Meditation can be very daunting.
I have always been a huge supporter of meditation. As a surgeon and a mom, I don’t always personally find the time. That being said, especially in times like this it is important to prioritize mental health. Meditation is hands down one of the best ways to do that.
Why, you ask? Because meditation is about self-reflection and mindfulness. It is about cutting through all the noise in your head that creates constant stress. It is about focusing on things that are directly in front of you, instead of all the other things you can’t control. It is also about slowing your mind down to the point where you can make healthy decisions that aren’t colored by all the messes in your life. Meditation is a life saver for many people.
So what do you do if you can’t meditate? You keep trying. I promise that eventually it will feel natural, but like any other skill, it takes practice. So here are a few tips to consider, to help you start the habit of regular meditation.
Focus on your breathing. At the very core, if you can spend 10 minutes focusing on nothing but the air going in and out of your nose, you are on the way to becoming a meditation guru. Honing that focus is the cornerstone of meditation.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Chances are, you will sit still with your eyes closed, mentally haranguing yourself for not being able to concentrate. The more you think about concentrating, the harder it will be. The key is to let your mind wander where it will, and follow whatever stream of consciousness is going on in your head. Eventually it will all fall way, and you will reach a place similar to how you feel right before you fall asleep. That is the sweet spot.
READ MORE: Meditation 101: Three Helpful Apps to Teach You How to Meditate
Listen to music. Ambient music stations are very helpful for meditation. If you can get lost in the music, it will lead you to a place where you aren’t really focusing on anything.
Try out Apps. I use apps like Headspace and Calm to meditate. It is a great place to start because it teaches you the basics, and all you have to do is keep coming back.
Take the time. Devote at least 10 minutes to sitting still, with your eyes closed. Put your phone on airplane mode or turn it off. For those 10 minutes, don’t exist anywhere else. Even if you never manage to master meditation, spending those 10 minutes being mindful will still do wonders for your mental health.