Interested in Meditation? Where to start?
Used to Meditate? When was the last time?
Meditate all the time? How well is your practice supporting you?
No meditation practice is perfect, that’s why it’s a practice! But if your practice needs some troubleshooting to bring you more peace of mind, consider the following tips.
Routine is so important to our physical and mental well-being. Commit to dedicating five minutes every morning to your practice. Five minutes is easy. Give up one hit of your snooze button. By making your practice a priority, your body and mind will be better prepared for the stillness and silence. As you find yourself accepting this ritual, you may wish to deepen the duration of your meditation or add an additional session. I recommend meditating as soon as you get up (before your head gets filled with external stimuli) and right before bed (to help clear out said stimuli).
If you feel like you suck at meditating because you’re always thinking about other things, you’re not alone (and you don’t suck). Free journaling can help empty your head before a meditation. Grab a notebook, a pen, and write down everything in your head. Honor it. Accept it. Once you’ve written everything down, set it aside with the intention to return. Over time, you may find common threads in what you’re writing that can give insight into what obstacles you need to process. Keeping a notebook close to your bed is also a great idea if you remember your entire to-do list the moment your head hits the pillow.
Location, location, location. If the moment you wake up in the morning, you are tasked with other people’s needs (pets, partners, children), the home may not be the best place to create your peace. If you commute to work, take five minutes in the car before you walk in the building. You may have an office door that closes, but you may not have co-workers that realize that this closed door means them. On the other side of your day, maybe spend five minutes of quiet in the car before re-entering your family. Allow for the time necessary to decompress and mentally position yourself to receive the energy of those around you.
I know, everything here has been about predictability and routine. But maybe what isn’t working is what you’re already doing. Give yourself permission to experimenting, but keep the daily commitment to your practice. Maybe a new space, a new cushion, a new time of day. For different methods of meditation, consider an app like Insight Timer. While the beginning and end of your day should be as tech-free as possible, this app may help give your practice the kickstart it needs. There are guided meditations as well as a gentle timer you can use, and it will track your progress to help you celebrate your newfound mindfulness. Your mind matters and a regular meditation practice is a vital step.