Meditation, like anything else worthwhile in life, takes practice. In our current age of endless hustle, FOMO, and technology overload, even the simple act of sitting still for five minutes can seem impossible, let alone getting our minds to do the same.
But if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, if you have trouble letting go of things, if your memory isn’t what it used to, or you’re having a hard time concentrating – studies have shown the myriad benefits of regular meditation practice, including anxiety reduction, pain relief and memory improvement.
However making meditation into a consistent practice often feels complicated and overwhelming for many, so I've decided to share my journey.
After more than a decade of trying, my success with meditation only really began two years ago when one of my gorgeous girlfriends gifted me Lynne McTaggart’s novel “The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World.”
This monumentally significant book taught us how to unleash the power of healing for each other and for the world, outlining how group intention can heal our lives—and change the world for the better.
Following are a few simple ways in which I navigated my journey into mindfulness with my eight girlfriends by my side:
- Don’t get caught up in the how to do it “right.” Just do it. If you truly want to start meditating, release all pressure on yourself to do it perfectly!
- Pick how long you’d like to meditate. There is NO rule here! When our group of eight first started we all got together on whats app for 10min every day.
- Select the soundtrack to your meditation. Some people like meditating in silence, some prefer white noise, others choose a guided meditation or some calming music.
- Get comfortable and start your timer and find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you. I didn’t start with a formal meditation space; however I have since created the most divine crystal altar for my ritual (see blog on how to create crystal altar).
- What should I do with my eyes ? Again there are no rules. I personally close my eyes as I feel it helps me focus, but I know other people like their eyes slightly open.
- Tune into your breath, inhaling deep (expanding your belly) and then fully exhaling, slowly and intentionally contracting your diaphragm. In and out, in and out, in and out.
- Come back to the present moment. In mindfulness meditation, you’re learning how to pay attention to the breath, but you will get distracted! When I first started I was always thinking about what to cook for dinner or how many loads of washing I needed to do. Meditation is not about emptying your mind—I promise you, everyone’s mind wanders when meditating. Just notice when your mind gets distracted, and then gently refocus on the breath. This is where you’ll start to strengthen new neural pathways for focus, calmness, and mindfulness.
- When your meditation time is up, let yourself gently emerge from the meditation. Slowly open your eyes and take a moment to reflect on how you feel, notice any emotions or intentions that that came up.
- Set reminders and make a habit of it. I have an alarm set on my mobile at the same time every week and while each single meditation can have a positive impact, it really is through repetition and consistent progress that you will see true shifts in your mindset, mental health, and willpower.
As you can see meditation is not always about sitting in a zen, cross-legged position and repeating “oooommm” for hours on end. It is about bringing mindfulness, presence, and intention to whatever moment you are in. Focus on your breath, give yourself grace, and you’ll begin to feel major shifts in how you show up and feel…in your meditations and beyond.