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Today, on September 19, 2016, I completed 40 consecutive days of meditation. Meditating on regular basis has helped me to relax, find more calm and peace in a busy life, and has allowed me to strengthen my mind and mindset to have a more powerful impact upon our world, especially in helping others. I have found the ability to be calm amidst life’s storms is a great gift that can help others through really difficult experiences. Before you simply dismiss the possibility that meditation could possibly help you and/or someone you love, please listen. I was skeptical too but not anymore.

What prompted the meditation streak? Partly it was curiosity, hearing so much about Headspace and Insight timer from friends and seeing people posting their meditations on social media. Once I began, I noticed some immediate changes. At first it was uncomfortable to some extent, deviating from my normal path of simply plowing through the day without any time for meditation. But I noticed some changes. More peace of mind. Greater relaxation. Better sleep. Lower heart rate. Healing from injuries and less asthma inflammation. Better health.

So while using Headspace, I also discovered a great 40-day course on called Mindfulness Daily (available for $37). But the catch for the 40 day course was that you had to complete each day to “unlock” the next. Also, I learned the hard way that the “bell” at the end of the meditation did not automatically mean the meditation was over.

After completing about 30 days of Headspace intro (the free trial), I moved on to a Headspace 30-part stress series: 10 minutes each. Very helpful. And every 15 days or so of the streak, Headspace would send me a free month of meditations code. So it makes you want to earn another free month. Very clever.

I found that the messages after each meditation “congratulations, you did it” motivated me to pursue it another day. And I realized that the meditation streak was helping my running by relaxing me, teaching me ways to keep my heart rate down, and that it was interwoven with my runstreak. So I kept meditating.

Usually I try to meditate in the morning, maybe 10-20 minutes at a time after running. I began using my Himalayan salt candle for an hour a day to help with my asthma (see photo above) while meditating. Sometimes afternoons work better. On day 38 of the streak, I didn’t meditate until late at night and I felt the strain and stress of not having paused to create peaceful stillness, space, and relaxation that I needed.

Mindfulness really gives us powerful strengthening aid in being able to live our daily lives and to realize that each day we have a reset button within our grasp. We just have to have the courage to press it. And to realize that even pausing for a minute, or 5, or 10 can completely alter and shift our day to the positive direction. if we fail to do that, we tend to get overwhelmed with stress, chaos, fear, worry, and doubt. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to break these patterns and to create stillness and silence, bringing us back in touch with our inner selves and helping us persevere through life’s struggles.

Do you meditate? Have you tried it? Although I had my doubts before trying it, I’m really happy that I have discovered it and have no intention to stop now. Give meditation a try, see what it can do for you. It may improve your health and wellness in ways that you have not even imagined.

The next time life gets too stressful, press pause, take a moment, even if it is brief, and create some calm and peace for yourself. Light a candle if it helps you focus. Our health depends on us managing our stress and creating a wellspring or fountain of healthy habits.