A new year means an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Why not take back your mind and cultivate some peace and happiness this year? Our minds and its thoughts are the primary cause of most of our stress, frustration, anxiety, and unhappiness. A meditation practice helps us rein in the mind with its jumble of unhelpful or down right destructive thoughts, emotions and feelings to give us breathing space to enjoy life, de-stress, and learn how to be happy and at peace. Who doesn’t love that?
This year, my personal resolution is to meditate 100 hours across the year. Join me in the challenge!
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation develops a number of skills but also has researched health benefits. Here are some of the awesome benefits of a steady or even short-term meditation practice:
- Stress reduction
- May improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia
- Controls anxiety and can reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks
- Promotes emotional health
- Can lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life
- Can decrease depression and its occurrence
- Enhances self-awareness
- May cultivate more creative problem solving
- Lengthens attention span
- May reduce age related memory loss
- Can generate kindness
- Can improve social anxiety, reduce marriage conflict and help anger management
- May help fight addictions
- Improves sleep
- Helps control pain
- Can decrease blood pressure
So as you can see, meditation can certainly improve your health in myriad ways! Results don’t take long to manifest either so you don’t have to become a zen monk to start receiving benefits.
The 100 Hour Meditation Challenge
Q: What is it?
A: The challenge is to meditate a total of 100 hours across 2020 or a year’s time from when you’re starting.
Q: How does it work?
A: Meditate 30 minutes or more most days of the week. Aim for 4-5 days a week. Meditating 30 minutes for 4 days a week will mean a total of 104 hours by the end of a year. Since we’re often prone to neglect or laziness, aiming for 5 days a week will ensure you’re on track throughout the challenge.
Q: Why 100 hours instead of daily?
A: You could go supermonk and try to meditate daily but that’s setting yourself up for failure in most cases. For starters, if you’re not a monk, you don’t have the structural support of being in a monastery where they gather daily and meditate together. Kinda hard to skip out there unless you’re sick! Those of us in the everyday world have to rely on our own willpower and motivation.
Also, life happens. For example, you or someone you must care for gets sick. Etc. Things crop up. The meditation practice can stumble for a number of reasons. On a daily challenge, one mistake means failure. With 100 hours that’s not the case. You can keep going even if you miss a few days – which will help support further meditation practice rather than threatening to terminate it prematurely before the habit can establish itself.
Q: Can I do more than 100 hours?
A: Go for it! The challenge is 100 hours over a year but if you meditate for longer periods than 30 minutes at a time or more than 4 days a week you will naturally accumulate more hours. A daily practice is best after all. 100 hours is enough to challenge most new or beginner meditators and even those with some experience but not a daily habit. 100 hours though is not so much that it feels impossible or unachievable, making it a great stepping stone to developing a daily practice.
Getting Into the Challenge
Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships. You can sit comfortably on the floor, a chair, a cushion, or even lie down or walk. You can meditate alone or with others. There are no requirements for starting the 100 Hour Meditation Challenge, just that you meditate for a total of 100 hours across a year.
100 hours translates into regular meditation sessions of at least 30 minutes but doesn’t require the straight-jacket of every day. With 100 hours you can’t really slack off but must be somewhat disciplined most days in order to make the quota. Life happens though. Sometimes you miss. Then you get back with the program and continue to accumulate your hours with confidence rather than frustration and stress.
The point of the 100 Hour Meditation Challenge is to develop a steady practice over the course of the challenge. Once you have accomplished your 100 hours, you are likely to see such a large and positive impact in your life that you wish to do another 100 hour challenge or take up a lifelong meditation practice. From experience I know how powerful a force for good that meditation can be so I encourage you to make this challenge your own! Good luck with the challenge and happy meditating.
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