) LOL....

It sort of stopped me in my tracks, and I remembered instantly how I'd thought my work buddy of 30 years ago was a nut bar..... but... F***  I'm starting to sound a lot like him! 

Shit accumulates as you get older, can't get away from that.  But how to relaxicate a bit more than now??? Shouldn't be too difficult to take stress level from say an 8 on a 1 to 10 scale, and take it down to say a 6 or 6.5

I quit drinking 5 weeks ago as it was this 'fake' relaxation thing that I'd got going on and became an everynight habit to be somewhat buzzed and wake up groggy.

I don't smoke weed as it makes my thoughts rev up to level 10...

I think if I just did some deep breathing for literally 5 minutes 2x a day I'd take things down a notch or two.

I've doing hot yoga and that's helped, went boxing a couple of times that certainly helped.


Dr Kidstache

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 09:30:05 PM »
"Anyone mediate and find it useful?"

Yes.

Adam Zapple

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 09:35:11 PM »
I promise you if you try it for 10 minutes a day for 30 days you will see your life and the world differently.  I never thought I was a meditation kind of guy but I tried it and it was great.  It helps me gain perspective.  I've been slacking lately and need to get back to it.

Johnez

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 12:44:27 AM »
I've tried several times. For something so seemingly simple, I find it terribly difficult. Perhaps I'll try again when the kids aren't reaching for any and every thing. The inability to relax is really affecting my mental health. Dental as well.

ElleFiji

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 03:54:27 AM »
Luckily I'm not in my grumpy old man years yet, but yes, I find meditation extremely helpful!

@Johnez, if you look I to other kinds of meditation, you might find one that you can do around kids. Silently repeating a mantra, writing out a mantra repeatedly, colouring a gentle pattern or tracing a meditation path with a finger are some that might work.

Zola.

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 05:45:18 AM »
I should do it more, but I only do it when I start to feel stressed, it clears the mind a bit!

If you have no meditation experience, then you should really do a guided meditation.... i.e. with a narrator. I like guided meditation via apps on the phone.

One called "Lets meditate" is good and it's free.

I-Ranger

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2019, 07:20:58 AM »
I have absolutely found meditation useful. It trains you to view your thoughts and emotions objectively, and over time they have less and less of an ability to take you over and cause stress, anger, fear, etc. The result is that you gradually become  a happier person. After years of anxiety and depression, I shudder to think where I'd be if I hadn't become a meditator.

It's simple to learn, only takes 15-20 minutes a day, and it's free. Considering the benefits you can reap from regular practice, it's about as Mustachian of a thing as there is.

Chranstronaut

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2019, 07:57:12 AM »
I practice deep breathing without closing my eyes throughout the day at work and find it very helpful for reducing stress and physical tension.  I also find sitting quietly alone outside is very calming and helps me return to a state of focus.

I just read Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks.  I highly recommend it if you can find it at the library and are interested in meditation (or chronic pain).  The first half is mostly about his chronic pain and medical tests and the second half is about his journey through mediation. He follows a particularly assiduous method (vipassana), but even basic meditation at home was helpful to him at the start.

DiamondIce

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2019, 08:19:26 AM »
You might not like my view, but here it is :)

Try not to make relaxing too much of a priority. The problem with alcohol and other substances is it trains you to want total control over feeling good as much as possible. It is kind of like buying stuff on steriods. The trick is to give up on feeling good and focus on other things that are more meaningful for a good long while. Happiness is more a byproduct anyway.

So meditation, yoga, exercise are all awesome. Paradoxically the true purpose of meditation and yoga is not to relax, but to be more equanimous with what ever is going on in your body or perception. Equanimous, accepting all the pain, tension, unhelpful thoughts, etc.exactly as they are. By accepting them, these things come and go on their own, and you live more free. It has absolutely nothing to do with "getting rid" of stress or tension. At least not while you do the practice itself. These things tend to come more as a byproduct later.

So find something meaningful, consistent with your own core values, to emphasize and pursue as a priority. For instance with these practices, make being present, seeing clearly, developing insight into yourself, or practicing kindness to yourself as the main goals.





« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 08:22:02 AM by DiamondIce »

MadBikePoet

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2019, 08:38:13 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wirV265ZYSw
How To Meditate - The No Bullshit Guide to Meditation

Keep doing the things you already found that help!

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 09:06:11 AM »
Do you meditate or just have some other way of chilling your brain out on a regular basis?

I think if I just did some deep breathing for literally 5 minutes 2x a day I'd take things down a notch or two.

I've doing hot yoga and that's helped, went boxing a couple of times that certainly helped.

As a FIREee  who lives life  at a remove most of my waking hours are spent in reverie (pleasant daydreaming) or meditating (thinking deeply and carefully).

