Quite opposite of New Age hype, meditation is a centuries-old mindfulness technique, often attributed to Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual traditions.
For many, meditation brings many health benefits: increased focus, better self-awareness, better sleep habits, and reduced stress and anxiety.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we could all use a little more piece of mind as we get through this.
But why is it so hard for some people to practice meditation?
Often people get frustrated from not being able to sit still for the time it takes to practice, and the thought of not thinking makes it near impossible to get into a mediation space!
In a modern world where losing focus is as easy as clicking an app on your phone, not being able to concentrate can lead to a lot of negative consequences that impact work and home life.
What's more, during Coronavirus your work and home life might even be completely intertwined!
Therefore practicing meditation is more important than ever before to counteract your mind being over-stimulated.
Here are three excuses people tell themselves about practicing daily meditation and how to get around them so you can start reaping the benefits of this key mindfulness ritual!
Too Busy is a Lie
“I’m too busy” isn’t ever a true statement if it is important to you.
Yes, that’s right, I’m calling it. You’re not too busy to meditate for five to ten minutes every day.
Think about how much time we spend scrolling Instagram or grabbing drinks with friends after work. Why do we have time for these things?
Because we have made a habit of prioritizing them over things we deem less important or interesting.
You are never too busy for something you are prioritizing. You do have a finite amount of hours in a day though. As the ancient proverb goes, you have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé.
So if your mental and physical wellness is important to you, make time in your schedule for meditation.
This may mean cutting something out that you don’t need to focus on right now, but the benefits of being mindful are going to positively impact all areas of your life, so prioritize it!
Everything is So Noisy
Inside and outside of us, everything can be a potential distraction from being present in the moment.
Our minds love to be stimulated and kept busy, so doing the opposite of this and giving it a rest can feel unnatural.
And as we age, the daily responsibilities we juggle add up, leaving our minds frazzled and not sure what to focus on first.
You might also have a couple roommates around, or perhaps pets and spouses and children. The TV might be on and the neighbors downstairs are arguing again.
Maybe you live on a busy road and there is constant noise.
The point of meditation and mindfulness is to be able to quiet your mind when everything around you isn’t so calm.
Once you strengthen your meditation muscle through daily practice, it will be much easier to get into this headspace in a distracting environment.
But for now, find your ritual spot. A ritual spot is just a place you will go every day where you are the least likely to get interrupted for 5–10 minutes.
Perhaps even give people a heads up ahead of time so they know not to disturb you.
Set your timer (I like to use the Calm app for guiding breath and meditation practice), take a deep breath, and clear your mind.
Let thoughts come and go, but don’t hold onto them or resist them.
If you find it hard to follow a basic meditation ritual, try other ways of focusing yourself such as noticing your senses.
Scrapping the First Draft
People can be perfectionists, and meditation demands we are comfortable in sitting with our imperfections.
Often, someone will sit down and try to clear their mind for five minutes, then get frustrated that they aren’t “doing it right”, and give up.
Sound like you?
Here’s something that will blow your mind then: it is IMPOSSIBLE to get meditation wrong!
It requires daily repetition and practice to be able to quickly get into a quiet-mind state. Yes, daily means every day.
Trying to do anything once and instantly expecting to be a pro is unrealistic and sets you up for disappointment in yourself.
Meditation is mental exercise, and it takes repetition to master.
Find a space daily where you are least distracted, and set your timer for five minutes.
After a few weeks of sitting with yourself, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to focus your mind!
The Seven Day Challenge
Start off with a weeklong challenge, and track your minutes and feelings as you come to the end of your daily ritual.
It does take about 21 days to form a new habit, so build yourself up to this and keep practicing!
Practicing meditation for a small sacrifice of time daily will reap maximum rewards for your overall mental and physical well-being.
And the best part? It is a self-care practice that can be done virtually anywhere for free. It’s accessible to everyone, regardless of situation or salary.
Have you been practicing? What are the benefits you’ve noticed for yourself?
Happy mindfulness travels!