If, a couple of years ago, you had asked me to meditate, I’d have laughed in your face. I though meditation was a silly, new age fad that did absolutely nothing. A waste of time.
But, I kept hearing how good it was for depression. All the experts recommended it, and, even though by that point, I was already on the mend, I thought, “Mmm, maybe I should give it a go after all.”
I did. Many times. And failed. Many times. I just couldn’t keep at it. Until a few months ago, and boy what a difference a few months can make!
Meditation has really revolutionized my life. Now, I am a lot less anxious, more relaxed, more focused, more attentive of what’s going on around me and in my own head, and more appreciative of everything life has to offer.
So, how did I manage to turn meditation into a habit? Here are five meditation tips I learned that helped me overcome all my blocks and finally be successful at it:
1. Start small
If the thought of spending an hour meditating seems impossible or just plain boring, don’t. Just do it for a couple of minutes every day for the first week. And for three minutes the next week. And for five the week after that. You get the drill. Before you know it, you’ll be able to meditate for a hour straight.
2. Let go of all expectations and just do it
I used to think that, to meditate properly, I had to sit in a certain position or say a particular mantra. That’s nice to know, but not really important when you get started. Just find a position that’s comfortable for your and focus on your breathe. Deeply breathe in and breathe out for a few minutes, and observe the sensations that are going through your body. That’s it. You can always optimize your meditating routine later. What matters now is that you just start.
3. Your mind will wander: Accept It
Like many of you, I also thought that the goal of meditation was to stop the mind from thinking. It’s not. As you meditate, all kinds of thoughts will go through your head and distract you. That’s ok. When that happens, simply return to your breathe and start over. I know it’s a bit frustrating at first, but it’s also normal. It’ll get better with practice.
4. Do It Each Morning
It’s a lot easier to take up an habit when you use “environmental triggers”. For me, that’s a sticky note saying “meditate” on my bedside table. It’s the first thing I see in the morning and reminds me that I have to meditate straight away. I think the morning is the perfect time to meditate because it quietens and relaxes my mind, so I can start the day on the right, happy foot.
5. Do A Guided Meditation
I find that, at the beginning, it’s a lot easier if you have an expert that guides you by the hand. That’s why I’ve started with guided meditations. I use the Insight Timer app, which has more than 1000 meditations. It’s impossible not to find one or two (or a hundred!) that work for you.
Do you meditate? If so, do you have any tips for newbies you can share?