Phew! What a busy month it’s been and that’s why I haven’t had any time to update the blog! Basically, I’ve spent the past four weeks wrapping up my comprehensive exams. While they’re still not completely finished (I still need to defend them), I’ve jumped over the biggest hurdle of the process — writing them!
Although blogging fell to the bottom of my priority list this month, I promise that my #Project29 goals haven’t completely fallen by the wayside. Despite the craziness and stress of comps, I did manage to keep up with my yoga and swimming routines.
I’ve also been trying to meditate regularly, although it didn’t quite happen daily. In conjunction with the meditation, I’m in the process of establishing a regular morning and nighttime routine for myself.
Anyway! With comps almost behind me, it’s time to get my day-to-day life back on track. I’m going to dive back into my #Project29 list and get myself into a healthy routine as I prepare to transition to the dissertation phase of this PhD journey.
But in the meantime, I ran away to North Carolina for the weekend so I could fully unwind and relax after a stressful month/semester/year.
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything. Live the questions… – Rainer Maria Rilke
I love this quote, because grad school and scholarship is all about the questions! We’re taught that questions are more important than the answers. So to come across this sentiment in a non-academic setting is refreshing and affirming.
Anyway, the other day an article titled “NIH Spends $100 Million on Mindfulness Research” crossed my Facebook feed. It basically reinforced all the other information that I’ve read recently about the benefits of meditation. To sum it all up, here’s one key quote that explains why we need meditation:
“Recent studies published by the American Psychological Association show that people who practice mindfulness live in the present, which leads to benefits like fewer depressive thoughts, significant stress reduction, better focus and working memory, and more cognitive flexibility, to name a few.”
One of the scariest things to me as a graduate student and someone pursuing a career in academia is how dependent I am on my brain. My livelihood depends on my ability to think clearly and critically. My ability to succeed in my field comes down to whether or not I have insightful ideas to add to the conversations going on in theatre studies. Obviously I want and need to take care of my brain.
But sometimes, okay a lot of times, taking care of my mind and body comes last when you’re a busy grad students. When I wrote my #Project29 list meditation was one of the first goals that came to mind. I already know that breathing exercises and yoga help calm my anxiety, tension and stress, but somehow incorporating meditation into my life feels like a difficult task. I love the idea of it, but I struggle to put it into practice.
Well, the other day I stumbled upon Headspace. It’s a meditation app/program that is designed for everyday people. It’s not super new-agey and doesn’t feel hokey. Headspace is actually the brainchild of Andy Puddicombe. I’d seen his TEDTalk a while back and really liked his approach to meditation/mindfulness. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!
The Headspace app gives you a free 10 day trial, but then you have to pay for a subscription. I’ve really like the sessions I’ve done so far and now I’m debating taking the plunge and paying for the app. I really do think that meditation would be a beneficial addition to my daily routine and I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about it, so why not give it a shot?
Does anyone meditate on a regular basis? Anyone use Headspace? Or does anyone think it’s a complete waste of time? Just curious…