Why Everyone Should Try Meditation

When I was close to graduate from University I was in a peculiar state of mind. I was overwhelmed by all kinds of troubled thoughts at the time, I was trying to finish my degree smoothly, I was already working and deeply engaged in a software development startup, my love life was a mess, I was moving to a new apartment and as far as I was concerned I was officially an adult.

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That mixture of feelings and thoughts pushed me to look for ways to get some peace of mind. That was how I started learning about meditation and mindfulness and I changed the misconception I had about it:

A mysterious practice that only a few wise ancient people from far away lands did while levitating.

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I found a couple of cool apps that helped me to get rid of that idea, I read about the many benefits of meditation, so I thought. Why not, let’s give it a try.

Now I’ve been practicing meditation and mindfulness for a few years and here are a few reasons why I encourage everyone to try meditation.

Reduce Stress

I’ve learned that, as much as you try, you’ll never have control of the situations you find in your life, some of these are pleasant but some are not: Stress is inevitable. Meditation has helped me change my relationship with stress and stressful situations, it allows me to have the space I need to handle stressful moments with clarity and peace.

Relate Better

We live in a web of relationships, from your co-workers to your loved ones and the people you cross with every day. These relationships affect and get affected by your emotions and feelings. When you feel good about yourself, when you’re able to be aware of your emotions and feelings you become less reactive, regulate your moods, increase empathy and kindness and allow others to be, instead of projecting yourself.

Good Night Sleeps

We all know that sleeping is essential for our well being, sleep gets deeply affected by a troubled mind, personally I’ve experienced Insomnia and restless sleep and it affects you mentally and physically. By doing a short meditation before going to bed I’m able to clear my mind, leave trouble thoughts behind and set the conditions for a restful night.

Health

Meditation just makes me feel healthier, It encourages healthier habits and there’s plenty of studies that explore the connection between health and meditation. Reduction of blood pressure, pain relieve, anxiety reduction, memory loss prevention are just some of meditation health benefits.

Live the Moment

Last but not least, by meditating I’ve learned to be present. It’s truly mind-blowing how I’ve found myself doing things completely in automatic mode, meditation has helped me to be aware, about the simplest things, like standing up from my chair or eating my lunch. It sounds cliché but I’ve found great experiences and happiness in the most simple things. Just had to pay attention.

I urge you to give it a try, here’s a couple of apps I like where you can start practicing meditation and mindfulness right away.

Headspace | Stop, Breathe & Think | Calm

And my personal effort to bring a little peace to this world, a simple Android app that helps you recover your natural innate breathing with a simple breathing exercise.

One Breath

Meditate and share your experience!

My Top 10 Android Apps

Recently I got curious about my behavior as a smartphone user, specifically, what are the apps that I use the most on my day to day.

I installed this app, QualityTime, it allows you to monitor and get real time reports on how much time you spend on your smartphone and which are your most used apps. Now I’ve been using it for a while.

So, here are my top 10 Android Apps:

10. WordPress

WordPress for Android puts the power of publishing in your hands, making it easy to create and consume content. Write, edit, and publish posts to your site, check stats, and get inspired with great posts in the Reader. What’s more? It’s open source.

This app become one of my most used apps since I’ve started this blog, it is very useful to be able to manage your site on the go, it helps me to be more consistent with my writing and to don’t miss ideas for blog posts which I can instantly convert to drafts with this app.

9. Wunderlist

Wunderlist helps millions of people around the world capture their ideas, things to do and places to see. Whether you’re sharing a grocery list with a loved one, working on a project, or planning a vacation, Wunderlist makes it easy to share your lists and collaborate with everyone in your life. 

I’ve been using Wunderlist for a long time, I’ve used it to track my homework when I was in college, just as the extract above I’ve used it with my loved one to share our grocery list and places to see (we have plenty), I’ve used it to keep track of my work taks, my personal projects, my learn list, books I want to read, movies I want to watch… It’s not surprising that it is on my top 10 list.

8. Headspace

Get the most out of your day with the Headspace meditation app. We’ll help you perform at your best through the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness. In just a few minutes a day, you’ll learn how to train your mind and body for a healthier, happier life.

