In today’s society we’re conditioned to act fast and get quick results. We want to see success immediately, and anything that doesn’t offer instant gratification is often dropped and falls by the wayside. But when it comes to meditation, slowing down is actually a sign of success.
Studies show that mindfulness and meditation can improve sleep, lower anxiety, increase productivity, aid memory and reduce your risk of heart attack. So it’s well worth persevering in your quest to be truly present.
But what do you do when you’re just itching to see results? How can impatient people bring meditation into their lives?
Even a few minutes of meditation a day can be beneficial. Sitting still for hours is not an easy task, so don’t expect to jump straight in and achieve total stillness and clarity right off the bat.
When starting out, try just 30 seconds to one minute of deep breathing with your eyes lightly shut. See how that feels. If it feels good, try it again over the next few days, then gradually add another 30 seconds every week.
Use a Meditation App
There are loads of apps out there featuring a range of guided meditations that are great for beginners. Buddhify, Headspace and Insight Timer are just a few of the apps that offer a range of meditations that are suitable for different situations and objectives.
Come Back to Your Breath
When your mind is wandering and you’re anxious to get moving again, come back to the one thing that is always there – your breath.
Keeping your breath steady and regulated helps to calm the nervous system and quells anxiety. Lisa Lewtan is a Life Design and Health Coach, and says that “most of my clients are busy, impatient people so this comes up all the time. I usually start my clients with simple breathing techniques to show them how quickly a few breaths can calm them down and bring them back to the present moment.
My 3×3 breathing technique is all about taking 3 deep breaths at 3 different times in the day. It’s very simple and very effective.”
Write it Down
Before you start a meditation session, write down everything that is on your mind. Make a list of everything that’s bothering you, making you happy or looming in the background.
We often get distracted because we’re trying to keep too many things in our brain. Writing it all down reassures you that you won’t forget anything – and you can clear some space in your mind to focus on being present while you meditate.
Notice the Small Benefits
There are lots of benefits to meditation, and you don’t have to be a zen master to see them. Whether it’s feeling less anxious or getting a better night’s sleep, there are plenty of perks to meditating:
- Improves sleep.
- Increases feelings of positivity toward yourself and others.
- Promotes patience.
- Lengthens your attention span.
When incorporating meditation into your routine, take time at the end of the day to acknowledge any of the small changes above. Have you been sleeping better? Are you feeling more light-hearted toward your peers? Do things that normally annoy you slide off your back? Though they may seem small, these benefits are big wins in your meditation journey.
Don’t Judge Yourself
So you got distracted? So what? Don’t judge yourself or get annoyed at yourself for what you perceive to be a failure to meditate. That defeats the purpose. Instead, simply acknowledge it, and move on. Don’t berate yourself for not being ‘good’ at meditating – you’re doing it, and that’s enough.
Try Active Meditation
Meditation is traditionally seen as sitting completely still and quiet. While this ancient practice has a slew of health benefits, it’s not the only way to clear your mind.
If sitting there and waiting for peace to come isn’t your thing (yet), get active with your meditation and make it your own. What makes you zone out of the world and into your deepest self?
Try walking meditation, where you focus on the sensations of moving your body around, or art meditation, where you get into the flow of creativity.
Whether it’s walking, painting, riding a bike or working out at the gym, making time for an activity that brings quiet to your mind and soul is key.
While meditation can indeed be life changing, you won’t feel like a completely new person in just one session. Sticking with it, no matter what the day throws at you, means it will become a natural part of your life.
But Don’t Make it a Stress Point
Even though you want to make meditation a regular thing, don’t make it another item to be ticked off a long and arduous list. It shouldn’t be a chore, but rather, something you enjoy. Russ Davey has written meditations and music for Glenn Harold on Insight Timer and Relax and Sleep Well.
“‘I’m a completionist, so I like to get everything done straight away,” he says. “This means I can be very productive but often at the expense of my health and state of mind! I like to think of meditation as a way to reset my mind each day. It allows me to step back and connect with the present moment instead of becoming caught up in all the jobs that need to be done.”