Meditation is an exercise that increases our comfort with discomfort. In other words, it makes us more emotionally resilient over time. This is the top reason I recommend it to my clients no matter what their counseling or life coaching goals. Imagine being in a stressful situation, maybe it’s an argument with your spouse or a high pressure work negotiation. If you were better able to sit with that stress for a few seconds longer and feel less emotionally impacted, is it possible you would have a different and better outcome? Would that extra moment give you a chance to process and respond more rationally? If you answered “yes” to these questions, continue reading to learn 3 easy ways to start your mediation practice.
- Use a meditation app.
There are many excellent paid and free meditation apps available. Meditation apps are so convenient–you simply pull your phone out and select a guided meditation that fits your time window. The key to success with meditation apps is finding one you enjoy. Here are some things to consider.
- Look for an app that is easy to use. The last thing you want is to wrestle with clunky technology before you are trying to meditate.
- Consider the narrator’s voice. You obviously want to listen to a voice that immediately makes you feel relaxed and focused.
- Test out a few different guided meditations on topics that are relevant to you. Some are more concrete and others more “new agey.” You do not want to be turned off by the language used in the meditation, you want it to resonate with your way of thinking.
- Begin with 5 minutes.
There is this idea that mediation means sitting on the floor, in lotus position for 20 minutes, twice a day. When you are just starting out, meditating for a few minutes in any position is VERY difficult. That is normal. I suggest beginning with reasonable expectations while you are learning how to meditate and what you enjoy. Ultimately, you are trying to develop a daily mediation habit that you will continue for life. Striving for 5 minutes (we can all find 5 minutes!) of meditation each day allows you to establish that habit, and you can begin adding time when the practice is firmly established. As far as how you sit, begin with a place and position that is comfortable and promotes falling into a meditative zone. It doesn’t matter if you sit on the floor, in a comfortable chair, or in your car, just get started!
- Combine meditation with an existing habit.
As with any new behavior we want to adopt, the trickiest part can be remembering to follow through. I suggest taking out the decision-making and combining meditation with an already established habit. Maybe it’s turning on the coffee pot, washing your face at the end of the day, or going for coffee at 3PM. Think about your daily habits and choose one that happens in a location that would allow you to sit for 5 minutes and meditate. Before or after starting the coffee, sit in the kitchen and meditate. After you wash your face, sit in the bathroom and meditate. Before you grab that afternoon coffee, close your door and meditate. You get the idea, now give it a try!