Day 24 of 100: take more breaks

My renewed 100 Days commitment is going OK so far. I’ve been up at 7 every day this week so far; exercised today (ran a mile) and yesterday (crunches); wrote a speech yesterday and a diary entry of sorts today.

Yesterday, as you might recall from the last blog post, I also attended a meditation class, at the Manchester Buddhist Centre. It was…odd.

I tried guided meditation a few years ago, when I was learning about Buddhism for RS A-Level (bet Michael Gove has put paid to that sort of thing by now), and loved it – afterwards I felt calmer, happier and more creative. Yesterday was more of a mixed experience.

I loved being in the Buddhist Centre – I always do – with its beautiful Northern Quarter building, the gentle smell of incense, the abundance of hippies, the general vibe of finding the zen within the city centre. But once we started on the body mindfulness meditation I found myself having an uncontrollably negative reaction.

I think the problem, sadly, is that I don’t especially like being mindful of my body. For me, right now, it means being mindful of feeling fat, of having bad posture, of sniffling with hay-fever while everyone else in the room is trying to meditate, of never knowing what to do with my hands. With every new area of the body I tried to focus on, rather than a deepening calm, I felt a rising panic.

None of this is unique to me, of course, and the whole point of meditation is being able to accept these things so that you can live with them. So while it wasn’t what I’d call a positive experience on this occasion, I will try again.

Today, meanwhile, was about taking more breaks – and since I wasn’t at work today, I was able to embrace this particular tip wholeheartedly.  I’d recommend you read the article in that last link: there are some really useful tips in there, the best of which, I think, is that breaks are preventative. It reminds me of some advice I came across back when I was studying for my GCSEs – take breaks when revision is going well, not when you’re stuck. The ideas will keep flowing while you’re away from your desk, and when break time is over it’ll be easier to jump back in.

I’m off now for a sleep break – more productivity tomorrow. Night all…

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