Miss. Hillary Strain

Archive for the category “Learning Project”

Learning Project Update

It took me a long time to figure out what my learning project would be.  I had no idea what I could do, or what would even be interesting to learn about.  I ended up talking a lot to my mom about it and she did agree that i do get stressed easily and often, she suggested that I should learn about meditation and am I ever glad that she did.  It has helped me in many ways that I thought wouldn’t be possible.

First starting my learning project, I knew nothing about meditation.  The first thing that popped to mind was the Budda’s because that is what they are known for.  I never knew that there were any special techniques or that meditation could help your health as well.

With my experiences of meditation I have learnt a lot.  I’ve realized even the smallest amount of time of meditation will be beneficial to me in the end.  I do get stressed very easily so when I take the time to meditate, even if it’s just for five minutes, there is a big impact. I’ve also started to meditate when i’m nervous for a test, feeling homesick or just annoyed in general.  It gets the thoughts off my mind and i feel fresh and ready to take up any challenges that are sent to me.

When I first started to meditate, I felt like there was no beneficial at all.  I didn’t feel any difference after an attempt and it honestly felt like a waste of time.  Now, I love to meditate.  I am starting to realize that the concentration and wanting to clear my mind is important.  Every attempt is successful and I absolutely love the way i feel after meditating.



I feel like I am constantly stressed.  I think that fact that I am insanely homesick and life is heading through a bumpy road isn’t helping either.  I have been meditating a lot lately but I have been forgetting to post about it.

Each time I meditate the results are all different.  I recall a few times when I have been meditating I would be focused and it seemed to be working and doing it’s job.  Next thing you know a thought would pop into my mind. Usually it’s “how am I going to blog about this” or “I shouldn’t forget to post something about my experience” After I would just start thinking about that instead of focusing on my breathing and humming like I should have.  So a few attempts would work for the most part then I would just get distracted.

Other times it works perfectly fine.  I would go for about 15 minutes straight with just clearing my mind and focusing on my breathing and humming trying to make myself be relaxed.  When I finished, i felt great!  It felt like i woke up from a nice deep sleep, i felt refreshed and ready to conquer whatever was given to me.

Meditation is all about focusing, it takes a lots of mental energy to keep focus and let yourself lose your trail of thought.  I’m starting to realize that meditation is really something that I should have looked into a long time ago.  When i do it properly and don’t let myself interrupt my focus, i feel great!  It’s like a brand new me, I’m refreshed and and no longer stressed or worried about what may occur.

From my experience so far, i would definitely recommend meditation to absolutely anyone.  It sure has helped me out a lot and i’m sure if anyone does it, it would help them.


My mother is subscribed to a mailing list off of the Oprah Winfrey website, this past weekend when i was home she received an email about meditation. Well, mainly focused on breathing but it could involve meditation. There are different breathing techniques that can improve your health in general, i thought i would share them with you guys.  You can read more about the email here.  I’ve tried the last one and i got kind of light headed, so pre warning to not go for the amount it says if you attempt it!

Diaphragmatic Breathing

What it is: Breathing that involves expanding the belly, which gives the lungs room to take in more oxygen.
How it can help: Improves circulation; eases stress-related and anxiety disorders; speeds recovery from chemotherapy.
How to start:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand just below your rib cage and the other on your upper chest.
2. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach pushes against your lower hand.
3. As you exhale through pursed lips, tighten your abs and let them fall inward. (Throughout inhalation and exhalation, the hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.) Do this exercise three times a day for five to ten minutes, then gradually increase that amount. With enough practice, you should begin to breathe this way automatically.

Alternate-Nostril Breathing

What it is: A yogic technique designed to promote relaxation.
How it can help: Reduces blood pressure; may have an anti-obesity effect; boosts cognitive function on spatial tasks.
How to start:
1. With your right thumb, close your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left nostril.
2. Now close your left nostril with your pinky and ring fingers, release your thumb, and exhale slowly through your right nostril.
3. Keep the right nostril open, inhale, then close it; open the left nostril, and exhale slowly through the left. That’s one round. Start with three rounds, and add a round each week until you are up to five. Then practice whenever you’re feeling stressed out.

The Bellows Breath

What it is: An exercise aimed at increasing alertness.
How it can help: Provides a boost in energy comparable to the high you feel after a workout.
How to start:
1. With your mouth closed, inhale and exhale quickly and evenly through your nose. Aim for three in-out cycles per second, but stop after 15 seconds on your first attempt.
2. Keep practicing, increasing your time by five seconds, until you reach a minute. When you feel your energy dipping, try this technique for 60 seconds.

Attempt #3

So tomorrow is my big part b midterm for math 110.  The stuff that we learnt in this half of the units was really hard to me so i have been studying by butt of trying to memorize and comprehend everything that i have to know. So tonight, i studied for a good hour. Afterwards i took a little break and got kind of stressed! What if i haven’t studied enough? I need to get back at er!  My mind was racing and i got actually really panicky!  So i decided i needed to calm myself down, i had a nice long hot shower and then decided to meditate.

I got two comments on my last attempt, one was from a lady named Leia. She suggested that i set a timer to a certain time then just meditate until it goes off. This way i wouldn’t be wondering how long i have been meditating for or if i was actually accomplishing something. I decided to take her advice! I put the timer on my phone for 10 minutes, stuck my ear plugs in a went to my routine for meditating.

Today i felt like i got really relaxed.  I always close my eyes while i meditate, but sometimes i like to open them during the process. When i tried to open them this time round, they would just automatically go back shut. They felt heavy.  I’m not too sure if it was just because the hot shower made me feel fatigue then concentrating on the  heaving breathing i was just slowly putting me to sleep or if i was actually meditating. Next thing you know my alarm went off! The time seemed to fly by this time round. I feel like my body might be slowly getting used to this meditation thing.. awesome!

