On a balmy Thursday morning, the lovely girl I was training with, who was also a licensed yoga teacher, suggested ending our lesson with a short meditating session. Blinking rapidly, I told her, quite honestly, that I felt that meditating seemed a bit airy fairy, and not quite up my street.
She only smiled knowingly, and at the end of a brutal lesson, gently guided me into a meditating session that was light, and calming, and peaceful. My body, which had been put through its paces, was completely relaxed, and my normally frenetic mind was, for once, quiet.
When I stopped training with her, I stopped making time to meditate, but as life has been getting busier and more uncertain, I’ve been craving the introspection and relaxation that it brought me. I started meditating again a while ago, and it’s been more than helpful for me, so I thought I would share my five favourite tips with for meditating successfully with you today.
1. Try more than once.
If you’ve never meditated before, it can be hard to figure out where, when, and how to start. I’ve found there to be two different styles of meditation: you can do it on your own, or you can choose to follow a guided meditation, where a trainer guides you along.
I personally really enjoy listening to guided meditations, but you might find that you love the stillness of being by yourself and quieting your thoughts. Whichever style of meditation you choose, do try it more than once.
Meditating takes practise, and you might have a little trouble finding your focus and your concentration after just one session. But, after trying it a handful of times, you’ll discover that it not only gets easier, but that you’ll reap the benefits.
2. Try meditating at different times and in different ways.
In discovering which style of meditation works for you, try meditating during different times of the day to see which time works best. Maybe it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, after you’ve just woken up, or during your lunch break, or late at night, just before you go to bed. I prefer the latter, processing my thoughts about the day and quieting my body and mind before I go to sleep.
And try meditating in different ways to see which is the most comfortable for you. You can sit in a chair, with your back straight and your feet touching the floor. You can sit on your sofa, with your legs crossed underneath you. You can lie down on your bed or on a yoga mat, if you have one. I personally prefer lying down.
3. Start small.
It can be tempting to try and set aside hours each day to meditate, but if you’re just starting out, start small. It’s always possible to increase the time you spend meditating if you find it to be beneficial, but you want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure right away.
Once you’ve built it up to a daily habit, you’ll notice that you can do longer sessions, if you so prefer.
4. Do it alone.
Whilst it can be more fun to meditate when there are others around, I would recommend you do it by yourself, in a quiet room, when you’re just starting out. Meditating is about focusing your thoughts inwards, and that can be difficult when you have friends, children, loved ones, or colleagues about.
Once you’re proficient in meditating, you can try doing it when you’re with others, but I’ve personally found that it’s very nice to take that time for yourself.
5. Focus on the emotion you’re feeling most strongly.
Your emotions can be complex, and unless you’re Ron Weasley, you’re likely to be feeling a lot of them at the same time. Meditating can help you process your emotions, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by them, it can be helpful to focus on those emotions during meditating.
I’ve found guided meditations to be particularly helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed, as they’re aimed at identifying, untangling and processing emotions.
My Favourite Guided Meditations
Overall, successfully meditating is a process, and you’ll likely need to practise it several times to get the hang of it. To help you along, here are some of my favourite guided meditations:
- If you want to make meditation a daily habit: try Headspace, a meditation app. Given the current situation, they are offering free support in the form of a special meditation series. Find out more here.
- If you want to calm your mind: try this calming meditation session from The Honest Guys.
- If you need help falling asleep: try this 20-minute meditation session, or this 60-minute meditation session, both from The Honest Guys.
Have you ever tried meditating? What was your favourite way to start? Did you absolutely hate it or is it a godsend? Let me know in the comments below!