So, you've read up on meditation, heard everyone from your aunt to your dentist talking about how great meditation is. You feel ready to give it a try. Here are a few tips to help you get started and avoid getting discouraged.
Meditation is challenging so it’s important to start small and not overwhelm yourself. Often beginners to meditation give themselves too much time starting out, become frustrated and give up. I would encourage you to start very small, about three to five minutes a day, if that. Even just a minute of meditation is helpful. What’s more important is becoming consistent. Just like with a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it becomes.
Find What Resonates With You
Try out a few meditations and see which fits you best. (In my next post, I'll go over different meditation practices to try). If you have a lot of energy and struggle to sit still, a sitting mindfulness meditation may be too much. Try a walking meditation instead. Everyone is different and finding what works for you is important.
Like any new habit, it’s important to make it part of your daily routine. This means scheduling a time everyday that is realistic. Don’t set an intention to meditate in the morning if you already struggle with waking up on time and always rush to get ready. Set yourself up for success. Remember, when you are first starting out it does not need to be a long time, just a few minutes daily. Meditating either first thing in the morning or right before bed is usually best. But everyone is different. Find what works for you.
Give it Time
Because meditation is hard, it’s common for people to give up and determine they cannot do it (see my previous post on meditation myths). Keep these other tips in mind and give it time. Only trying meditation once or twice is not enough. Try a meditation practice that works well for you, at a set time everyday, for at least a few weeks and then see how you feel.
Be Gentle on Yourself
It’s important when beginning a meditation practice to be compassionate with yourself. It’s normal to become distracted and restless. This does not mean you are “doing it wrong.” When this happens, try to be gentle with yourself and recognize this is normal. Give yourself credit that you are dedicating this time for yourself and your well being.