“Did I leave the cooker on?”
“Oh no, I forgot to buy milk, but I also forgot to buy cereal.”
“Do I have anything at the dry cleaners?”
“OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?”
If you’re anything like me, these are the types of thoughts that run through your head while you’re trying to meditate. I start out with the best of intentions but before I can even say “OHM”, I’m stressing out about having accomplished nothing in my life and I’m pretty sure that is the exact opposite of the point of meditation. So what are we to do?
We can’t help it if we have super active brains, it’s a sign of intelligence (I’m totally making that up). I know the benefits of meditation (improvement in general concentration, increased blood flow, decreased muscle tension, reduced PMS, enhanced immune system, reduced anxiety, lower oxygen consumption, and so on and so forth). I know I should be meditating, but every time I try it, it’s a one-way ticket to frustration city. I’ve been scouring the internet and I think I’ve found a few of the most helpful meditation tips, and one that is absolutely ridiculous.
Make it a formal practice. Sorry, but hitting the snooze button a couple times in the morning does not qualify as meditating (guilty). Be deliberate. Try to get up 20-30 minutes early for some morning meditation. Morning is ideal for most of us because it’s quieter, your brain isn’t full of a day’s worth of nonsense, and there’s less of a chance of being interrupted. Wake up, go into a different room (or outside), stretch, and meditate.
Try a candle. Meditating can be challenging for us newbies, and a candle can act as a point of focus. A visual cue like a candle can help you strengthen and focus your attention.
Commit to the long haul. Practice makes perfect, even with meditation. Like pretty much everything else in life you are not going to be amazing at meditation the first few times you try (and if you are one of those people who are instantly amazing at everything they try, I kind of hate you). Stick with meditation, give it at least a month.
Meditation is about letting go. Meditation is not about visualizing, focusing, concentrating, or trying to clear your mind. It’s about letting go, so relax and let it go.
But don’t stress if you can’t let it go. Your mind wandered to Breaking Bad or your kid’s science project, hey it happens. You’re not perfect, your meditation is not going to be perfect. When your mind starts to wander don’t get worked up, just try to refocus.
Experiment. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Eyes open or closed, sitting up or lying down, inside or outside, music or silence, try any and all combinations until you find something that works for you.
Pick a mantra, or don’t. A mantra is basically a word to keep you focused. “Om” is probably the most well known mantra, but another recommended mantra is “one.” If you feel silly or a mantra just isn’t for you, don’t sweat it. You don’t need to use a mantra and there’s no need to force it.
Finish up with some gratitude. Try to spend the last few minutes of your meditation being grateful. Be grateful for the opportunity to practice meditation, be grateful for your mind’s ability to focus, heck be grateful for the sweet parking spot you got, just feel gratitude for something.
Try a 30-minute foot soak pre-meditation. Okay, here’s that one useless tip I promised you. Listen, I would love a relaxing foot soak every day, but who has the time? And by adding a 30-minute foot soak I’m now trying to squeeze an hour of meditation time into my already jam packed day. But hey, if you have the time enjoy your foot soak for me. I’m jealous.
From Skinny Mom