I use Headspace for my daily meditation, It really helps me with my stress level, keeps me concentrated and I actually really enjoy it, it’s really nice to take 10 minutes and appreciate.

7. Money Lover

Money Lover is the simple way to manage your money, budgets, and bills on your phone. From now on, you’re able to manage all your assets in just one place. How easy it is when getting reports of your expenses, sticking with your budget plans, or tracking your banking transactions!

When I first started working and earning money my financial life became a real mess, I started buying unnecessary stuff, reached the limit of my credit cards and soon I realized I need to manage my finances better or I was going to end up in the streets. I took a short online course about personal finance and started using Money Lover since then to track my expenses and budgets.

6. Google Keep

Quickly capture what’s on your mind and get a reminder later at the right place or time. Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed. Grab a photo of a poster, receipt or document and easily organize or find it later in search. Google Keep makes it easy to capture a thought or list for yourself, and share it with friends and family.

Everyone needs a notes app, this is my favorite one, simple and clean.

5. Fitbit

GET ACTIVE. EAT BETTER. MANAGE WEIGHT. SLEEP BETTER.

My wife recently gave me this Fitbit Charge 2 device, a heart rate and fitness band which I really enjoy, It really helps me to stay active, I love the sleep tracking feature and track my fitness goals. I love the data analytics it gives me, I just try to not get obsessed about it.

4. Instagram

Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Follow your friends and family to see what they’re up to, and discover accounts from all over the world that are sharing things you love.

My favorite social network, I enjoy looking different realities of people I know as well as people I would like to know.

3. Spotify

With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favorite songs.

I’m a musical person, I need my music with me.

2. YouTube

See what the world is watching — from the hottest music videos to what’s trending in gaming, entertainment, news, and more. Subscribe to channels you love, share with friends, and watch on any device.

I love YouTube I always have videos in my Watch Later playlist, they’re mostly from my subscriptions which contain a wide range of content: space, movies, news, science, travel, TED, formula 1, dev, tech, music, entertainment… I use YouTube app to watchthis videos when I have free time.

1. Tide

Tide lets you get things done by breaking up individual event among discrete intervals, separated by short breaks.

A very simple app I love, it is essentially a timer based on the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method to break down your activities into 25 minutes intervals with short and long breaks. I use it for work, writing, studying, reading, etc. Actually, I think I may be abusing.

Share your top 10 with me!

A Day at the Office

9:13 – Start. I’ve just arrived to the office with a friend with I share transport, leave my stuff at my desk and I head to register my entrance hour…. I know, it seems kind of absurd to me, I think flexibility is better, but it’s the way it is.

9:30 – Breakfast. I eat a simple breakfast right at my desk while catching up with some news, YouTube subscriptions, personal emails and start figuring out my goals for the day with the help of my Wunderlist.

10:00 – Coffee. With my goals clear I just need one more thing to get fully started: My coffee. So I take my Contigo mug (which is awesome) and take it downstairs to fill it with the elixir.

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11:00 – Work, work, work, work, work. I like to code on the morning. I start by fixing some bugs previously assigned to me on our team platform VSTS and continue with any other assigned tasks.

12:00 – Daily SCRUM. Just like this photo of the Jedi council but in a much less cool and small room, standing up and with remote attendants joined by video, no holograms 😭.

Jedi Council

 

13:00 – Work, work, work, work, work. I Continue with my assignments, create a couple of pull requests and review a couple from my team.

14:00 – Meditation. Around this time I try to free myself for 10 minutes to meditate. I’m currently using Headspace app to do my meditations. It really helps me with my stress level, keeps me concentrated and I actually really enjoy it, it’s really nice to take 10 minutes and appreciate.

14:30 – Lunch. My co-workers and I go down to the cafeteria to have lunch. My current company is located inside a University so we share the cafeteria with the students. I’m still waiting for the food fight.

15:00 – Chatter. We head to an open area in the campus to sit and talk about everything. Just relax and take a few minutes to talk about everyone’s life, movies, tech, gadgets, comics, memes, and anything that comes up.

