LSD Experiment #1: Update

27. October 2015

My first week back in the meditation game went as you might have expected – perfectly. I achieved enlightenment after the first session and only left my state of Nirvana to pound out this blog post. Watch out Dali Lama, Markie’s on the prowl!

Sorry for wasting your time with that nonsense. I haven’t blogged for a while and I’m feeling a little nutty. In all seriousness, I’m really happy with how the first week went. I think a little background information on the Headspace app could be beneficial before going much further. To provide motivation and direction for the meditation, Andy breaks the app down into packs (you can think of them as themes). I decided that the Anxiety pack sounded the most appealing of the packs I hadn’t yet tried. These sessions are based on a technique called noting. As you focus on your breathing, any distraction is to be noted as thinking or feeling and if it is pleasant or unpleasant. Once the note is made, you shift your focus back to the breath. Each session lasts 15-20 minutes.

At this point, I’d like to return to the desired results I mentioned in the last post. Please keep in mind that we’re only a week into the experiment. Any results or lack thereof should be taken with an open mind, a good attitude, and a grain of salt.

Focus on Work-related Tasks

I had an extremely productive and distraction-free week at work. I’d love to attribute this feat entirely to getting back on the meditation train, but that would just be plain silly. In reality, last week was one of the busier weeks I’ve had in recent memory. Though I’m sure that priming my mind each morning supported my ability to focus, I truly felt too busy during the work day to invest any time in external distractions.

Sleep Quality

Like most weeks, I slept great some nights and not-so-great others. On the bad nights, thoughts that I gave attention to immediately before going to bed caused my mind to be restless. The subject of those thoughts included my fantasy football team (happened twice this past week – you don’t have to tell me it’s pathetic) and a project at work (slightly less pathetic). One of my motivations for meditating is getting my mind trained to a point where I can deliberately choose which thoughts deserve my attention.

Unrelated to meditation, but definitely an outcome of taking the time to evaluate my lifestyle habits, I’m going to try to avoid using any technology within thirty minutes of bed time.

Mental Performance

The cleanest and most consistent way for me to evaluate my ability to think critically is by evaluating the quality of my writing and the ease in which I’m able to produce it. This is my first post since I started meditating and I’m decently satisfied with the way it’s turned out (please keep any insults to yourself at this time). The ease of writing it though… oh, baby. I’m embarrassed to state the amount of time it took me to write this. If this meditation business doesn’t start working its magic soon, I’m switching to Adderall.

Reacting to Stress and Anxiety

My stress and anxiety levels have been fairly low this past week (as they usually are – my life is easy-peasy). Even so, I specifically documented two situations in which I snapped at co-workers on the phone due to feeling stressed. I’m making a concentrated effort to recall the Anxiety pack training when I feel my stress levels begin to rise. I’m particularly fond of, and want to apply in my daily life, the following piece of encouragement that Andy repeatedly gives:

When you notice that anxiety is present in the mind, simply smile at it and move on.

Stress and anxiety aren’t a problem in and of themselves. The problem comes with how we deal with them. I’m going to be constantly reminding myself of this in the coming weeks.

Week One Recap

I’m extremely pleased with how the meditation sessions themselves have gone and how they’ve affected my daily life. I may feel different in a three weeks, but at this point I cannot think of a better way to spend the first twenty minutes of my day. I hope and expect the benefits of the mental exercises to increase exponentially week after week.

Oh yeah – I’ve got another post coming later this week unrelated to LSD Experiments.

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