SHOCKER: Not everyone likes meditation. Not at first anyway.
This week I wanted to speak to you about my journey with meditation – it hasn’t been easy to make it a regular part of my routine and I often wonder if I’m the only one.
Because it does make you feel amazing, and when you read the kind of blogs and websites I do, everyone makes it sound sooo easy.
But it can be surprisingly difficult, especially when you’re just starting out.
Back then, I would have loved to read a post from another beginner giving tips on how to overcome those initial struggles of getting into meditation, which is what gave me the idea to write this for you 🙂
So let’s get into it!
Why meditation isn’t easy for everyone
Meditation comes in different forms and at different levels of intensity. I mean, if you really want to take it there – you can do it for hours, go to special meditation camps and retreats…you could experience sensations such as numbness, tingling – even astral projection. It can get really wild.
But as a beginner, you’re not going to be doing any of that stuff. So for me, as a beginner myself, meditation is sitting or lying comfortably, closing my eyes, focusing on my breathing and the present moment.
It’s quieting my mind and taking a few moments of the day where I don’t think at all.
It’s enjoying the silence of the space around me and my mind. This is so peaceful to me because my mind literally races on and on and on and on and on every fricking moment of the day and never shuts up! Are you with me???
When I was first starting out, I really enjoyed the feeling I got after meditating but I found it was kind of a chore to fit it in.
You wouldn’t think something so peaceful and relaxing could be a chore, so it surprised me that I couldn’t stick to a meditation schedule at first. But let’s be real – when you have a million and one things to do, sitting and breathing may not be an attractive option because you just feel like you’re wasting time.
This makes it that little bit harder to focus because you end up just thinking of all the other things you could be doing.
So when it came to making meditation a regular practice, the first thing I had to change was my mindset.
Meditation can make you more productive
But I didn’t realise this at first. I had to go from seeing it as a chore that was taking up valuable time in the day, to something I needed to do to help me have a better day. Something I needed to do for me.
Taking a few moments during the day to clear your mind can make you even more productive. How?
We think thousands of thoughts a day – our minds are constantly on the go.
And I’ve come to realise that we should treat our minds the same way we treat our bodies. We couldn’t exercise for hours and hours on end without taking a break or we’d get burnt out.
I believe our minds are the same – they need a break from time to time to come back stronger and more focused. Enter meditation.
I used to get frustrated with meditation when I first started doing it. My mind would constantly wander and I wouldn’t feel like I was doing it right. But you know what? There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. You need to do what brings you clarity and feels good to you.
Forgive yourself if your mind drifts off – it will happen and it’s part of the process. Just notice the thought that pops up, accept it, let it go and go back to your breathing.
Also – I found it really hard to focus on my breathing at first – is that weird?
What really helped me to get past that is thinking the words ‘in’ and ‘out’ as I take each breath. I do that until I find that I’m breathing without my mind wandering anymore.
Finding the best time to meditate
When you’re first getting started with meditation, I would advise against setting a schedule for it initially, for two reasons.
The first: when I first started I said, ‘I’m going to do it every day at this time’. Then that day and time would come and there would be so many other things I would be more interested in doing.
In my experience, the best meditation sessions come when you do it because you feel like you really need to. There are days where my mind is just in extra overdrive. The days where I’m so tired of thinking that I want nothing more than to just switch off and clear my mind.
In the beginning, those were the days that I enjoyed meditation the most.
Of course, meditation is a practice that requires dedication, commitment and discipline. So, start off doing it intuitively, when you feel like you need it, until you learn to enjoy the process and the feeling of a clear mind afterwards.
That way, you’ll have more positive experiences with the process, making it easier to introduce it into your daily routine.
The second reason I would advise against setting a schedule is that the time you choose to meditate is very important, and you’ll need to experiment with different times of the day until you find the one where you get the most out of your meditation sessions.
For me personally, I find that before bed I’m too tired to meditate properly and end up drifting off. In the morning, either I’m not awake enough to be focused or I kind of want to just get up and start my morning routine.
Early evening seems to work best for me, before dinner, where my mind is most active and I just want some peaceful time.
Everyone’s different. If you have kids, you might find that you like to do it first thing in the morning before they get up and the house is quiet.
