How to Meditate When You Hate Meditation

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The benefits of meditation have been proven repeatedly. Yet for so many people, the idea of actually meditating is one that they hate.

I know I had this love/hate relationship with meditation when I first began to practice it. I loved the idea of what it could do for me. I hated the fact that it made me sit still. It seemed like such a waste of time.

As the days and weeks passed, however, I began to discover that there were other ways to bring meditation into my life so that I wasn’t forced to find a quiet place to sit somewhere and feel like I was doing nothing. It has helped me to hate meditation less, love it more, and I’m feeling better because of it.

So here’s how you can meditate if you hate meditation like I once did.

#1. Incorporate meditation into your current routine. What I finally decided to do one day was meditate while taking a shower. I bleached the shower floor first [who wants athlete’s foot on your posterior?], then plunked myself down until the water turned cold. It was an amazing experience! That’s when I realized that meditation could happen while taking a walk, while eating breakfast, or even while washing dishes. Being more mindful can happen at any time and in any location, so try to incorporate meditation into your current routine.

#2. Meditate on a single point that’s actually interesting. Like many, my first attempt at meditation was to stare at a lit candle. That was the most boring experience of my entire life – and I once had a 17-hour layover in Buffalo, NY without any cash to my name. So then I began to think. If I just need to focus on a single point of something to meditate, could it be anything? I focused on poetry the next time because I love Hemingway. It was much more rewarding. You could focus on prayer, scriptures, music – anything that is important to you. This makes meditation a lot easier.

#3. Nothing happens during or after a meditation session. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe magical unicorns spraying tension removal dust on my brain while singing songs about rainbows. When I first started meditating, I expected real, tangible, and immediate outcomes. Instead I didn’t experience anything. Over time, I’ve learned that a wandering mind while meditating can be a good thing. Sure – come back to your focus. But also let your mind wander. That was you always feel like you’ve been productive while meditating.

#4. It’s always a to-do list while meditating. I still have this problem from time to time. My mind wanders to the chores in the house that need to get done. Or my project at work that has a tight deadline. As I generate a mental to-do list, my chest fills with that all-too-common feeling of worry. Instead of taking a deep breath and trying to let that list go, finish it. Otherwise your focus will be on the list during your meditation instead of your single point of focus. Once finished, then you can set it aside.

#5. Find your own starting point. Sometimes you just have to staple your pants to the ground and begin to meditate. Throw on some music if you wish. Sit in a beanbag chair. Do whatever it takes to create a comfortable environment that makes you want to meditate. Even if that means the only place you meditate is in the shower every day.

What struggles have you encountered when trying to meditate? How did you overcome those challenges? I’d love to hear your ideas!

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Everyday Life

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Life gets busy. Super busy.

Even when I compare what I’m doing today with what I was doing just 5 years ago, there is a definite increase in the amount of work that I’m doing. It’s not just professional responsibilities either. Every aspect of life is more active than I can ever remember it being.

Life might seem like a non-stop race, but even racers get to take a pit stop every now and then to refuel. This is what meditation can be for each one of us. When you decide to take the trip down pit lane to make a stop for meditation, these are the 5 benefits you’ll be able to potentially receive.

#1. There’s a deeper connection to who you are. When you meditate for just 4 days in a row, you’ll begin to notice that you have a better, deeper connection with your body. You notice when you start slouching in your posture. You feel each breath you take. Some people even report better digestion and more energy. Others say they understand their thoughts better. The bottom line: you’re spending time with you while meditating, so the end result is a feeling of embodiment.

#2. You can implement coping skills with more regularity. There are a lot of good reasons to be angry in this world today. War, abuse, socioeconomic injustice – the list is seemingly endless. The only problem with anger, even when it is justified, is that it is like an iceberg. You see a teeny tiny bit of the emotion on the surface, but miss the bulk of it hiding below. Anger causes reasoning to be reduced. With meditation, you can counter the negative effects that anger brings and be able to implement the coping skills needed to restore your balance.

