Meditation has been shown to make us happier, healthier and less stressed, the only problem is that to feel those benefits we actually need to do it! Here are my top tips…
- Prioritise it. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
- Schedule an appointment with yourself (and stick to it).
- Ask for help. You being the best, less stressed version of yourself benefits everyone around you. Ask those close to you to help you make time to meditate.
- Do it first. We are very good at doing deals with our self like ‘when the house or my desk is tidy, then I will meditate’. We are far more likely to get the tidying done quicker, be less distracted and enjoy it more if we’ve meditated first. Meditate first, it doesn’t matter if there is mess because when you meditate you have your eyes closed!
- Bring the right attitude. If you approach meditation as ‘just another thing to tick off the list’ you make it into a chore, not a pleasure.
- Make it work for you. Most people find that meditating first thing in the morning sets them up for the day, however there are no hard and fast rules, making an appointment you can keep is the most important thing.
- Be flexible. It would be wonderful if we all had a little candle-lit meditation room in our house where knew we wouldn’t be disturbed. Realistically you might need to meditate on your train commute or in your bathroom with the loo seat down and the door locked. Don’t wait for the perfect conditions, there are no perfect conditions – dogs will bark, planes will fly overhead, the world will go on turning and this is all part of the practice.
- Start small. It is better to follow your breath for a minute than to not meditate at all. If all you can manage is a minute today then start there. Perhaps tomorrow you will manage five minutes, next week ten. If you honestly cannot find a single minute in which to follow your breath you probably really need to reassess your life.
- Just do it. Even if we are feeling ill or have had the manic day from hell (especially then) we can still lie down, close our eyes and breathe.
- Take it one day at a time. If anyone told us we’d have to do anything every day for the rest of our lives that would be too overwhelming to cope with. Life isn’t like that; we only ever have to deal with life one moment at a time, one day at a time. You cannot change what happened yesterday but how you choose to respond to where you find yourself today will shape your life.
Finding the time is usually the main concern of those first setting out on their voyage of meditation. For me, really taking a look at what else I was spending my time doing was a revealing exercise – how much time do we spend checking Facebook, watching TV or procrastinating about life? We have to decide whether we are prepared to use some of that time for meditating instead.
Meditating every day is not always easy, you might not always want to do it, but once you have made it a habit and felt the enormous benefits you won’t want to go without it either.
Ultimately the thing which is usually standing in your way of your practice is you. Meditation is the process of recognising resistance and letting go – this takes place not only in the bit where we sit there and close our eyes but on the way there too, and throughout our lives.
The hardest journey is often the one to our seat.