Or you might find that you like to do it just before bed, when you’re already feeling relaxed and ready to settle down.
Also – if you’ve ever had a meditation session that didn’t go so well, a simple change to the time you choose to meditate could make all the difference.
Boredom and meditation
OK, so you might not feel much except a sense of relaxation at first.
But when you really start getting into it, meditation can be very interesting. If I meditate for a long time, I sometimes see a very bright, white light, like someone is shining a torch at my closed eyes. Other times, I get Goosebumps or tingles. Weird, right?
As you allow yourself you to drift off into a peaceful meditative state, you’ll notice different sensations that are a little bit freaky but so enlightening at the same time.
Also – experiment with your meditation sessions. Try adding affirmations, mantras or intentions to your practice.
Remember that meditation is getting into a space of complete focus and relaxation – doing something different from thinking all day long. Don’t see it as boring – see it as a rejuvenating experience.
You might feel like you’re doing nothing – but that nothingness is doing so much for your mind, body and spirit.
Finding your meditation sweet spot
When I first started meditating, I was doing half-hour sessions a day. That got old – real fast!
I realised I got the most out of meditation by doing it for shorter periods of time. About 10 minutes a day is perfect for me – but there have honestly been days where I’ve meditated for 5 minutes or less and still got so much out of it.
The point here is that you don’t have to do it for a crazy amount of time to reap the benefits. You can do it for 5 minutes a day – or 50, it’s up to you. I recommend starting off with shorter sessions, and working your way up to a longer one once you’ve really learned to enjoy it.
To guide or not to guide?
If you’re having trouble getting into the right mental space or staying focused, you might want to try a guided meditation. I know there are loads of guided meditations you can get on YouTube – I haven’t tried any yet and would love to hear some recommendations if you have any.
Sometimes I like to use guided, normally when I’m not feeling as focused, but I also have days where I want to just do it by myself. The choice is yours.
I use guided meditation in the form of apps.
My favourite one is 3 Minute Mindfulness. There are loads and loads of amazing meditation courses on there and the free ones are all around 3 minutes long. When you have a busy schedule, that 3 minutes of meditation can make all the difference and it’s so easy to fit in. It also comes with a timer for those days when you want to do it alone.
Headspace is another app I like to use if I want a change from 3 Minute Mindfulness. It also comes with free 3 minute guided meditations in the form of a course, complete with explainer videos, which is perfect for beginners.
Imagine having a stressful day at work and being able to just put your headphones in, load up an app and take 3 minutes out of your lunch break to do a quick guided meditation session somewhere quiet.
Just 3 tiny minutes of your day to improve your health and wellbeing. Easy!!
Making meditation an enjoyable and relaxing experience you look forward to is key. You can get special meditation pillows, or you can be like me and just use cushions you have lying around the house.
It’s up to you if you choose to do it lying down or sitting up, but either way, it’s very important to make sure your back is supported.
Another thing I like to do is hold a healing crystal in each hand. I have a Lapis Lazuli that has become my meditation crystal, as it’s said to stimulate the third eye chakra and encourage spiritual visions.
It might sound a bit woo-woo, but if you’re into crystals, you should always incorporate them into your meditation practice. I really feel that they help me to focus and connect.
Set the scene
I like to have the scent of incense fill the room as I meditate. For me, incense helps me connect spiritually and transforms the energy in a room. I use a stick that is blended to enhance meditation.
If you’re not into incense, you could try diffusing essential oils. I have this amazing diffuser which looks beautiful in a low light as it changes colour. My favourite oil to diffuse while meditating is a blend called Stress Free by Radha Beauty – it’s specially blended to reduce nerves, anxiety and tension from the body.
Dim the lights, maybe burn some candles. The point is to create a relaxing environment around you.
Turn off the tv. I need to meditate in silence as I get so easily distracted, but you could try using meditation music to see if that helps you focus.
I really hope you’ve found these tips useful.
Meditation isn’t as easy as people make it sound, especially for a beginner.
And falling in love with it is a journey – it doesn’t always happen straight away.
But if you make it a regular part of your life, there are so many benefits. Take it day by day, and every time you meditate, know that you are doing something so good for your mind, body and spirit.
Happy meditating 🙂
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