Meditation can seem daunting, or at the very least, confusing. There are loads of different meditation practices, apps, and teachers, which may leave you feeling overwhelmed in the beginning. So whether you've never tried meditating before, or have tried and given up, here are five tips that will help you become a master meditator.
1. Be patient with yourself. One of the things I often hear from new meditators is that they don’t think they’re doing it right because they're still thinking. It’s totally normal to feel that way, but meditating is not completely shutting off your mind. Meditating is focusing on something like the breath and training your mind to come back to its focal point every time a new thought appears. You will likely never completely quiet your mind, so the real work is practicing becoming quicker at noticing when your mind wanders – something that takes time and patience. Think of learning meditation like learning a new instrument -- it takes a lot of time, practice, and consistency to get the hang of it.
2. Find an app or guided meditation teacher that works for you.
Some people like guided meditation, others only want to listen to nature sounds, or nothing at all. Find what works best for you. There are countless apps, YouTube videos, and teachers to suit all types of personalities. If you don’t like one, move on to another – there’s no need to suffer through it.
3. Start with 10 minutes.
You don’t need to jump straight into hour-long meditations. Start with just 10 minutes, or something that feels more doable and less daunting. Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of meditation app Headspace, is famous for his Ted Talk explaining why 10 mindful minutes is all you need.
4. Choose a comfortable spot.
Whether you opt for sitting on a meditation cushion, a dining chair, or against your headboard, make sure you’re in a comfortable position that you can hold for the length of the meditation. While we all may aspire to sit for hours in full lotus position, there’s no need to start there. Simply find a quiet space where you can have good posture with your knees level or below your hips.
5. Pick a time of day to do it consistently.
One way to help make meditating a habit is to make it a part of your routine by choosing to do it in the same place at the same time each day. If you find it easiest to practice in the morning first thing after waking up, do it then; or if it fits easiest into your schedule at 9 p.m., do it then. Set a daily alarm or reminder to help you stick to a consistent schedule.