Probably one of the most popular challenges you will find online is a meditation challenge. There are 7-day, 21-day, 28-day, and 30-day meditation challenges. One of my favorites is the free Oprah & Deepak 21-day meditation experience that they do on the Chopra Center from time to time. It isn’t really a ‘challenge’, but if you view it as a challenge then it becomes one. It doesn’t really matter how long you challenge yourself to meditate, it just matters that you do it! This should be one of the challenges that EVERYONE does in their life no matter what stage they are in, what age they are, or anything else. Why?
5 Benefits Of Doing A Meditation Challenge
1. Let Go Of Overthinking
Do you tend to get caught up in your thoughts? You may find you move from one thought to the next quickly and soon you have all kinds of worries and fears running around in your head. Or maybe you find that you focus on something negative and get stuck thinking about it over and over again. Either way, overthinking often leads to negative emotions and can be a huge cause for anxiety.
Meditation involves letting go of all those thoughts, which will give you a break from overthinking and even stop it altogether. I can’t count the number of times I worked myself into a thought-frenzy that I thought wasn’t going to go away but did after meditation.
Mindfulness can also do this, but sometimes it’s hard to get into a mindful state when you are caught up in your thoughts. Choosing to put on some earphones and listen to a guided meditation can help force you to get into a quieter state and put an end to a constant stream of thoughts.
2. See Things More Clearly
When your thoughts slow down, you can see things more clearly. You don’t have those ‘what ifs’ and imaginary scenarios in your mind as much. Instead, you are left with the reality of what is happening and your focus stays on that.
Therefore, if you think that you are (or worried that you are) seeing things with a judgmental or clouded mind, then meditation is a great tool to help you get rid of all those judgments and clouds and see things more clearly.
How do you know you aren’t seeing things clearly? Your beliefs or events of the day are getting in the way if you feel overly negative about something.
For instance, if my husband says something, and I instantly get offended, then I’m not seeing clearly. I know he’s a good man who has never said anything rude to me since we’ve been together, so my beliefs about myself or my interactions for the day are likely causing me to take his words the wrong way. A quick moment of meditation can help me clear my mind, get grounded and see things more clearly.
When your mind is clear, life isn’t as complicated. It isn’t as stressful. It just is what it is. And, normally you can see the upside of situations and avoid the turmoil that most other people would feel.
3. Connect To Something More
Whether you want to call it your intuition, your higher self, God, or anything else, meditation is a great tool to help you get centered and connect to that voice/presence that you can’t hear/feel when you are lost in thoughts. The great news is that you don’t feel so small when you connect to something more. You don’t feel so lost, alone, or insignificant when you connect to something more.
If you want:
- to improve your relationships, meditation can help you feel more connected to other people and more compassionate and understanding.
- to feel more spiritual, meditation can help you connect with your spiritual side.
- to find some answers, meditation can help you connect to something bigger than your everyday presence and discover those answers.
- to feel not alone, meditation can help you connect to something bigger than yourself and feel more connected to everything and everyone around you.
- to feel more on purpose, meditation can help you connect to something more than your day to day life and find more meaning and purpose.
Connecting to something more means stepping out of the daily routine, the thoughts, the habits, and the fears, and realizing that there is much more going on in your life than meets the eye.
4. Reduce Pain
John E. Sarno, M.D. had a theory that the mind creates pain in the body. His book, Healing Back Pain, is all about healing back pain without drugs, surgery, or exercise, but, instead, focusing on the mind-body connection.
I’m sure we’ve all had pain that got worse as we focused on it and better as we focused on something else. My father, who has Lupus, will often meditate (although he calls it concentrating) when he has pain because it allows him to escape his focus on his pain and put it somewhere else. It always helps him feel better, even during the most painful times.
Studies have been done that found that meditation helps to reduce pain by taking the mind off the pain and into the present (living in the moment is another benefit of meditation). Pain is often anticipated, which means you are focused on the future and worrying about the next bought of pain. This theory should ring true for most people. I know that I have experienced intense pain and then became distracted by the present moment and suddenly forgot all about it.
