Everyone and their dog is meditating... HOW?
Dear lord, meditation did not come easily to me. I was on serious Struggle Street when I started. Sitting or lying down to do NOTHING? Absolutely nothing. To just be?! As if that is achievable!
It was a long and inconsistent journey full of ups, downs, and everything in-between. I stuck with it because EVERYONE was banging on about the benefits. When I started meditating I'd think of my endless to-do list or that checkout assistant I'd said "Hi, how are you?" to earlier who's completely ignored me and wondering what I'd done to upset them. I'd been consumed with (looking back I realize to be) ridiculous, stressful, and often negative thoughts.
What I found was a time to organize my thoughts and usually be unkind to myself under all the pressure I'd put myself under on a regular basis. Nobody wants to feel like that. This all added to my meditation struggle. Don't get me wrong I may be a daily practitioner now but some days I slip straight back into that habit. Here's what I found to make it easier:
Start with guided meditations or mantras
This gives your thoughts a direction even if it's as simple as counting, listening to your breath, or bringing focus to different parts of your body.
You can also research guided visualizations or specific mantras that can help you work through your past, present, and future.
This stops the negative inner monologue that we may have with ourselves.
Don't set an overwhelming time goal
Meditate for as long as you can. Do not start with an hour-long session and make it difficult to add to your life. It has to be an easy addition or it feels like a chore.
My favorite meditation has always been and will always be a 3-minute Focus Meditation*. It gives me clarity and brain space, without fail, every time.
If you are super busy and stressed you're going to really benefit from that meditation. However, this is the exact situation where you don't want to or have the time to meditate. Choose something short and tailored to what you need.
Sit how you want and be comfortable
You don't have to sit in full lotus with your arms stretched in an unnatural position with the perfect posture (all while feeling like a freaking pretzel) to be 'qualified' to meditate. You can meditate anytime, anyhow, and with as much support as you want. See some suggestions throughout this post.
Whether you are seated or lying down just make sure you are comfortable. It's not meditation if you are only concerned with the fact that one of your feet has fallen asleep.
Top tip for those who sit crossed-legged while they meditate and experience pins and needles. Shift your shoulders forward and over the knees. Tingles be gone!
You can do it! Very rarely are people gifted in being good at meditation from the get-go and it takes some of us (myself included) longer than others to experience the true benefits. You have to practice meditation and work your brain as if it were a muscle just like you'd exercise in the gym. Coming from someone who struggled, the struggle is worth it but you'll never know if you don't give it a try.
*My go-to meditation is a 3-minute focus meditation by Deepak Chopra. It centers me in all situations and reconnects me to myself. Check it out: