by Pamela Taylor-Barnett
When I run (or do other workouts for a decent time with my heart pounding), I don’t think. Not thinking is nice. I can’t worry about tomorrow, and I can’t fret about what happened last week either. I can only think about breathing. Granted, sometimes I think about reaching my goal time or distance. So, when people say to me ‘Isn’t it boring?’ I really don’t know what they mean. Sure, I only have my playlist in my ears, but boring? No, it’s not boring. It’s almost nothing. It’s peaceful. Sweat is my happy pill.
I’ve been fairly time poor lately. I’ve let that mean fewer workouts, but I shouldn’t. I need the mental space it gives. I need it when I’m busy, but I also need it when I’m not busy because otherwise I let my mind run away with anxiety.
In one of Joel’s blogs about mindfulness, he says ‘But don’t take my word for it. Have a go.’ It’s not that I haven’t done meditation before. Heavens, I even did self-hypnosis in labour! And I’ve done a bit of yoga. I’ve been avoiding mindfulness the last year or so though – because I thought it would take too much time, time that I don’t have.
Then I found myself in a ‘stress-management’ conversation with a group of emerging lawyers. One of them said that he uses an app to meditate for 15 minutes every morning. An app? 15 minutes? Hmm. So I hunted around for a good ‘app’ and I’ve downloaded one, called ‘Mindfulness’ (how original). It has 3-30 minute meditations, and some pretty bells to listen to if you’re up for going solo. It’s even got a little reminder section. Time-poor-me tried one of the shorter ones, alone in my lounge. I liked it. It gave me a similar feeling to a hard workout actually – minus the sweat. I tried it again, this time sitting at my kids’ weekly swimming lesson. I stunned myself that I could be in a noisy, public place and it ‘worked’. I went to another peaceful, nothing-like place.
Could this be another one of my happy drugs? Maybe. I like that it’s always with me, it’s easy, fast, cheap, and no, not boring.
Apparently you can actually meditate while running! I see how. In fact maybe I’m already part way there. Either way, both a hard workout and a mindfulness session with my smartphone let me just ‘be’. ‘Be’ in the current moment.