Meditating may seem complicated at first. You might think it is only reserved for a couple of very spiritual people. Before my interest for self development started to grow, I used to think the same. That meditating was a waste of my time until I realized how beneficial it could be. There are certainly many articles and books on this theme but, since I like simple things I wanted to give you 5 tips to help you start meditating.
1. Make it part of your morning routine
I noticed that for many people the best moment to meditate is in the morning, even if you are someone who struggles to go out of your bed. Indeed making your meditation session part of your morning routine along with brushing your teeth, making your bed, having breakfast etc will help you associate it with something normal to do. Also, it is easier to start your day with meditation before everything starts to get hectic. It will also set you in a better mood for the rest of day.
2. Find a relaxing spot
This is also important if you want to extract all the benefits from your meditation. Choose a nice and relaxing spot in your house. Do not lay in your bed because when you meditate you should actually be active. Therefore your positioning is key. You could for example sit on your couch (back straight) surrounded with some pillows and plants or directly on the floor if you have a soft carpet or a beanbag. Meditating should be associated with something that keeps you calm and focus at the same time. Besides, once you have your spot, it will be easier for you to make an habit of it.
3. Write your thoughts down
I have found that writing my thoughts down before starting to meditate helps me take consciousness of them. Write the 3 first thoughts that come to your mind. They could be positive or negative. Then, you could focus your meditation on these 3 thoughts until you are used to the process. You should try to stay true to them and not judge nor try to change them. Another tip would be to read a book for 10-15 minutes before meditating. Preferably on a topic that is interesting to you and that will enable you to unlock your thoughts and ideas.
4. Set a timer
You don’t actually need to sit there for hours. You will not be able to focus for that long at the beginning anyway. I would recommend you to start with 5 minutes of meditation. Set a timer once you are comfortably seated. I personally divide my session in 1 to 2 minutes per exercise. There are also several free apps that can guide you on the different parts of your meditation. Usually I do as follows:
- Take deep breaths in and out, focus on my breathing and my body sensations, start relaxing my muscles (1 min)
- Let my thoughts flow and observe them, notice how I feel about them (2 min)
- Take consciousness of my current state, compare it with how I felt at the beginning of the session (1 min)
- Take deep breaths in and out to finish and make sure I am still relaxed (1 min)
5. Be grateful
After the time is up, now that I feel positive about my day, I like to think of 3 things for which I am grateful. I also made an habit of writing them down in my notebook. It is indeed something that you could do at any point during the day, especially when you feel like things are not going your way. It allows you to relativize the issues and focus on the positive. The same way negative affirmations could shatter your self trust, positive affirmations will help you achieve your goals faster. As one says “fake it until you make it”. Even if you don’t believe it, just try this for a couple of days and see how it changes your behavior and attitude.