How to meditate? What do I have to do? What apps should I use? These are just some of the questions I found myself googling when I first started meditating.
I love meditation and I honestly believe that it helped me to get my life back on track when I hit an incredible low point early in 2018. It helps me to deal with my anxiety and/or negative thoughts and it calms me down so I feel grounded and ready to take on the world again. Without meditation I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today.
I’ve been meditating for over a year now and try to meditate once a day. At first I used the free trial on the Headspace app and it helped me to understand the basics. Now I use an app called Insight Timer which has thousands and thousands of free guided and non-guided meditations. They even do courses although you have to pay for most of them.
Here are some of the questions I’m asked or comments that have been made when I’m taking to others about meditation. Hopefully this will help you get started too.
I can’t stop thinking!
This is perfectly normal, I promise. You don’t have to be able to switch your thoughts off to meditate ‘properly’. Our brains aren’t designed to do nothing so random thoughts will just pop into your head. The point of meditation is to learn to recognise that you are thinking and to acknowledge it. You can then get back to focusing on your breath. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and not tell yourself off for having these thoughts pop up.
Your brain is like a naughty monkey who is trying anything to get your attention. I’ve named my monkey Maurice and, over time, will help him to just chill out and enjoy the moment.
Do I have to sit or lie down?
Either, whatever feels more comfortable for you. I try to meditate in different seats/sofas/floors/places so that I don’t get reliant on one position. If I’m away from my usual armchair then I want to be able to grab a cushion, get comfy and meditate.
Headphones… yes or no?
It’s up to you! Try with and without, see what works better for you. I can meditate with or without headphones, it depends on how much chatter I have in my head that day. If I know that meditating is going to be a bit of a challenge, I’ll put my headphones in to help my focus.
How long should I meditate for?
However long you want. Some days I’ll do just 5 minutes and other days I’ll do 15-20 minutes. It depends how busy my day is. Mixing up the length of meditation helps me to plan it in my diary and not stress out about whether I’ve got time or not. I can find a few minutes to brush my teeth every day so I can find a few minutes to meditate.
What do I do during meditation?
You breathe. Remember to breathe. A guided meditation will talk you through it or you can count your breath. I get more from meditation when I focus on the feeling of breathing. Feeling the breath coming into my nose, my lungs expanding and my belly filling up. I then feel it in reverse as I breathe out, it’s a bit hypnotic sometimes.
I breathe in to a count of 6 and breathe out to a couple of 8. Really squeeze the breath out of you, like you’re squeezing water out of a sponge.
Ok so are you’re getting the gist of it? Basically your meditation practice is yours and you can do it however you want. Please remember to be kind to yourself and that you’ll have days when you just can’t get ‘into the zone’ but you’ll also have days which make meditation feel easy. Both are fine so stick with it and see how it helps you to improve your life.
If you have any questions that I haven’t covered then please get in touch!