#3. There is more confidence. Meditation allows each one of us to take control of our lives. We’re empowered to embrace the truth that is around us. Moments of perfection are in everything, but we often miss them because we’re so focused on what we’ve decided is more important. You will have the confidence to embrace the positive things life has to offer much more often.

#4. You create a place of peace for yourself. There are many shades of chaos that hover around us. It pushes us toward these environments where we feel like we’re out of control. Whether it’s a chore that needs to be completed or a work project, I know I’ve often placed needless deadlines upon myself and that restriction created havoc instead of peace. With meditation, we can all find that place of peace we need from the storms life tends to generate for each of us.

#5. There is calm. How many tabs are up right now on your internet browser? Personally at this moment I have 6 open. That means there are six different opportunities to have my focus distracted. Each is demanding my attention. Meditation takes all of those open tabs in life and closes all but one of them. You focus on one thing only: thoughts, emotions, breathing, a single point of light – it doesn’t matter. This single point of focus creates calm because the multitasking mind finally gets to take a break.

Life is always going to be busy. There’s nothing we can really do to change that fact. What we can do is adapt to those changes so we can maintain good health. This is why I’ve embraced meditation for everyday life. It has helped me find the calm path on my journey through the storms of life.

Common Misperceptions About Meditation

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The alarm clock sounds. You stumble downstairs, grab a cup of coffee, and make your way back upstairs to take a shower. After downing half of the coffee, you hop into the stinging warmth of the water. You take a deep breath, maybe a few more, and your muscles begin to relax.

You start to feel awake. Your mind begins to organize itself for the rest of the day. And through this process there’s a good chance you’ve been meditating – maybe without realizing it.

There are several common misperceptions about meditation that continue to thrive in society today. People picture monks dressed in elaborate robes, playing with meditation beads or incense, and spending hours in solitude.

Meditation isn’t a luxury experience or one that requires a deep spiritual nature to enjoy. Anyone can meditate. All you need to do is be willing to take a few deep breaths in a moment of silence to really start the process. Well… that and you need to be willing to dismiss the misperceptions of meditation like those that follow.

#1. Meditation requires a clear mind. Even those who consider themselves experts at meditation admit that they’ll get 1-2 minutes of clarity in a 30-minute meditation session. It’s virtually impossible to complete clear out your mind. You’re always seeking, striving, and thinking. The goal here should be to engage your focusing mechanisms back to meditation when you feel your mind start to wander.

#2. Meditation requires a lot of time. Many choose to avoid meditation because they feel like they don’t have 30 minutes to dedicate to its practice. The fact is that if you make meditation a priority, then you’ll find time to do it. A good way to increase the priority level of meditation in your life is to include it a little bit at a time. Start with 5 minutes each day. Increase it to 10 minutes after a week or two. Then just keep adding 5 minutes every 7-14 days as you feel comfortable until you reach your target time.

#3. Meditation is expensive to do. It’s true that there are a lot of expensive trends available to people in the world of meditation. Many people are seeking instant solutions in a world of immediate gratification, so money gets thrown at those who offer that possibility. The fact is you can sit down anytime, take a few deep breaths, and you’re meditating for exactly $0. Fads come and go. The chance to meditate is always there.

#4. Meditation accomplishes nothing. Science proves that meditation does tremendous things. It helps to decrease anxiety, helps with chronic pain, compliments anxiety and depression treatments, resolves insomnia, and may even help with cardiovascular disease. Even if it did none of these things, you’d still be getting to take a break from the stresses of the day and that’s a worthwhile benefit for sure.

Maybe meditation isn’t necessary for some, but it is a skill that can be learned in a relatively short amount of time. It requires no tools, yet can improve your health, sleep, and stress relief. That’s why it is so important to recognize and then dismiss the common misperceptions that still exist about meditation.

What have been some of your struggles in beginning a meditation routine? I’d love to hear some of your stories about how meditation has changed your life.

