So, You Wanna Meditate? 4 Tips for Starting

by | Mar 15, 2017 | Building Healthy Habits, Mood Modifiers, Self Care | 6 comments

You’ve probably heard, or read about, how beneficial meditation can be for your health and your peace of mind. Not to mention, your sense of well-being. As a result, you’re convinced. In fact, you’re ready to (gulp) try it yourself.

Correspondingly, you Google “how to meditate,” only to find there are zillions of approaches. Significantly, meditation comes in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins has ice creams! With this in mind, how do you choose the one best for you?

 

Meditation Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

First, you want to choose a meditation method that feels “right” to you. Next, it should be something you look forward to practicing once or twice a day. Finally, choose something you don’t see as a chore that you “should” or “have to” perform. In the long run, the secret to benefiting from meditation is in the ongoing practice.

To begin with, try a few different techniques. In effect, note how they “fit” on you, and in your lifestyle. If you find one works for you, and you look forward to doing it, great. If not, move to the next. Regardless, don’t give up. In general, once you find the “right” meditation technique for you, you’ll know it. Namely, it will be one you look forward to practicing.

 

Experiences of Others Who Meditate:

Courtney D: “I do anywhere from 10-30 minutes a day, but not at one time. I use the “Calm” app and its tracks, and rather than setting aside chunks of time I do it when I can (examples: walking to class, eating, etc.)”

Crystal B: “[I meditate] sometimes. and very late at night – like 11:00 – because I can’t get to sleep. I found a YouTube channel with calming music. and sometimes I put that on and flip through a magazine… I’m not good at sitting still for very long, so 5-10 minutes is like 10 weeks for me. I do sleep better.”

Nicole RH: “I started Reiki and meditation at 16 when my health was a mess. Right now, I only get a full 10-15-minute meditation in 2-3 times a week. I do quick 1-3-minute-deep breathing meditations daily. The sense of calm and connection I feel to the Universe when I meditate is what keeps me “going.“

Rachel: “On my runs/walks or in yoga I tend to zone out and just let my brain wander. I do this every day, anywhere between 10 minutes for a yoga cool down or 1.5 hours for a long walk. Average= 30 minutes”

 

My Experiments:

Over time, I experimented with various approaches:

  1. I attended a few formal meditation groups.
  2. I counted my breaths (1, 2, 3, 4).
  3. I listened to a 5-minute, guided meditation on YouTube.
  4. I practiced mindful eating.
  5. I explored three or four apps on my phone.
  6. I tried a popular coloring book and a couple of coloring apps

 

This is what I found:

  1. I don’t like organized groups.
  2. I couldn’t keep my attention on counting.
  3. I fell asleep when I listened to guided meditation.
  4. I felt guilty when I wasn’t mindful while eating.
  5. I argued with the meditation apps.
  6. I liked working with color, but didn’t find the coloring books or apps engaging.

 

My Personal Meditation Choice

Finally, I chose an approach that I could commit to – creating small watercolor paintings. It’s personal, I focus, and I enjoy the time I spend every day. I become engrossed in the process, time fades away, and I am grounded and refreshed when I finish. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes, sometimes longer. I look forward to the practice and miss it if I don’t do it.

 

4 Practical Tips to Choose a Meditation Practice:

  1. Consider your commitment: Usually, when you ask yourself this question, how long do I have to meditate?… you are probably asking a different question. In other words… “How little can I do and still get benefits?” In particular, for a lot of us, it’s more like submitting to an ancient form of self-inflicted torment. In reality, you can’t go wrong. With this in mind, start with a time frame you can manage (even 1 minute… really!).
  2. Consider the place: Surprisingly, a practice limited by circumstance limits you to finding the perfect setting. For example, if your life is busy, portable techniques that may be more successful for you.
  3. Define your goals: First, ask yourself what you want from a meditation technique. As an illustration, do you want to deal with stress? Or do you want to improve your health? Alternatively, are you looking for serenity, and possibly spiritual enlightenment?
  4. Make it personal: Finally, don’t take anyone’s word for anything. On the whole, your experience is the path; there is no other path.

 

Hope for the Bemused, Bothered, & Bewildered

Above all, I believe in your ability to challenge your current behavior and power up your life. In fact, I believe you can act differently and succeed. I just happen to offer an approach that is straightforward and realistic. Want to start?

 

Calm Your Mind; Power Up Your Life

My name is Jacqueline Gikow. Every week I publish an article about wellness (enriching your life), or health (getting active and fit). I believe I can point you in the right direction. Contact me for information, or with questions at Audacious-Aging.NYC®

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