Some easy, actionable tips for modern-day living.
I always thought meditation was for people who had way too much time on their hands, it all just felt a bit indulgent and something I wouldn’t be good at. Who has the time to sit still and not think about anything for 20mins?!
But, driven by a need for self-healing, I took a Transcendental Meditation course, And six years on, I’m still hooked.
For years I was listening to and was overwhelmed by the negative voices in my head. There's, my brat voice, “You don’t have the time Lisa, you have loads of other priorities”. Then there's my chicken voice, “It’s a waste of time and money, and you won’t be any good at it anyway”. And, my continuous competitive voice that makes me break out into a sweat anytime I dare attempt something outside of my comfort zone. If you’re anything like me, it’s a daily battle listening to all of these voices inside your head.
But meditation is worth it. Because you're worth it. Taking time for yourself is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Time to shift your focus inwards as that is your way outwards. Practicing meditation - or mindfulness - will help you live with more balance and love in your heart. Love for yourself first (inwards), and in turn all others (outwards).
Here are three simple tips that have helped me on my journey so far, and I hope they'll help you too.
1. Give yourself the gift of time
Set aside the same time every day to practice. Whether you start at 5mins,10mins, and work up to 20 minutes is up to you. On a good day I practice 20mins first thing in the morning around 6.30am and then again before dinner around 7pm. My morning practice is the one I always keep because it helps anchor me in the day ahead. It’s on my iphone calendar so it helps ensure i have the time protected. Keeping to the same time everyday will help you create and form a new good habit. And give yourself a break if you miss a day, as it’s ok to mess up when things get crazy. James Clear, Author of ‘Atomic Habits’ says that, “Building better habits (Takes time) is not an all-or-nothing process.”
2. Be kind to your wandering mind
The goal of mediation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting your thoughts control you. Check out “The Power Of Now” by Eckhard Tolle who said, “To realise that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.” When I first heard this it blew my mind as it radically changed the idea of what my thoughts are. Now, when I’m meditating and thoughts come, I simply remind myself, these are just thoughts, to let them go, and to pass no judgment. It’s amazing how this thought process has enabled me to remain in flow and trust myself more often than not. Next time you sit down to meditate in your quiet space and you catch yourself overthinking, try kindly reminding yourself that these are just thoughts and to let them go. Repeat this as often as you like, no judgment.
3. Breathe, Breathe Breathe
Another thing that blew my mind was the power of the simple action of bringing attention to my breath. I can calm myself down, relax and let go faster simply by focusing on my breath. Once you’ve taken a seat in a place that is quiet, you’re sitting comfortably and you’ve closed your eyes, simply give yourself permission to relax. You can do this by bringing attention to your breath. Feel the belly rise and fall as you breathe. Sometimes if I’m particularly stressed from work or dealing with something and I’m aware I’m overthinking, I’ll take three deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then I start meditating. For more on a specific method see, “Three deep breaths” by Thomas Crum. In this book, you’ll find a relatable hero in Angus, a harried worker struggling to achieve that ever-elusive work/life balance, whose story illustrates this deceptively simple, extraordinarily effective technique in action. It’s amazing how just three deep breaths bring perspective and relief to both the mind, and the body.
Meditation is a comforting tool, and with work, you will find yourself learning, breathing, feeling, and healing. Give yourself some tender loving care. Good luck with your practice.
Peace, love and light.