We’ve all heard of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, but it can be tricky to know how to get started, and more importantly – how to stick at it. To start us off, we thought we’d seek out some tips from meditation expert, author and friend of Peppersmith, Jody Shield.
You can learn more about Jody, her workshops and her forthcoming books over on her website.
1. Accept any initial resistance
When you first start, your body and mind might not allow you to sit there and be quiet. Resistance comes from fear so it’s a natural reaction whenever we learn anything for the first time. The key is being aware of resistance before you begin. It could come in the form of feeling that you don’t have time, or from the voice in your head that says you’re doing it wrong. Distraction is also natural, as all of the awareness usually focussed on the external, such as on your phone, social media and email, is turned inside. It can even bring up some uncomfortable feelings, making us feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Try to accept this resistance and sit with these feelings; you could even say aloud ‘I welcome my resistance to be here’. Don’t expect to be perfect when you first start, mediation is a practice, just like a musical instrument.
2. Make time for meditation in the morning
Creating space in the morning can really help to establish a routine, so try to get in the habit of waking up half an hour earlier. Sometimes if we wake up in a bad mood, we start our whole day off in that way, meditation can help set a positive intention instead.
10-15 minutes of meditation in the morning when you start out is definitely enough, ideally before you do anything else like get in the shower (remember your resistance). Create a comfortable space in your bedroom, perhaps in bed with a comfy cushion.
3. Try guided meditation and experiment with different styles
A guided meditation, where you listen to someone’s voice talk you through the session, can really help when you’re starting out. There are lots available on Jody’s website, on Youtube and on Soundcloud. Experiment with different ones to find a style that works for you.
4. Morning and evening meditation play different roles
Just as morning meditation can set you up for a positive day ahead, evening meditation is also really powerful. During the day we collect a lot of baggage: other people’s ideas, comments on social media, emails etc. Getting to the end of the day and letting go of what has happened, especially any negativity or conflict, is really important. Even deep breathing for 10 minutes might be enough to clear the thoughts of the day and set you up for a good night’s sleep.
5. Journaling can work hand in hand with meditation
Writing a journal is a very useful practice, both in the morning and evening. It’s great to do as soon as you wake up, to give your thoughts some order following a night’s sleep. It’s best to do your meditation first and then write your journal, rather than interrupt your meditation part way through to take any notes.
Journaling in the evening is a great way of emptying your mind after what the day has brought. Doing this in the early evening, perhaps around 6.30pm once you’ve finished work is a good time as it enables you to switch off and enjoy your evening.
6. Create a peaceful environment and remember to have fun
Creating a peaceful space to meditate in will make a routine easier to stick to. You could keep it simple by just having a comfy pillow that will help you sit up in bed, rather than searching for a space every time you want to meditate.
Try investing in a meditation cushion (you can get these online), headphones or anything that will make meditation feel more enjoyable. Helping yourself as much as possible is really key. Above all, try to make it fun. You’ll feel the benefit of regular meditation, but in order to make it a habit you must find your own way of making it enjoyable.
We’ve tried a few of these out and have found them really helpful, and we hope you do too. If you like what you read, then head to Jody’s website to find out more about her meditation and healing philosophies.
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