Meditation, mindfulness, focused breathing; call it what you will, but I've found it to have an awesome effect on my mental approach to my day and the way I feel in general. This is a subject that I've started to pursue learning more about now that I've tried it out for several days, but like I said in my previous post, I am a novice at best when it comes to meditating. As a caveat to that, I mentioned in my post about running unplugged that I've found a correlation between the mindset that I aim for when meditating and the mindset that I reach when I'm out on a nice, long run and can just zone out, focusing on my breathing and my the way my body feels, if I'm thinking about anything at all. Thinking about it further, it is very similar since I end up counting my breaths in rhythm with my steps and so everything is kind of synced up.
Despite the similarities, it is a different animal to meditate in the morning and I get a different benefit from it.
What spurred me most towards meditating was an episode of The Learning Leader Show that I was editing where a man by the name of Ben Greenfield was the guest. His focus was really on mindfulness of your body and he talked about just lying in bed and feeling the bedding against your skin and thinking about how that felt and things of that nature. Granted, a bunch of the guests have been advocates for meditating, but this one resonated with me the most as a starting point.
With that in mind, my meditation consists of sitting comfortably on the floor with my back as straight as possible. I alternate between focusing on breathing for different counts and focusing on things I feel in contact: feet and ankles touching the floor, my legs seat on the floor, and my arms against my legs. I also try to feel my shirt against my body or my watch on my wrist, things like that. I've also tried focusing on white noise like my bathroom fan. I can never stay on one of those so I end up bouncing around, but it does give me some options.
I did a bit of reading on meditation and one of the big things I kept seeing through online resources - and through talking to my sister who knows far better what she's talking about than I - was to not judge your thoughts or judge yourself when your mind does inevitably wander. My goal is to empty my mind and zone out, but I end up with thoughts about work, exercise, people, food, coffee, and what have you, and that's perfectly fine, it's just a prompt to return your focus to breathing or feeling or hearing.
That reduced judgment of my thoughts is one of the things that I see spreading into my mental approach to the rest of my day. It helps me stay focused on the things I need to get done, but when I start doing something less important, it's not a big deal, just a focusing point to get back to the task at hand. I also feel generally more level and that comes back to another thing that Ben Greenfield talked about which was the affluence of time. Taking 5 minutes first thing in the morning to literally sit in silence and try to relax completely has a vastly different effect on the rest of the day than flying out of bed and rushing around to get 15 things done before getting out the door.
I don't have the best grasp on what I'm doing, but it's an interesting process to experience and learn about and I recommend at least giving it a shot. You might feel like you're wasting your time, but I imagine you'll feel awesome after trying it out.