4 Ways To Increase the Strength of Your Willpower

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I love to meditate. The process helps me to figure out my day, plan for uncertain situations, and give myself confidence to face the unexpected. I can label thoughts, sort emotions, and handle stress effectively because I’ve taken time for myself.

The only problem is that I don’t always love the process that is required to get myself into my meditation zone. I might be running late for work. Or there might be a TV show on that I want to watch. I might be hungry. Summoning the strength to actually meditate tends to be more difficult than actually meditating.

Here’s how I work on improving the strength of my willpower so that I can enjoy the process of meditating that I love so much.

#1. Getting enough sleep every night is important.

Whenever I get about 5 hours of sleep or less, my decision-making skills go out the window. I eat snacks I shouldn’t and I don’t care about the consequences. My attitude tends to be one of anger first if something doesn’t go my way. Should I meditate? Of course I should – but that cheesecake at the store looks so good…

Without enough sleep, there isn’t enough impulse control. This means you’re tempted to do things you normally wouldn’t do because the fatigue you carry in your body drains you of energy. Instead of long-term goals, you’re focused on short-term survival. So when I get enough sleep, I noticed a dramatic reduction of the cravings that can tempt me away from meditating.

#2. Be willing to forgive yourself.

Not every meditation opportunity goes perfectly. There are times when I focus on the neighbor grilling hamburgers more than the stressful issues I’m facing. Or maybe my leg falls asleep and all I can focus on are those pins and needles. If I can forgive myself for not being perfect, I find that it is a lot easier to reach my daily goals.

It doesn’t take long for meditation to be effective. I shoot for 90 minutes each day, but 10 minutes can be good enough. If you aren’t meditating right now, I would highly encourage you to give it a try. It was very difficult for me to forgive myself of my failures when meditation wasn’t part of my life.

#3. Get outside and take a walk.

I’ve found that my self-control increases exponentially when I can find time to exercise. Whether it’s a walk around the park or 60 minutes on a treadmill, every little bit counts to strengthen my willpower. What’s great about exercise is that the strengthening process is also contagious. When you feel strong, you want to work on becoming stronger.

#4. A good input is required for a good output.

 There’s this old song I was taught growing up that goes something like this: “Input. Output. What goes in is what comes out.

When it comes to my dietary choices, that is very true. If I eat junk food, I get junk results from my willpower. If I take care of myself by eating healthy items, even if I’m craving Skittles like mad crazy, then my willpower is stronger because I’ve made a stronger eating choice.

By avoiding caffeine and sugar spikes, I can avoid the crashes that come which can demotivate me to meditate.

Finding ways to increase the strength of your willpower might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Something as simple as getting a little exercise each day and substituting one sugary item for a healthy one can give you the energy that is needed.

What are your strategies for keeping your willpower strong? I’d love to hear about what you’ve discovered that has made a difference in your life.

What Is Destroying Your Focus? Here Are Two Common Issues and How to Fix Them

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I wake up every morning and turn on my coffee maker. It’s my morning ritual. Sometimes I don’t feel the need for coffee, but I make some anyway just in case I might want a cup or two later in the morning. Without the smell of coffee in the air, it is difficult for me to focus on anything because I’m so used to that routine.

For many today, their habits and routines are destroying their focus. The last thing they do before going to sleep is to check for emails or notifications and then it’s the first thing they do when waking up in the morning. Sound familiar?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In survey after survey, executives are reporting more anxiety and distractions than ever before. Their leadership is affected, your day feels unproductive, and no amount of coffee can solve the problem.

Here are the two issues we face when it comes to focus destruction:

Hyper-connectivity. The average person consumes digital content in some way for 12 hours per day. That’s double the amount of time many people sleep. It’s difficult to stay focused when we have virtually no time to recharge the mind, refocus our efforts, or even just process the information we’ve received during the day.

