Of course meditation is good for you – there is stacks of research to prove it can help you feel calmer and has health benefits for the whole body.
It causes the pituitary gland in our brain to secrete endorphins that help elevate mood and have a positive effect on the whole body.
Meditation reduces stress levels in the brain, makes you more efficient, improves your sleep and lowers your blood pressure.
So how do you meditate when you are just not a meditation kind of person?
If we take on a task with clear reasons, especially when they are beneficial to ourselves, we are more likely to keep to them. Identify what you want to get out of the experience. Do you want to reduce your anxiety levels and calm your nervous system? Do you want to find a tool to help you deal with over-thinking? Will meditation help you calm down if you are quick to anger or irritability? Do you need to find a way to cope with stress to help your health?
If you have a clear idea of why meditation will help you it will be easier to find the time and intention to meditate.
Just as you would book a gym class or note down when you are seeing a friend, get a date for meditating in your diary. It could be that you wake up five minutes earlier or go to bed five minutes earlier depending on when you feel meditation would be most beneficial to you. But if you have scheduled it you are more likely to stick to it.
You really don’t have to meditate for hours to gain the benefits from it. It’s far better to start small and work up to what is a comfortable amount of time and also possible with your lifestyle. Aim for three minutes of meditation when you are beginning. Or if even that is hard try aiming for five deep, calming breaths. Once you get the hang of it the time will pass more quickly and you could find you want to meditate more.
Everyone is different and one person’s relaxation is another’s irritation. Don’t expect to find the best way for you to meditate immediately.
Some people love apps, others find them intrusive. Some like a class, others find them too ‘new age’ or embarrassing. It could be an ‘active’ meditation works better for you.
For example, walking meditation. As walking takes you away from other distractions it can be really helpful to be moving while meditating.
Apply the same principles as you would while sitting – observe your body and how it feels, concentrate on your breath and making it slow and controlled, notice the sensations of the environment around you and be mindful of what you are able to hear and see.
Once your mind is calm and your breathing beneficial just see what thoughts enter your mind without looking for them.
When a thought emerges return your focus to your breathing or the sounds or feelings of the environment around you. You may find you choose to meditate longer when moving and don’t get so easily distracted when you have something to focus on.
Equally gazing mediation, where you don’t have to have your eyes closed, moving hands meditation, where you don’t have to completely sit still, could be more for you.
Also think about attending yoga or tai chi class if you think you need to be both guided and physical in meditation.
Deciding to introduce meditation into your life has to work with your life too. You don’t have to do it every day, or some days it can just be a minute long (and let’s face it we can all find one minute in our day) and while walking somewhere or even waiting for our dinner to cook.
It’s helpful to try and meditate for a few minutes daily to begin with as then you are more likely to try different styles and find what works for you and what time of day is most beneficial.
You will also get into a routine which means you are more likely to stick to it going forward. But feeling you have to do it forever can feel like an overwhelming pressure – so relax!