 I don't need to do either for an escapist purpose or calming effect.

I don't chant.

The subject matter is not religious.

I think calm reflection is useful  because  it is alleviative of modernity's many stresses.


pigpen

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 09:14:01 AM »
You might not like my view, but here it is :)

Try not to make relaxing too much of a priority. The problem with alcohol and other substances is it trains you to want total control over feeling good as much as possible. It is kind of like buying stuff on steriods. The trick is to give up on feeling good and focus on other things that are more meaningful for a good long while. Happiness is more a byproduct anyway.

So meditation, yoga, exercise are all awesome. Paradoxically the true purpose of meditation and yoga is not to relax, but to be more equanimous with what ever is going on in your body or perception. Equanimous, accepting all the pain, tension, unhelpful thoughts, etc.exactly as they are. By accepting them, these things come and go on their own, and you live more free. It has absolutely nothing to do with "getting rid" of stress or tension. At least not while you do the practice itself. These things tend to come more as a byproduct later.

So find something meaningful, consistent with your own core values, to emphasize and pursue as a priority. For instance with these practices, make being present, seeing clearly, developing insight into yourself, or practicing kindness to yourself as the main goals.

Totally agree with this. I meditate and have found it life-changing. As the post above suggests, the act of meditating itself is often not relaxing at all, but it teaches you a type of awareness that helps you become a more relaxed person overall. To compare it to running (which I like too), running kind of sucks when you're chugging up a hill in the heat, but if you do it regularly, it trains your body so that it functions better during the 99% of the time that you're not running.

To go back to meditation, here's a made-up work example that everyone has some equivalent of:

Me, before meditation:

Co-worker says, "Hand me that wrench, champ."
I think, "Champ? Pretty condescending little POS. Guy's been doing this for like 2 years, and he's talking to ME like that. Hell, the way (BOSS) runs things, kid's probably already making what it took me 10 years to get to. I can't stand this place. Why didn't I leave when I had the chance to do ____________ instead? Always ends up that way because I'm dumb/immigrants/management/my mother/I'm fat/can't make decisions/should have joined the army/etc."

Result -- I'm angry, depressed, etc.

Me, after meditation:
Co-worker says, "Hand me that wrench, champ."
I think, "Champ? Pretty condescending...huh -- surge of anger, heart beating faster. Let that thought go for a second and take a breath. Oh yeah, forgot I told him about winning the state championship in '94. Good guy." OR "Guy's a d***, but I already knew that. Moving on..."

Result: No anger, depression. Maybe even a good feeling.

GuitarStv

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 09:14:41 AM »
I used to do this a couple times a week and found it helpful.  Now I go for 4-6 hour bike rides on the weekend, most of the time in the middle of nowhere with nothing and no-one but my own thoughts to keep me company.  That seems to fulfill the same purpose.

sideHustler

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 09:21:36 AM »
Back when I had a horrible job, I used to meditate every morning to mentally prepare myself for working with my boss. It only took 5 minutes, but it was something.

The meditation helped, but what really did the trick was finding another job.

cats

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 10:05:33 AM »
I recently did a monthlong daily guided meditation and I do think it did a lot for my mood and also the quality of my sleep.  Since then I have not been doing daily meditation but I do still do the guided meditations a couple of times a week and I think it is good for me.  I find especially on days where I am super tired, 15 minutes of the guided meditation really helps me to feel more rested.  I guess how some people are able to take a 15-20 minute power nap.

I agree with what some of the other posters have said, specifically that if there is something really shitty going on in your life, meditation is not going to fix it alone (though it may help you gather your energy enough to work on fixing the problem) or that other activities (long hikes, etc) may provide a similar mental benefit.  I know when I was younger I used to have a much easier time making time for long solo hikes, or going to a church and spending time there in meditative prayer (either on my own or as part of a group), but now I have a young child and a full-time job and it's much harder to carve out time for those things so meditation is a more manageable option.  I hope someday to get back to some of those other activities!

JohannaP

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2019, 10:30:58 AM »
I have a bit of practical experience in this area. My job stress job is very high stress, but I love it.  Similar to OP I have found it more difficult to avoid burnout as I have aged.  Meditation has helped quite a bit.

I agree guided meditation is the easiest for those who are starting out.  My vote for an app goes to Insight Timer, it is free and has a ton of guided mediations.  I think it is helpful to really do it for multiple consecutive days. 

Start small and build (ie start 5-10 minutes). 

Something someone once told me that helped a lot was the goal of mediation is not to suppress your thoughts but to learn to refocus your thoughts without getting upset/involved with them.  It will help you because the next time you find yourself in a ridiculous situation at work you will be able to refocus your mind and not go on a rage tirade because a coworker is being unreasonable etc. 

