I have to be brutally honest here – I rarely feel like meditating. The desire to sit down and still my mind doesn’t appeal, especially when I have a to-do list as long as my arm. It can very quickly seem like the least important thing to do … a luxury that time doesn’t afford. Besides, meditation is difficult. I almost find it easier to workout because at least I go through the motions and get an immediate result. Or I work with a trainer and join the dots of a simple workout. However, when we try to meditate, we feel alone in our endeavors. Alone, except for our chattering “monkey” mind who can drive us crazy!!!! I’ve been meditating for over 25 years, so I have kind of got the routine down. So here’s my little piece on how to meditate when you don’t feel like it!
But first, why meditate in the first place? Is it really necessary? Let’s look at the benefits:
And bottom line, meditation just makes me a happier person. When I meditate I am 50% happier, but even if you get 10% happier, it’s worth it. A book well-worth reading is, 10% Happier by Dan Harris.
Okay, so we now know that it’s going to do us good in every single area of our life. And if you don’t believe me, there’s plenty of research to prove my point, how do you start to meditate, or do it when you really don’t feel like it?
1. Moving Meditation: If you are really antsy, you might want to begin with a walking meditation. Walking meditation isn’t just going for a nice walk. There is a method to it. You basically become super mindful by way of breathing before you even set off. You walk really really slowly, savoring every step, sight, smell, sound. And all the while you stay absolutely connected to your breath. On a recent trip to Fiji, I practiced walking meditation daily, and it was magical. I am going to be teaching meditation, and walking meditation in one the most beautiful locations on Earth, Chateau Lake Louise in Canada. During my signature Mind Body Gorgeous retreat in April, you will be walking with me around this breathtaking lake every afternoon. I can promise you that it will be life changing. This is going to be a very small, deeply personal retreat. The reason being, that I want to work with you all on a personal level, to customize your wellness program. So, if you want to treat yourself to a top shelf, transformational wellness experience, there are still some spots left. I would love to see you there. If you have any questions about this upcoming retreat, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Start small: Instead of thinking you have to force yourself to sit down for 20 minutes, start with 5 minutes. If I’m really busy, I still just do a 5 minute short session because I’ve learned that something is better than nothing. Always do less than you think you can.
3. Create a daily routine. I highly recommend creating a morning or evening routine in which meditation is the key piece. I roll out my yoga mat, and grab my meditation cushion as soon as I wake up. If I don’t do this, I’ll get easily distracted, and then I’m done for! As I said, earlier, I never feel like doing it. But discipline and routine is my savior because rolling out that mat is now like brushing my teeth. I now do it subconsciously, and before I know it I’m sitting on that cushion.
4. Breathing is the gateway: When we are stressed out or thinking about something that takes out of the present moment, our breathing becomes shallow. We can trick our biology into calming down by practicing deep, controlled breathing. Just try breathing into your belly for 4 slow beats, and exhaling for 4 slow beats. Try about 10 cycles of this (never strain) – just keep is soft and easy. After this exercise, you’ll find your mind slowing down naturally.
5. Don’t try to stop your thoughts. This is the biggest mistake that newbie meditators make. You can’t stop your thoughts, so it will just frustrate you to try. The key is to become AWARE of your thoughts. As you become aware of your physical body, your breathing, your environment, you slowly ease yourself into a mindful state. And when you’re in this mindful state, you can begin to watch your thoughts. Just observe them WITHOUT ANY JUDGEMENT. If you find yourself judging your thoughts (“you’re such a mean person to think that way about that person”, etc,) try to be compassionate. Would you talk that way to a child? Would you shame a child for having those thoughts, and sharing them out loud? No!!! You would allow that child to speak their truth, you’d empathize, and make them feel understood. That’s how we need to treat our thoughts … because truly they are often like angry, hurt children!
There are numerous Apps that are very helpful: I like Head Space, Insight Timer, and Stop Breathe Think.
Here’s a video you might find useful on breathing. And if you like it, please subscribe to my Gorgeously Green channel!