We’ve all heard the benefits of meditation. It reduces stress, encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases happiness and self-awareness, and can help our bodies heal faster. But how do you meditate when you mind is loud AF? Is it possible to not suck at meditation?
I asked these same questions over a decade ago. After a few years of infertility treatment, I decided to try acupuncture and meditation to help me get over my fear of needles. There were several injections multiple times a day during IVF, and I wasn’t happy about it. The fear was in my head, which meant I couldn’t get out of my head and I needed some help.
So I saw a wonderful acupuncturist and spiritual teacher who worked at the fertility clinic. The first time I tried to disconnect from my mind it was hard. All I was thinking about was that one of the needles was stinging, and I had to pee, and how many more minutes? And man this music is awful. I couldn’t de-stress or relax. How was this supposed to work?
The next time I met her she guided me a little more and taught me to just breathe. She showed me what being present meant and I was able to release. I went into my heart and felt this amazing light seep into my body. It was so calming and relaxing and for the first time, I felt myself connect to a source bigger than all of us. It was incredible and euphoric, and I wanted more. So I bought some meditation CD’s and got to work.
Fast forward to today and there are so many tools I wish I had back then. Can you believe I cultivated a meditation practice without a smartphone? (mind boggling) I, of course, lost my meditation ways after having kids. There was always something to do, not to mention postpartum anxiety disorder plus more IVF and surgeries. But when my anxiety reared it’s ugly head again last year, I picked back up my practice. So I thought I’d share some tips that helped me totally not suck at meditation.
5 tips to help you not suck at meditation
Make Time – If you really want to make a change, you have to set aside time every day. It’s a called a practice for a reason people, you have to practice! (Cue Allen Iverson, “You talking about practice?!”) You probably won’t get it the first time, or maybe the first 10 times but don’t give up! It’s worth it, I promise.
Pick a Place That Inspires You – So here’s the deal, you don’t have to go to a Buddhist monastery or get a special beaded cushion to meditate. Find a place that inspires you. It could be the beach, the mountains, your backyard, or your favorite room in the house. Just pick a place where you’re comfortable.
Find a Guided Meditation – There are so many apps and YouTube channels now specifically for meditation, so start there. Insight Timer is free, and Simple Habits is my favorite. You can get a FREE two-week free trial here and 30% off using code Kristen.
Breathe – The crux of meditation comes from focusing on your breath, it’s so important to just breathe. Where do you feel it? Your belly or chest? What does it feel like in your nose? These are the things I think about. You can also say a mantra if you like to stay focused while breathing. Breathe in the light and feel your worries melt away.
Stay Present – The awesome thing about meditation is it helps you to relax and stay present. And staying present is a great way to stay mindful and connected. So what does that mean? While you’re tying your shoes think about tying your shoes. While you’re making a cup of tea think about the warm cup, the stirring of the liquid, and how the tea feels in your mouth. If you are playing a game with the kids think about Candyland, not the laundry and the 8,000 emails waiting for you. If we continue to focus on the now we won’t get lost in the future or tangled in the past.
Remember you can do this, you just have to give yourself some time. And remember there are courses out there as well. Some of my favorites are Andy Hobson, Conscious Feminine Medicine, and Sara Avant Stover.
This is also the topic of my new podcast BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. I interviewed my favorite meditation teacher from the app Simple Habits, Andy Hobson! We chat all about learning to meditate, overcoming anxiety, his favorite inspirational books, and how to teach our kids to be mindful. I hope you’ll give it a listen – his soothing voice lures my daughter and I to sleep each night and I hope it can help you too!
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