How to Meditate: 6 Tips for Beginners
First, it’s a habit, akin to brushing my teeth. Second, there is a clear difference between a Holly who meditates and a Holly who doesn’t. Third, if you practice it long enough, it can be better than any drug you’ve ever taken. Fourth, it’s a coping mechanism. I reach for it when I need it the way I used to reach for Netflix, wine, pot, a cigarette, a credit card or a footlong from Subway.
Action item: Take a few minutes to check in with yourself. What is your motivation? Why are you reading this article? What do you want more than anything? Write a short list of the things you want to achieve in your life — big or small — and how meditation will help you achieve them. At the top of the list, write down, “I choose to meditate to achieve these things.” Stick it somewhere you’ll read it daily.
2. Realize Anyone Is Capable of Doing It
Most people think they aren’t capable of meditating. I assure you, if I can, then you can. I used to tell myself I was not cut out for it, that I was different and it wouldn’t work. That type of self-talk sets up your subconscious to work against trying it. Get your subconscious on board to try it out by visualizing yourself doing it.
Action item: A week before you start your practice, get your subconscious on board by visualizing yourself meditating for a few seconds a few times throughout the day — whatever that looks like to you — with as much positive detail as possible. We are what we think we are.
3. Make the Time
Everyone and their grandma think they don’t have time to meditate. Gabby Bernstein says it best: If you have time to feel like crap, you definitely have time to meditate. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking or a long practice. Start with five minutes a day, and if you like it, you can build from there. Like anything else in life, if we make the time for it, we make it happen.
Action item: Pick a start date, then pick a time that will work for you and put it on your calendar. Same time, same place, every day.
4. Make It Special
Rituals are important. They bring meaning and order to simple tasks, and they keep us on track. If you want to make the practice stick, make it something special and something to look forward to. This can be anything, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Maybe it’s a meditation shawl you wear or a pillow you sit on. Maybe it’s lighting a candle or rubbing some lavender oil on you. Maybe you even create a meditation corner or an altar that you go to every day. Whatever it is, make it a special occasion and something you want to return to every day. I use the same scarf, I burn oil and I always have a cup of tea with me.