6 Simple Tips to Build A Novice Meditation Practice
You want me to sit in a chair and do absolutely nothing...for 10 minutes? Everyday? I feel like that in itself induces anxiety. The thing that is supposed to create a sense of relief is the main source in this moment of PANIC. Literally, I am panicking. Well, that is why I chose to do 30 days of meditation, not 30 seconds.
Starting on December 1st, I began meditating for 10 minutes each day. Nothing complicated or ornate. Just a 10 minute date between me and a chair. I even created a tracker in my bullet journal. That month, my bullet journal was especially dedicated to mindfulness and health tracking. This is one example of habit tracking, with a fun artistic twist. (I am by no means an artist, so bear with me.
3 days into the month, my health took a turn and I took an adventurous trip to the ER and spent the following week trying to recover my stability and strength. Due to these medical complications with my central nervous system, I could not meditate during this recovery period for fear it would trigger even more heart palpitations and migraines.
This is a good time to interject with the reminder to heed the warnings of your health care team and focus on what is best for your body. Now that I am in a more stable place and there is less necessity for monitoring, I have returned back to this challenge and wanted to bring y’all along this time.
I do not believe there is any "correct" way to meditate except to sit and try.
--NO LOTUS POSE REQUIRED--
Here are my top 6 tips to get started:
1. Find a position that is comfortable for your body to remain in for 10 minutes with minimal fidgeting.
2. Sit in a chair where you can have your feet flat on the ground (if you decide sitting on the floor isn’t for you)
This will provide a sense of stability and grounding found very useful during mindful activities.
3. Focus on either visual or auditory cues in your environment to center yourself; NOT BOTH.
The goal is to become more present and mindful, not go into sensory overdrive (I personally recommend challenging yourself to close your eyes and focus on auditory cues, but test out both to see which works best for you)
4. Take note of your senses, how your body feels, what you hear, what you see, what you are noticing about your surroundings that you didn't notice before beginning,etc
It is better to go into vast detail about how you feel in the moment rather than letting your thoughts drift to the future or past (the key ways to trigger anxieties).
5. Learn to embrace the discomfort.
For the majority of us, even this relatively short and adapted form of meditation, sitting still and trying to relax for 10 minutes, not talking, not "thinking", is an incredibly scary task. A fear response is triggered, because for perhaps the first time in our day, we are in tune with ourselves enough to face our thoughts . Again, this is when it is most important to acknowledge those thoughts as what they are and try and reground ourselves in the present moment.
6. Set a timer.
I do not know about you, but I can not innately sense the passing of time, at least not accurately. Set a timer and make sure you are choosing a time when you are truly free of necessary obligations. No screaming kids (maybe encourage them to join you if you so choose), no pressing deadline due within the hour, etc. The goal here though is to carve out the time, make it a priority, and evaluate whether all of your "pressing deadlines" are all that pressing.
So, here are my top 6 tips to get you one step closer to 10 mindful minutes a day.