Good Luck!

koshtra

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2019, 11:15:47 AM »
The bit of advice I have is that the easier you find meditation, the less good it will do you. If you wander directly off to a state of bliss, what you're actually doing is taking a nap. (An admirable thing to do, but different from meditation.) If it's REALLY HARD and you can't focus and your mind won't settle at all and it makes you feel panicky and weird... then you're getting somewhere.

The point is not to zone out: the point is to actually find out what your mind does all day, and get some rudimentary control over it. Which is not comfortable, and not easy.

pudding

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2019, 10:05:08 AM »
You might not like my view, but here it is :)

Try not to make relaxing too much of a priority. The problem with alcohol and other substances is it trains you to want total control over feeling good as much as possible. It is kind of like buying stuff on steriods. The trick is to give up on feeling good and focus on other things that are more meaningful for a good long while. Happiness is more a byproduct anyway.

So meditation, yoga, exercise are all awesome. Paradoxically the true purpose of meditation and yoga is not to relax, but to be more equanimous with what ever is going on in your body or perception. Equanimous, accepting all the pain, tension, unhelpful thoughts, etc.exactly as they are. By accepting them, these things come and go on their own, and you live more free. It has absolutely nothing to do with "getting rid" of stress or tension. At least not while you do the practice itself. These things tend to come more as a byproduct later.

So find something meaningful, consistent with your own core values, to emphasize and pursue as a priority. For instance with these practices, make being present, seeing clearly, developing insight into yourself, or practicing kindness to yourself as the main goals.


Yes, on not making being relaxed too much of a priority.

For example;  I recently took a boxing class and I was chatting with the instructor.  He was saying how it was his opinion that the  'fight or flight' reflex that we as humans have will have 2 different outcomes in your body depending on if you 'fight' or 'flight' aka run away.

He gave an example of some animal or other that has to fight over a rock for mating rights, the winner doing well and the loser goes off an dies somewhere.

Though it might be just bro science, it did hit a chord with me as I kind of feel like I've been conditioned by what I've read/heard out there in the wide world that to sit and somehow 'overcome stress' is the way to do it.

When in my own life I've always done way better when I put on my gloves and get down to it.

sui generis

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2019, 05:48:32 PM »
I do find it useful, although it hasn't been life changing for me, as it has been for other posters here.  I do agree, however, that it's not the meditation that's relaxing, but the way it can help you be more equanimous in the rest of life.

You do have to really make it a habit and do it for longer than a couple weeks to see the benefit.  I started with 10 minutes per session and worked up to 20 and committed to doing 100 straight days before I made any judgments on effectiveness.  I have since not been as dedicated (to my detriment and I definitely want to get back on the wagon) and I also was interested in getting to longer time periods (I'm RE, so *theoretically* I have time to do 45+/- minute sessions!)

Two things that helped me:
-I know they say the habit is important, so even 1 or 2 minutes is good so long as you do it each day. Buuuutttt....I really would encourage you to do at least an amount of time where you start wondering if the timer stopped working!  For me, that was at least like 6-8 minutes.  You have to face that discomfort head on and learn to work with that and accept it. 
-you might have often heard that you want to "clear your thoughts" or try not to think.  To my understanding, that's not quite right.  You can't really make your monkey brain stop thinking.  But you can get some mental distance between your monkey brain doing that and you observing that it is doing that in a neutral and non-judgmental way (which can have the benefit of muting or quietening it).

3rd bonus thing that might help:
-They do say it's a "practice" for a reason.  It's not something you're gonna be good at right away.  This still didn't quite help me because I still want to be good at things right away, so I had to frame it more that "being good at it" was having the chance to correct myself a lot.  To really practice correcting myself.  To notice myself thinking/the monkey brain.  If that wasn't happening a lot during my 20 minutes, I didn't get much practice, so it was actually not as good a session as others where my monkey brain wasn't more wild.  Now, I don't think a meditation master would really agree with me on which session is "better" or "worse" but that framing helped me be more open and less frustrated on days where I couldn't get that distance from my own thinking and not end up framing it as a failure of a session. 

Spud

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2019, 10:59:24 PM »
I don't do formal meditation but I actively practice being present and mindful when doing other things. For example, walking, driving, washing dishes by hand, mowing the lawn, lifting weights, stretching (Kit Laughlin not yoga) and this has done wonders for me.

The best book I have ever read on this kind of thing is The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner.

It's really short and simple, and doesn't tell you anything you don't already know, but the way it packages everything really helped me internalise a few basic concepts (equanimity being main one) and actually apply them in my day to day life. It's no actually about meditation or any religious stuff. It simply highlights how anxious and impatient we are these days, how we can't concentrate and how we want instant results in everything we do. Nobody wants to put the work in. Yet as soon as you let go of all that and focus exclusively on the on the Process (read Practice) of whatever it is you're doing, and ignore your mind's demand for results, ironically the results come to you much quicker, because you're not so attached to them.

