"I can't meditate."
"I'm unable to sit still."
"My brain doesn't shut off."
Awesome! Me too.
Let's get clear on what meditation is and is not. Meditation is the practice and intention of turning off the mental chatter so that you can simply sit with yourself and be truly present. It does not mean that you actually sit there in stillness with zero thoughts. It's about the practice, not the mastery. Don't get lost with how you should look or what you should experience.
Why should you even bother meditating? Because it's really good for you. Meditation has been shown to improve your ability to think clearly and focus; reduce depression and anxiety; lower stress; improve mood, increase creativity and cognitive skills; improve energy levels, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and lead to an overall better quality of life. It's just as important as a heathy diet, yoga practice, fresh air, and exercise.
Are you ready to give it a try?
How to meditate:
- Eat a little snack if you're starving. Nothing is more distracting than being hungry.
- Minimize environmental distractions. Turn off your phone. Lock up your kids and pets. Kidding of course, but seriously, have someone else watch them for the few minutes this takes. Close the door. Dim the lighting.
- Get comfortable. I actually rarely sit when I meditate. It's so uncomfortable for me, and then I just think about how uncomfortable I am. I prefer lying down, and I've never gotten too sleepy doing so. If lying down makes you fall asleep right away try sitting up, and please please please go to bed earlier and get more sleep!
- Set a timer. When it goes off you're done. Try for 3-5 minutes to start. Do not check the timer until it dings even if it feels like an eternity has gone by. It's amazing how long a minute feels when you first give it a go.
- Close your eyes or let your vision go fuzzy, and breathe! Focus on your breath. You can count the length of the inhale and exhale if that helps.
- When the mind wanders, bring your awareness back to your breath. Your mind will wander. It will relive past experiences. It will make up future ones. It will think about dinner. This is all part of the process, and does not mean you are incapable of meditating. This happens to everyone. When you catch your mind elsewhere simply return your focus to the breath.
- Don't judge yourself!
That's it! I'd love to here how it goes.