A Little Insight Leads to a Happy Mind
I have been using Insight Timer to meditate for 5 years now.
I have always been the laid-back sometimes “hippy” type and did meditations off and on for quite a long time. Probably since high school. But never anything consistently. As I got older and had kids I found my typical insomnia compounded by midnight feedings and diaper changes. Talking to doctors and discovering that it was not, in fact, normal to take 2-3 hours to fall asleep I was prescribed Ambien. Thankfully I didn’t have any weird experiences with it but it started to leave me so drowsy in the mornings I would miss my alarms and/or couldn’t function. So I rediscovered meditation and the benefits it has for not only stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which I have, but also for falling and staying asleep. I found Insight Timer a little over 5 years ago and started using meditation to relax and sleep.
5 Years Ago
I would often Set my timer and sit for 10-15 minutes when I had a break from the kids. At night I could set a timer, and walk in patterns carrying a cranky baby around my room. Once I saw that I could earn little stars for meditating consistently, it motivated me to keep using it. It was SO simple, and really a meaningless thing, but on nights I just couldn’t fall asleep, what harm could it do? Plus it got me one step closer to that next star. I have a gap in between my stats of total meditations completed and those completed consecutively as when I started I did not use it every night. That soon changed.
What Meditation is NOT
Believe it or not, meditation is for anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Your mind does not have to already be disciplined. “Thinking too much” is one of the top excuses for people to not meditate. Meditation is actually great for the “monkey mind”. There is no punishment for getting off focus in meditation, there is simply recentering once you realize you ARE off topic. It’s great brain training. You don’t have to worry about doing meditation “right”. Contrary to popular belief one does not have to sit still, nor have hours a day to devote to it. You don’t have to sit in an uncomfortable position, you don’t have to be Buddhist, nor devote years to learning it. It is simply something you do. Whether it is for 2 minutes on the couch with the kids running wild, or for hours at a specialized meditation retreat. It’s not for the elite or privileged. It isn’t just for adults either. Studies have shown that replacing detention in schools with meditation session has improved student performance.
Choices, choices, choices…
5 years later and 8 Million people who use apps to meditate use Insight Timer. 63% of time spent using meditation apps is spent using Insight Timer specifically. Why? The choices. There are over 20,000 different guided meditations available for free. Completely free. Plus the timer for non-guided meditations. This, before recent updates, was incredibly overwhelming. Now, it is easy to navigate and find guided meditations. I navigate based on how they are rated by my peers, by topic, by language, by type and more. It’s easy to narrow down what you are looking for or needing and find a guided meditation that is perfect for you. This does not mean you’ll like ever meditation you widdle down to, but I can almost guarantee that you will find at least one that works for you. It has yet to fail me.
I use meditation to help with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and energy work. That isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that, but it’s beneficial for me. And I have a saved set of favorite meditations for any reason I need. My two older boys have always had trouble with nightmares, night terrors, and getting to sleep as well, so I soon started using it for them too.
Teachers and Beginners
As I have meditated throughout the years I have come to find that I have certain teachers that I like. I like their formats, their voices, their use of background music or not. I also find that once I listen to one that helped to get me to sleep for a while, it will stop being as effective. So I have to switch it up. This leads to new discoveries and new meditations from old favorite teachers. Have you never meditated a day in your life? No worries. There is a whole section dedicated to beginners. When I first started I was working hard on controlling my “monkey mind” and using the simple timer has helped with that, though I fit in better with the meditations that just have you listen and it’s okay if you drift some.
Kids cannot calm down before bed? Mine never can. So I starting going to the kid’s section and putting on a kid’s sleep meditation. Most of them are cute, fun and fantastical stories that keep them interested but are also paired with calming music, sounds, and themes. Insight timer has them slumbering in no time. I actually intend to start creating my own meditations as well. When I have the *snort* “time”! LOL, One day… In the meantime, I am 1,993 consecutive meditation sessions and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
If you upgrade to become a premium member you get benefits like access full courses on various topics, offline access to your favorite meditations and the ability to stop, rewind, and fast forward your favorite meditations. I cannot afford it quite yet, but I’m itching to upgrade as I’ve had my eye on some of the great courses available from my favorite teachers.
The benefits of meditation have long been proven over and over. You can really meditate anytime and anywhere, even if it’s just a short 1-minutes break. It has been proven to help improve sleep, control anxiety, lower blood pressure, help emotional well-being, improve attention span, and so much more. I consider it an accomplishment every time I fall asleep before the ending of my sleep meditation. That is a HUGE win! I love to get moving with a walk, yoga, or Tai Chi meditation. I find repeated mantras or even saying a prayer over and over helps focus and manifest towards my goals. It is also the most beneficial to “monkey mind”. All you need is a quiet space (this is relative. I’m a single mom with 3 kids, so it’s never quiet), deep and relaxed breathing, a comfortable position, and a snippet of time of focused attention. The Mayo Clinic says that is has been shown to help with symptoms of cancer, IBS, and heart disease. If nothing else you’ll gain some insight, have a clearer more focused mind and stay calmer throughout the day. Even if you’re a single mother like me. I often need to stop and take a short break to recenter myself so I don’t scream at the kids misbehaving. So I highly recommend giving Insight Timer and meditation a try. It has been a life changer for me.