----

On a marginally different note, a concept that I have finally learned, that applies to all areas of life, which stems from this in some way is that you can't sell the basics. You can't market the fundamentals.

What people typically do in an area of life is they position themselves as experts and then sell you overly complex products and programmes that allegedly contain the secret ingredient that you've been missing. The one or two things that have been holding you back will unlock your progress to success, but only if you're willing to pay for them.

For a while I used the Headspace meditation app, but only the free content. Once I'd got the hang of that, I looked at the premium content. They offered meditation to relax, meditation for school, for work, for stress, for pain, empathy, understanding, happiness, contentment, improved sports performance, better sleep. You name it, there was a meditation for whatever you needed. Clearly I needed to sign up!

I didn't. Because I'm a hardcore mustachian with some sense. I remembered, the free content has already given me everything I need to know to do this for a lifetime. All I'll be paying for is irrelevant extras. HERE is a great article on this from Lyle McDonald. He's a writer and a coach that helps athletes and bodybuilders with diets and weight training programs. That might sound off putting to some of you, but that's not what this article is about. It's about how you just need to consistently apply (that means actually DO) the basics/fundamentals over time, and not keep searching for more or better information. I read this once a week on my lunch hour to keep this at the forefront of my mind.

I'd encourage you to do the same with meditation. If you can build up to doing 10 minutes of simple breathing meditation every single day for the rest of your life, that will do you more good than believing you need the advice of a guru, or an app with premium content or to attend some kind of advance practitioners course.

That YouTube video that MadBikePoet linked to above is pure gold. It's completely free and more than enough to get you started. You don't need any more information. You need to meditate.


Spud

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2019, 11:18:00 PM »
The bit of advice I have is that the easier you find meditation, the less good it will do you. If you wander directly off to a state of bliss, what you're actually doing is taking a nap. (An admirable thing to do, but different from meditation.) If it's REALLY HARD and you can't focus and your mind won't settle at all and it makes you feel panicky and weird... then you're getting somewhere.

The point is not to zone out: the point is to actually find out what your mind does all day, and get some rudimentary control over it. Which is not comfortable, and not easy.

Our experiences of meditation are very different. In the not too distant past, when meditating I'd wander of into a state of bliss and enter some kind of light sleep for about 15 to 20 minutes. There is nothing wrong with that. I'd entered a state of "non-resistance". I didn't resist the sleep when it came. Trying to stop from falling asleep would be fighting, straining, resisting. That's the reverse of what you want to be doing.

As my body relaxes, it was simply taking the opportunity for sleep because it was needed. It provided me with a strong indication that I wasn't getting enough quality sleep at night, so I've taken steps to rectify that.

One of the things I found stifling when trying to learn about meditation at first was reading about do's and don't's (mostly don'ts) that were irrelevant. Don't fall asleep. Don't think. Don't sit on the floor, sit on a cushion instead. Not any old cushion, a meditation cushion. Don't sit on a cushion, sit on a chair. It has to be a firm chair. Don't sit down, stand up. Don't stand up, lie down. Don't lie down, you'll fall asleep.

All of it was bullshit that prevented me from actually getting started. I found that for me, personally, lying on the floor with no cushions or blankets, flat on my back, was the only way I could actually relax, focus and thus progress. Thing is, if you look at any meditation website, you won't find that advice.

spoonman

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2019, 03:31:20 PM »
I meditate for at least 10 minutes on a daily basis.  The mindfulness meditation that I've been practicing has been benefitial to me in several ways.  I think the biggest benefit is the ability to just calm down a bit when emotions run amuck, especially in the middle of the night when I wake up and have trouble going back to sleep.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Anyone meditate and find it useful?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2019, 05:11:47 AM »
I have suffered from high blood pressure, a lot of anxiety and stress and was always multitasking everything. I even managed to get stressed out by my time-off activities. I also tend to get agitated by news events and things that happen, like what you say people who get older do. Therefore I have decided to give meditation a chance, because it is supposed to be stress reducing.

I am currently in the third week of following the free mindfulness against stress course:
https://palousemindfulness.com/

I have been reading all the materials for the first 3 weeks (and doing all the excercises) and they all say that meditation, being mindful and being kind will change the neural pathways in your brain. After 8 weeks of doing this course, your brain will be altered for the better. Your thoughts will not control you, but your will be more in control of them. So I really hope this will have a good effect on me.

I really feel the need to change my brain, and my blood pressure, because it was becoming very unhealthy.