Mindfulness meditation… has been shown by many studies as a moderately effective approach for pain relief. – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
I know many people who have reduced their pain through the mind-body connection. Personally, I’ve taken the strongest Tylenol for pain and experienced no relief but was able to find relief once I calmed my mind and body.
Bottom line: If you experience pain, and want pain relief, then you have nothing to lose by giving meditation a try.
5. Get More Focused
Feel scatterbrained? Meditation is about focusing the mind. As with everything, being able to focus is about practice. The more you practice staying focused, the easier it becomes. Therefore, the more you meditate, the more you practice focusing your mind, and the easier it becomes for you to focus, not just in meditation, but in your everyday tasks too.
You will notice that people who meditate often are very focused. They listen well, perform their tasks well, and stay centered on whatever they are practicing or doing at the moment – even if it’s just sitting around and enjoy good company. To me, being able to focus – and stay mindful of the moment – is a skill that improves every aspect of life drastically.
What Meditation Can Ultimately Do For You
Just in case you are not sold on taking a meditation challenge yet, the following is a great video talking about meditation. It may help you see how beneficial meditation can be for your life if you adopt it as a habit… and it all starts with taking on a meditation challenge.
Your Brain Frequency And Meditation
One of the things that we don’t often think about is our brain frequency. But, it’s interesting to note that through things like meditation, we can help ourselves spend more time in a beneficial brain frequency, such as Alpha, where we can be more creative and insightful, and where we have an easier time creating the life we want. Following is Laura Silva, trainer for the Silva Method, explaining these brain frequencies quite well. I recommend watching it.
Meditation Challenge: Where To Find Your Meditations
In the beginning, I highly recommend you don’t just try to sit and be still on your own. Using a guided meditation – or music or noise of some sort – will help you remember what you are doing and stay focused on it.
Ok, so the meditation challenge is simple. Pick a number of days you want to try meditating (I recommend 30 days!), pick a meditation or two, schedule in your daily meditations so you commit to them, and then do them each day.
Not sure where to find a meditation that is suitable for you? Following are a few suggestions.
1. Six Phase Meditation
This is a meditation by Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley. It doesn’t just help you get out of your head, it helps you focus on things that really make a positive difference to your life, such as connection, gratitude, forgiveness, visualizations, intentions, and prayer. Listen to this meditation every morning as soon as you get up. You may find Vishen’s voice distracting as you try to focus on things that you want to focus on. If that happens, give the meditation with him a few more tries and memorize the order of what you need to focus on, then use another voice-free meditation (like Zen 12 below) in the future as you go through Vishen’s six phases on your own. Note: You can download the Omvana app and get this meditation included on there for free.
2. Zen 12
I really like the Zen 12 meditation program. I have all 12 levels of Zen 12, and while my initial intention was to work through one level per week, I ended up switching around to ‘sounds of nature’ tracks that I liked the most.
Zen 12 uses brainwave entrainment pulses to influence your brainwave patterns. Basically, this means it helps you get into an alpha or theta state – those brainwave states you learned about above from Laura Silva. This is great if you can’t quiet down your mind. It does the work for you – you just need to put on the earphones and listen.
Zen 12 is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time but still wants to try a meditation challenge. It only takes 12 minutes to listen to one of these meditations, so you can easily sneak one meditation in a day.
As you can see below from my computer screenshot, each level comes with four types of meditations: relaxation music, sounds of nature, white noise, and guided meditation. I like the music and the sounds of nature mostly. It really depends on my mood and what’s going on around me.
You can listen to a sample of a Zen 12 with relaxation music below.
You can find a ton of different meditations on YouTube geared towards different things such as happiness, health, peace, etc. Many of them use brainwave entrainment. Some of them don’t. It doesn’t matter. What you want is something that helps you let go, go inward, and spend time being quiet.
The only problem with YouTube is you can check out a random video for just a second before you meditate and end up still checking out random videos hours later if you are not careful. We all do it, but I don’t want you to lose your meditation time for cat videos. If you want to make time for meditation, and you know that YouTube will be a distraction, then find meditations from somewhere else so that you can stick to your meditation challenge.
Free Downloads For The Meditation Challenge
30 Days Of Meditation Quotes And Questions: Go further than just meditating every day. Use this download to reflect on meditation and what it is doing or could do in your life.