Does 5 minutes sound too easy? Perfect! You are out of excuses, just do it. Trust me: if you have never tried meditation before, even 10 minutes can seem overwhelming. That’s why we are starting with a five minute meditation today.
Before we go into the how, I want you to know that I’m neither a meditation newbie nor an expert. Over the past three years I’ve been practicing it on and off, always failing to make it a habit. I’ve gone from meditating every day in a week to letting a couple of months fly by before doing it again. Why is making something that makes me feel so good a habit so damn hard? I think the biggest challenge is giving yourself the permission to slow down.
Until you try it and empirically understand its benefits, you will not give yourself the time to do it. For meditation to become a habit and to be practice daily, as recommended by all the experts, it has to be a priority, more important than scrolling through Instagram, pin on Pinterest, check your e-mail “just one more time” or watching that TV show about cooking (yes, I’m reflecting on my own life).
1 – Meditation makes you stop. As a workaholic myself, stopping can be really hard. Even if I do stop I’m still working on the back of my mind. But I think I’m smart enough to know that all the stress and pressure I put on myself certainly isn’t helping me feel my best.
2 – Meditation boosts you immune system.
3 – Meditation reduces stress and anxiety.
4 – Meditation helps you sleep better.
5 – Meditation will make you more productive and energized. It can also make you need less sleep!
6 – Meditation improves your concentration and makes you procrastinate less.
7 – Meditation increases the blood flow in your brain and makes it age slower.
8 – Meditation decreases blood pressure.
9 – Meditation helps you master your emotions and put your thoughts into perspective.
10 – Meditation helps you overcome addiction.
Do those sound like enough reasons to at least give it a try?
First of all, don’t worry about the how, just do it. You may feel stupid in the beginning and you will probably feel like you are surely doing it wrong. That’s completely normal and it just means you are doing it right! The more you try it the better it will feel and the easier it will be. Practice makes perfect, right? In case you still would like some directions, I compiled a few tips I gathered from my own experience (which isn’t vast):
1 – Find a quiet place. It’s hard enough to be still if it is quiet and there are no distractions, so imagine if you are constantly being interrupted by your kids or licked by your pet. Try and meditate in a private room and/or at a quiet time of the day (before the kids wake up or after they go to sleep?).
2 – Choose something to sit on. Sitting is the most common and comfortable way to start meditating. You can sit on a carpet, on a yoga mat, a pillow, a chair… You choose. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just comfortable.
3 – Set a timer. This is so you don’t get distracted by constantly checking if the five minutes are over yet.
4 – Keep your back straight. You will probably be a little worried about if you are sitting right. I don’t believe that there is a right way to sit, so just find a pose and posture that’s both comfortable and keeps you upright. Use a chair or sit against a wall if you need it to keep your spine as straight as possible to help increase your circulation and keep you alert.
5 – Don’t worry about your hands or legs. Do whatever you want with them. No one is watching. Just cross your legs and position your hands however you want as long as you are comfortable.
6 – Close your eyes. This is not a rule, but not seeing that fluff ball of dust and hair under the furniture will be helpful for your concentration.
7 – Bring your attention to your breath. That’s it. Don’t worry about clearing the mind, just bring your attention back to your breath when it wanders.
8 – Use an app. I know I do! No matter what purists say, digitally guided meditation still counts as meditation and it makes it so much easier, especially in the beginning. And it helps with the “quiet” too if you use headphones and choose tracks with a calm background music or sound effect. I love the Stop, Breathe & Think app, but here is a list of five others to try.
9 – It is ok if you fall asleep! Once you start meditating for more than 5 minutes it will probably happen. It’s ok. Good thing you have that timer set, hun?
10 – Experiment with times of day (first thing in the morning, afternoon, bedtime), location (bed, chair, floor, outside), and different types of meditation (guided, mantra, walking). Have fun with it!
Ready? Download that app if you want, choose your spot, sit down, set a timer or choose a track with 5 minutes, close your eyes and let go. Let me know how you feel after.
Head over to MW’s Cleanse page to check other New Year improvements suggestions and click here to download the calendar illustrated by Elsa Poderosa. No worries if you are late – no one is controlling you, we are here for support. Just start on day one. Feel free to leave any questions and let us know how you are doing with your cleanse in the comments section. And share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #mwcleanse. Happy New Year!