Illustration for article titled How My Beginning Meditation Practice GoesPhoto: Fizkes (Shutterstock)

As part of Lifehacker’s fitness challengeI try different meditation techniques for 30 days. This is the second week of my challenge, and I’ve taken a new step in developing a consistent meditation routine: I’ve lengthened the length of my meditation sessions and tried to meditate at noon instead of sitting in the morning. The results were … less than desirable.

Experiment with different times of the day

In my first week My level of comfort with meditation increased, but it did not necessarily relieve my stress. I suffer most of the stress during the work day – the ever-growing to-do list can be overwhelming and most of the time I let it exceed my waking hours. In the second week, I decided to meditate for five minutes in the middle of the day.

Illustration for article titled How My Beginning Meditation Practice Goes

I continued to use the Headspace app but found that the sessions I wanted to do during the day jumped from three minutes to ten. My plan to last five minutes wasn’t going to work. It was ten minutes.

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Meditate as a multitasker during the day

Meditation requires a willingness to give up responsibility for a set period of time. For someone who enjoys multitasking, it was impossible to let go of that responsibility in the middle of my day. I was unable to let my thoughts slip by as the session dictated. I would think of a deadline or meeting I had later that day and couldn’t shake it off. My persistent thoughts forbid the moments of calm that I wanted to achieve. This could be due to a deeper issue: high functioning anxiety.

Illustration for article titled How My Beginning Meditation Practice Goes

According to the advice center Better helpHigh-functioning anxiety manifests itself in many ways – for example, an compulsion to work extra hard or an overwhelming fear of the future. Although I have not been diagnosed with high-functioning anxiety disorder, these symptoms seem awfully familiar to me and I could benefit from the methods available to relieve these symptoms. Better Help explains that mindfulness was an effective treatment:

Incorporating mindfulness into cognitive therapy helps counselors of people with high functional anxiety give their patients the tools they need to anchor themselves in their own thoughts and feelings in the moment, rather than worrying about what others are doing People think or what might happen in therapy in the distant future.

Learn to pan and move on

After reading about the benefits of mindfulness and fear, I felt empowered to hold on to my challenge. Since the midday meditation was negatively affecting what I wanted, I decided to switch to meditation before going to bed. I often stay up until 2 or 3 a.m., watch TV and sometimes work. I hope that nighttime meditation will force me to set aside the day at an appropriate hour and position my body so that it can fall asleep more easily while I sleep more restfully. For me this can be the key to consistency and potentially less stressful during my work hours.