You’ve been hearing the praises of meditation (and the seemingly endless list of benefits) for quite some time now… it seems like everyone’s doing it! But if you feel like you just can’t quite “get it,” you’re certainly not alone. So many of us struggle with quieting our minds — and not just in the beginning of our meditation journey! It’s straight-up hard to turn down the volume in your brain, and it takes consistent practice for it to feel even slightly easy.
Don’t give up. Just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean you’re “bad” at meditating. Ahead, simple and effective tips to make things flow a little more smoothly with a fool-proof 5-step meditation starter guide.
Your Go-to Five-Step Meditation Starter Guide
#1 Write Out All Your to-dos Ahead of Time
Something that might plague your brain as you try to quiet your thoughts? Everything you have to do. That mental to-do list can run rampant, causing a big fuss in your brain as you try to quiet things down. It can also cause panic, particularly if you feel the urge to write a thought down because you may forget it.
The fix? Jot down your to-dos, thoughts, ideas, etc, before you sit down to meditate.
#2 Start Small
Don’t jump into a 20-minute — or even a 10-minute meditation when you’re getting started. In fact, you may want to keep it to two or three minutes in the beginning. Get acclimated to the feeling of sitting still and releasing thoughts. Your body will also be getting used to the posture of sitting cross-legged with a straight spine, so ease into this for your body’s sake, as well.
In time, you can ease into a five-minute meditation, and eventually a 10, and then… who knows? You might be a pro who can spend hours in blissful silence and peace.
#3 Use a Guide
Don’t go it alone! A guided meditation with audio can help tremendously with keeping your mind focused and on track. Allow an expert to guide you through a mindfulness practice, so you don’t have to do any guesswork. This will allow you to release thoughts and expectations as you’re gently led through your minutes of peacefulness.
#4 Keep it Scheduled
In order to improve your practice — your meditation “muscle,” if you will — you’ve gotta keep it consistent (just like your workouts!). Schedule a time every single day for you to spend just a few minutes in your practice. This will quickly become a habit, and even if it’s still a bit of a struggle, the consistency will pay off in spades.
#5 Try Different Formats and Programs
Not everyone needs a lot of guidance — and then others need a lot. Some people like to focus on their breath, while others like to chant a mantra. What works for you is going to be totally different from what works for your favorite wellness blogger.
If you’re a beginner, you’re perfectly primed to try all sorts of programs to feel out what type of meditation you gravitate toward, and what works best for your brain. (Try: Be Present Meditation)
Each of these tips should help you not only get started on the right foot but set you up for more success and less frustration. Experiment a little, and go easy on yourself (remember: this is *not* about perfection, it’s about the effort you put into taking care of yourself!).