Starting a Meditation Practice
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Ok, disclaimer. I'm not here to tell you all the million, bajillion reasons why you NEED to start a meditation practice. I get it. You have a lot of stuff going on and don't have time for a lot (I, for the record, do as well but I also understand I am me and you are you). Meditating is just like exercising. You have to be willing and ready to take on a new habit in your life and for most people, that's not something that necessarily happens overnight.
My journey to meditation started from extreme chaos. I had just had two kids and a business in the span of 14 months and I yearned for some semblance of peace. (You can read here how I started waking up at 5am to start my practice.) So In a way, I was called to it, just like we're called to exercising, for instance. Our bodies yearn for the physical movement, maybe from putting on excess weight or maybe from months of inactivity. My mind yearned to feel put together again, structured, if you will. I needed to feel like things were somewhat in control, and I felt that calming my anxiety and my mind would be the first step in accomplishing that.
What's so crazy is that in many ways, I feel like my life started over again around the time I had my kids and started my meditation practice simply because I'm 100% a new person. I react more calmly in situations, I don't sweat the small stuff or for the most part, worry about things about of my control, and I largely process before I explode (which is huge for any Aries fire sign that resorts to exploding 100% of the time).
So if you want to start meditating, I feel you. But know that if you want to start: 1) it takes practice and consistency; 2) you can't give up; and 3) you need to commit to doing it every day.
Ok, here goes.
1. Carve out a time and place to meditate every day.
This is so important, especially carving out a time, because your day will suck you in before you know it, leaving you with little to no time for yourself. I recommend waking up early to have some time to yourself or waiting until right before bed to help you wind down. I like to meditate laying down but some people like to do it sitting upright. Whatever works for you! There's no right or wrong way just make yourself comfortable.
2. Start with Guided Meditations.
It's really difficult to quiet your mind. And this is the biggest reason why people either don't start or don't follow through with meditating. Guided meditations are the easiest meditations to finish because they actually guide you through what you "should" be thinking about. To be honest, I'm 3 years into my practice and I still prefer guided meditations (especially if I'm going to meditate for more than 10 minutes). I love insight timer because you can search different topics (stress, fear, chakra healing), narrow the searches down by time, and meditate on whatever you've got going on at the moment. I'm a big fan of Sarah Blondin meditations so if you want to start somewhere, start with her recordings. I find her to be so inspiring and VERY easy to listen to.
3. Start Simple and Small.
5 minutes. That's all you need. Don't pressure yourself to meditate more, especially when you're just starting out. You can build from 5 minutes overtime but the idea is to get a habit going before you start committing big time. Which is more doable: exercising for 5 minutes every day or exercising for 30 minutes every day? The 5 minutes, obviously. Start small!
4. Keep the Faith
Meditation is very much a "practice" for a reason. You're going to start off with a million thoughts running through your head. To be honest, that will probably happen for a few months. And I KNOW that's the reason most people give up. I was talking about this with a few friends recently and one of them said "I think too much about what I have to do during meditation so I just stopped. It's too hard for me." NOOO! I thought. DON'T STOP! DON'T GIVE UP! It's hard for everyone at the beginning. It was SO hard for me. But I didn't give up.
You have to keep going. Eventually, the thoughts will be easier to manage - they never fully go away because you're human, but they do become easier to push out. And sometimes the entire meditation will consist of you pushing out thoughts and that's totally ok. Give yourself grace through the process. Trust me, even the pushing out thoughts is contributing to calming your mind.
Overtime you'll start to realize how much easier it all becomes. And the best part is that overtime you'll see the benefits on your body and your mind. It happens with time, just like the benefits of exercise happen overtime, but eventually, from one day to the next, you'll realize how much better you cope with your emotions and your thoughts. It's worth it, I swear!