Previously, I explained how mindfulness meditation can benefit everyone and why we should all take a moment to fully be present to recharge ourselves. If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here. Here are some common questions about meditation and how to get started.

  • What if I can’t do it? Our minds have been trained to think constantly and multitask. Often people think they aren’t capable of shutting off their thoughts. There certainly is a learning curve, but you are capable! 

Here’s the thing: the ability to meditate is like training for a marathon. If you aren’t a runner, then you can’t expect yourself to get off the couch and suddenly run an entire marathon. The same is true for meditation. You may not be able to shut off your mind and connect with your breath in the middle of a very stressful situation… Not at first, because you haven’t practiced. You must start small. Know that your mind will put up a fight.

Mindfulness is going against everything you’ve ever known, trying not to think. You will try to clear your head and find your mind comes up with random thoughts just for the sake of interrupting your meditation. But if you know this is normal, it’s ok, and you can get through it, that is the practice. That is the acceptance of letting things go and just ‘being’.

At first, you will have to redirect your mind… Over and over and over.

It may be frustrating at times if you let it frustrate you, but you can also choose to be “mindful” about it and just let it be by observing what is happening with a neutral tone and let go of any judgment you have about it.

Here’s how that might look: acknowledge that your thoughts drifted and gently shift them back to your breath. Remind yourself that this is part of the practice that will teach you patience.

As you start to exercise this ‘muscle’ you will find it gets easier. Little by little you will build up your mental strength and eventually you will be ready for that marathon (i.e. the next stressful event or panic attack). 

   •   Where to start? Set aside just a minute at first. Get comfortable, relax and focus your attention on your breath. Each time your mind wanders, gently sway it back to your breath. This may happen a few times in that minute, or it may happen a hundred. It’s ok! Just keep practicing. After you practice maybe a handful of times, you might find that your mind doesn’t wander as much in 1 minute. That’s when you’re ready to increase your time. It can be helpful at first to follow guided meditations as it may keep your mind more on track. There are a wide variety of meditations and there is no right or wrong way. Some days you may find one type works best for you and it may be different the next time you try it. Like with anything, it’s nice to have some variety because we aren’t ‘One Size Fits All’ and either is our stress. If you’re looking for a good starting point, click here for one of my guided meditations and give it a try. 

   •   What about other types of mindfulness? There are many ways you can practice being present in the moment. Some are more active in imagery, visualizing relaxing scenarios. Some are more physically active. There are eating meditations, walking meditations… Yoga, gardening, and coloring are also mindful practices to name a few variations. You may even find your one of your hobbies keeps you present in the moment. 

   •   What if I can’t find the time to meditate? Mindfulness can be done anywhere and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. You could be present every time you wash your hands, just by clearing your mind and focusing on the sensation of the water, the movement of your hands like a dance, the temperature and sound of the running water, the smell of the soap, and the feel of the towel as you dry your hands. Voila! You were just mindful for the minute it took you to wash your hands. 

If you have never tried it before, I suggest checking out a guided meditation recording. This is a great way for beginners to start out since it helps you refocus your mind throughout when you naturally start to wander off. Here is a link to a deep breathing guided meditation of mine so you can see what it's like: Guided Meditation

 

Everyone can learn to meditate. No matter what your circumstances or background, you can learn and benefit from mindfulness. What’s stopping you? Give it a try today and take the first step towards a peaceful mind. 

And while we've already acknowledged that it will be a challenge, you may choose to start up with some support. Not only can guided meditations help, but therapy can also teach you mindfulness and help you explore and practice different ways that work better for you.

It's about embracing change and finding the best approach for you and your life... Nothing in life is truly One-Size-Fits-All, so schedule with me to find out how I can help support you in calming the emotions, stress and chaos in your life. You can have power over your own mind and reactions. Get started today!