Attempt #2

My parents have been following my blog so they know about my learning project. My mom was up this past thursday and she was telling me that she has done some research on meditation or just some episodes of tv that she was watching was to do with meditation. She told me that she learnt when people are first starting to meditate, they don’t usually go for 20 minutes right away (like the one website told me to do) She said that she learnt people start off with a little amount of time, like 5-10 minutes, and then eventually work their way up to a longer period of time.

I also decided to figure out why people tend to “hum” and such while they meditate, according to this site http://www.theabeforum.com/forum2/5392.html people hum while meditation to help focus. While you are meditating you need to block out all your thoughts and concentrated on clearing your mind. People add the “hum” in with their meditation to help themselves focus on calming down..

So for my second attempt i decided to go for only a short duration and decided to try humming during (even though i felt like a complete psycho doing so) because i couldn’t concentrate on just my breathing only.  I stuck in my ear plus, which my mom left for me (thanks mom!), so the room was completely quiet and i started to try meditation for a second time round. I closed my eyes and started breathing and humming.  It felt like it had been a long time so i looked at the clock and only about 5 minutes had passed.  After finishing looking at the clock though, i felt really tired and a little relaxed.  Maybe this is a sign that it worked for that little amount of time. But anyways, that’s my update for my second attempt. The result that was different than last time was that i felt tired and more relaxed. I still have things running through my mind after those five minutes but i’m not too worried about them anymore.

Just some research..

This week I have been too busy to actually practice my meditation, so i decided to do some research on it instead. I wanted to figure out where it first oriented, why people meditate and what meditation does to the body.


When most of us think of meditation, we automatically picture it being practised by Buddhism or Hinduism. Which is true, the earliest recorded evidence of meditation in written form is found in Hindu scriptures that date back around 5,000 years ago. Throughout the years, it seemed to spread to other religions as well, there were also plenty of evidence found in other religious texts including christianity, Judaism, and taoism. Theres were the first texts to actually describe meditation as a formal practice.

I am practising meditation to eliminate stress that is caused by school and life in general. On this blog that i found, they listed the top ten reasons why people should meditate and explained each reason in great detail. I will just name off the list, i won’t explain them but if you want to learn more about the list hit up the website.

1) Gain inner peace.  2) Increase your self awareness.  3) Makes you grounded and calmer.  4) Makes you present.  5) Increases your consciousness.  6) Source of inspiration.  7) Rejuvenates you.  8) Cures insomnia.  9) Increases your spiritual connection and 10) Increases your fulfillment of life

Yes i do realize that it says "Donations for earthquake in Italy", this is the only picture i could find with only a red cross)

The benefits of meditation are manifold because it can reverse your stress response, protecting your body from the effects of chronic stress. While you practise meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less. Meditation also helps your mind age at a slower rate and your immune function improves as well. It also clears your mind leaving you with a “fresh start” when you finis. Meditation also makes it easier for people to give up terrible habits like smoking, drinking and doing drugs. So really, meditation helps make you a healthier person!


Attempt Number One!

I did some research on Meditation today and I learnt that it can actually change how we relate to the flow of our emotions and thoughts in our mind. It involves a type of inner attention to yourself that is quiet, concentrated and relaxed. Creating this inner attention will be difficult in the beginning but after you get into the hang of letting loose it will be come easier with time. In order to meditate you need a quiet place, you need to be in a comfortable position, be able to focus on letting your mind go free and have an open attitude to the experience. Meditation allows you to distance yourself from the flow of your thoughts and become an observer of the thoughts instead of participating and reacting to them.


Since I am a beginner to meditation, I had millions of questions running through my mind: What do I wear? Where do I sit? How do I sit? How long do I have to sit for? Luckily the website that I found today helped me answer the questions that popped into my mind. You need to wear comfy clothes, so I decided to wear yoga pants and a loose shirt and you need to find a quiet place to do your meditation. There is a special way to sit called “the seven-point meditation posture” but I am not flexible to maintain that position so I decided I would sit cross-legged. I read that a beginner to meditation should usually at their first attempt should try and meditate for at least 20-30 minutes.

I thought it would go by easily because I have some experience with focusing on things, my swim coach would get us to visualize on our upcoming race. She would get us to lay on the ground, close our eyes and get us to focus on what she would say. So keeping that in mind I decided that I would do my first attempt to meditate. I went to my room and sat on the floor near my bed, closed my eyes and started to breathe slowly trying to focus on clearing my mind. Ten minutes passed and I still haven’t noticed any changes. I actually felt pretty stupid sitting cross-legged on the floor of my room with my lights dimmed saying absolutely nothing. I tried for another five minutes then decided to quit.

I’m not too sure if it wasn’t effective because I was thinking more on how I looked while I was attempting this meditation and what would happen if my roommate walked in on me. Perhaps that could be why, I was concentrating more on how I would look instead of focusing on relaxing and just letting go. Another effect could be that I wasn’t really stressed or had anything on my mind. I just figured after reading information about meditation that it sounded interesting and I should try it. They say that most can meditate without feeling stressed or busy, they do it just to make them feel better with themselves, but this clearly didn’t work for me.


I decided to take my moms advice and do my learning project on Meditation.

I don’t know anything about it, i don’t even know if i believe it’s real and it will actually work but i decided that i will give it a try. I do get really stressed out around exam time or when my workload gets really high so hopefully attempting to Meditate will help calm me down. I also got some Herbal Pills that deal with stress so with these two new things i will be taking hopefully it will help and i will learn something!

I found this website that i think will help me a lot about learning how to meditate, relax and stay calm. http://www.learningmeditation.com/  i am very excited to start learning about meditation and i really do hope it will help me in the long run!




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