How To Start A Meditation Practice
Meditating is hard at first, but the long-term benefits are endless. A regular, steady meditation practice has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, increase mental awareness and stamina, as well as lower certain disease risks. Meditation is also wonderful at working the mind muscles. Think of it like mental floss. Take it one step at a time and always remember tomorrow is a new day for new starts.
“We are always running for the thrill of it, thrill of it, always pushing up the hill searching for the thrill of it.” This is a line from one of my favorite songs by the Australian band, Empire of The Sun. Have you heard of them? If you haven’t you need to go check them out on Spotify right now because their music is juicy and electrifying. They can turn any weird day around by the drop of the hat.
Pushing ahead has always been my motto. Staying stuck in something never works and does absolutely nothing for productivity. I know how challenging it can be to feel stuck and stagnant, especially when you are going through a hard time or coming out of a hard season. The best thing you can do when those feelings of stagnation arise is to keep busy. Go do a task or meditate. Mindfulness exercises really help me when I’m feeling stuck.
There is an app I use called the Insight Time and it’s an app for meditation. My therapist recommended it to me and it’s done wonders for my anxiety. It’s certainly not a be all end all to my anxiety, but it does help when those feelings of anxiousness arise. Meditating is really hard. Think of meditation like weight-lifting for your muscles. It’s not something you are going to automatically be good at or get right the first time. I’ve been using this timer for two weeks and I’m still only on the 5-minute meditations. Anything longer and my mind starts to wander and think about the day’s work ahead and then I get anxious thinking about the days work ahead and then that defeats the entire process because I spend the next few minutes thinking about all of the other things I could be doing. It’s a silly process, but an important one at that.
The first day I used the meditation app I lasted two minutes. Everything annoyed me from the guys voice to the feeling of my yoga mat to my dogs barking in the background. I almost said, F this! I’m done! But then I tried it again and started over. The second go-round was much better and I was better able to focus. This time around the guys voice wasn’t nearly as annoying as the first time and I actually found it to be quite soothing. There are a million meditations to chose from but I want something simple for my first month of meditating and I wanted something that wasn’t too thought heavy. There are some meditation practices on there that get way too deep for my taste. Let’s be honest, I’m not trying to solve world peace, I’m trying to maintain a calmer mind.
Day two was better. I even set up a meditation space in my living room and lit a candle for the second time around. I need to upgrade to a meditation pillow from my yoga mat because sitting on a yoga mat becomes really uncomfortable after awhile but I will invest in a meditation pillow soon because it’s a worthy investment. The second go-round, I lit a candle, set up my space with tons of room, and I made sure to listen to the guy’s voice and did my best to focus on his words. What I loved about this specific meditation is that he said to think about your thoughts like they are clouds in the sky and the thoughts are simply coming and going. Let the thoughts come and go and come and go and imagine them like white clouds in a gorgeous blue sky.
Think of meditation like lifting weights. The more you lift, the better you’ll become at it. The more you meditate, the easier it will become. The first few times it will be frustrating and hard, but after a few times the practice will become easier and lighter. Each time it will become less frustrating. Set up a sacred space in your home, light a candle, and have some essential oils near by and if you have one turn on your aromatherapy kit with your favorite scent. Pick a meditation from the Insight App or any meditation app or music that jives with you and begin your practice.
Don’t overthink it. Let whatever thoughts and feelings that arise come up. Do your best never to judge the thoughts that are flooding in and out of your mind. Try to meditate every day if you can and mark your meditation practice on the calendar so that you will keep that appointment with yourself.
Meditating is hard at first, but the long-term benefits are endless. A regular, steady meditation practice has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, increase mental awareness and stamina, as well as lower certain disease risks.
Comment below and tell me if you meditate. What do you like about it? Do you have a favorite app that you use? I want to hear all about it.