15:30 – Learn. Time to go back to the office. I love to learn, I always have topics on my list of things I want to learn about, so I like to spent this part of my day in learning, currently I’m focused on Android stuff, specifically Kotlin and how can I improve the architecture in my projects.

16:00 – Improve. By this time I usually focus on our improvement project, this include tasks like collaborating with co-workers on how to improve our development process, our continuous integration process, integration of new tools, best practices… Currently we’re under a CMMI certification process so I have a meeting with one of my co-workers to review the progress.

17:00 – Closing. I close tasks for the day and focus on any short task so I don’t leave unfinished tasks before I leave.

18:00 – Finish. I register my exit so that HR can be sure I worked 8 full hours.

A Day at the Office.

2017: A Recap

2017 has been the best year of my life. Here’s a short recap I want to share.

😱 January: I got in a terrifying ride. My wife is a true daredevil, she made me do it and I felt glad to be alive when I get off.

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😍 February: It was our civil wedding, no big celebration because we were already planning our religious ceremony for September (spoiler), then me and my wife moved to a new house. It is such an exciting and thrilling adventure to share a place with the person you love.

💻 March: I got a new job. A little reluctant about it, the change, the thrill, the adaptation, the new routine, so many things in my head. It turned to be a good job, I’ve learned many things and I’ve worked with great people, I’m still working here.

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⚔️ April: Went to a very cool event (Opera Picnic), and got a little nostalgic while enjoying a couple of AOE LAN parties.

🎂 May: I turned 25 years old.

💒 June: Lots of wedding planning.

🤙 July: Friends and Family. I reunited with some friends from college, had really good time and everybody was so hyped about the wedding (I’m the first of the group that gets married). Had a trip with family to a very nice cabin and a family reunion with my cousins.

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🌊 August: Bachelor trip in Vallarta. My friends organized this awesome trip to the beach. I’m just grateful for having such cool friends.

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❤️ September: Wedding. I got married with the love of my life. Definitively the best day of my year. I really had a great time, it was so much fun, watching our families and friends so happy, so many moments, so many feelings. A day I will remember all my life.

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🍯 October: Honeymoon. Simply amazing. We spent some days on Holbox, a tiny island located in the Mexican Caribbean where I’m pretty sure the time goes much slower and another days in the city of Cancun in a big luxury hotel. Kind of opposite worlds… It was incredible to experience both.

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🙃 November: Guanajuato City. We took a trip to one of my favorites cities I’ve known. It amazes me every time I go. Culture, art, history, museums, its tunnels network, and legends are some of the magic it has to offer.

🌲 December: Nature. I got the opportunity to spent some days at Mazamitla, a little town in the middle of the forest as part of the planning session for a software development startup where I collaborate: EPCON CCS. Great days, big fun, team work, and creativity. And also in December my wife got apendicitis… Well, shit happens…

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So, a great year. Right? Huge thanks to all the people I got to share a moment with this year, my friends, my family, my team and specially to the love of my life Berenice, now my wife. You have made 2017, the best year of my life.

 

 

 

I’m Back

Hey! Long time no see…

I wrote my first post in this blog on June 23, since then I’ve written 3 more posts (this one included)…

I know, I know… Certainly, It’s not what I had in mind at the moment I started with this blog, I have a few excuses in mind: work, lack of time, mind block, and my favorite: I got married!

Yes! Programmers get married too!

Anyways, I’m back on track and really excited about this project, I’ve already started doing some reading and making some small changes in my daily routine to produce more constant content and here are a few thoughts:

Lack of time

This is not a valid excuse. This is a false problem, you can always make time for what’s important. I’ll create an schedule for writing within my routine.

Schedule

As I’ve just said I will try to stick to a writing and publishing schedule, my goal will be a post per 2 weeks.

Motivation

I’ll be searching for motivation constantly, I do have many things I want to write about, so I think that is not a problem right now, I just need to organize my ideas. For a start, I’ve just upgraded my WordPress.com plan from Free to Personal which allows me to use my custom personal domain (isscroberto.com) and removes the built-in ads among other perks.

So, Let’s get to it!

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