Meaningless interaction. Some employees spend up to 55% of their productivity time in meetings. This default form of communication with one another creates activities that most people will ultimately find to be meaningless. Now here’s the catch: when you’re in a group chat or a comment chain online, you’re really just having a meeting. It’s just a digital one instead of having everyone sit around a really big table in a really stuffy room.

For this to change, we must all focus on restoration in some way. I know when I can stay focused with the smell of coffee lingering in the air, there is an impressive amount of work that can be accomplished. In order to maintain that focus, I do my best to keep these “focus repair tools” readily available.

#1. Mindfulness. There is a lack of focus today because many of us have lost touch with ourselves. I know it’s easy to focus on others first when you’re checking in with family and friends online to see how their day has been. That’s important stuff – but so is checking in with yourself to see how your day has been. I like to give myself 20-30 minutes each day to do this through mindfulness meditation. Some days I don’t meet that time goal, but that’s okay. It’s the effort which counts more than the actual amount of time spent.

#2. Organization. I’ve been guilty of being disorganized throughout most of my life. Like many, I thought I was being organized, but what I was really doing was allowing everyone else to book appointments into my daily calendar. Instead of taking care of my to-do lists each day, I was taking care of everyone else. You need dedicated time to focus on yourself in order to be creative.

Then there needs to be a focus on boundaries. I feel more refreshed and confident when I decide to set aside my online connections for a few minutes every day. That break gives me time to process the information I’ve received, grab a cup of coffee if needed, and then jump back into the rest of my day.

Find your cup of coffee. Take control of your schedule. Get in touch with yourself each day. When you can do this, you’ll find that it will be very difficult to destroy your focus.

How have you worked to regain your focus in this age of information? I’d love to hear how your ideas or how you’ve implemented the strategies discussed above.

How Meditation Can Become Part of Your Routine

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One of the most difficult aspects of meditation is consistency. Making it a habit so that it becomes part of your routine requires precision. I usually meditate right away in the morning, but if I oversleep for some reason, then it’s either getting to work on time or it’s meditation.

 

It’s not just work commitments that get in the way. The kids might want to play Pokemon Go with you. Or there might be an evening of Netflix and relaxation on the agenda. So like me, you feel torn in two directions and meditation winds up being the loser.

Meditation doesn’t have to tear you apart. Here are my 5 rules for making meditation become part of any daily routine.

#1. Pair meditation with another regular habit. Do you need a cup of coffee to get going in the morning? Then try meditating while you’ve got the coffee brewing. Do you take a shower each day? Then consider meditating after your shower. If you can pair meditation with another one of your already established habits, it will become a lot easier to do every day. Don’t feel obligated to meditate 30 minutes every time – stop when the coffee is done.

#2. Know why you’re wanting to meditate in the first place. I’ve found over the years that a lot of people like the idea of meditation, but they’re not in love with it. It takes a few days for the benefits of meditation to initially kick in, sometimes 3 weeks or more, and there’s just no patience for that, so meditation gets thrown away. Before your next meditation session, think about why you want to meditate. Focus on one specific reason that’s important to you. This will help you prioritize your other daily habits.

#3. Track your progress every day. Whether you use an app to keep track of how much time you meditate every day or you’re old-fashioned like me and just keep a written journal, it’s important that you do something to track your progress. When you can see daily successes begin to add up, it helps you be able to start tasting success. When there is success, there is repetition.

#4. Turn repetition into routine. In a perfect world, you would meditate for 30-45 minutes each day, note your progress afterward, and turn meditation into a positive routine in 3-4 weeks. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world. You can schedule meditation into your calendar for a specific time every day and then have something interrupt your day – bye-bye meditation time. I’ve found that it becomes easier to stay in the routine if I use a “make-up session” of meditation if I miss my morning routine – or I get up a little earlier the next day to get back on track.

#5. Forgive yourself. Life happens. You might not be able to sit still for 2 minutes because the kids are everywhere one day. Or you overslept in the morning and got a late start. Or the shower broke down and you’re waiting on the plumber. Don’t beat yourself up over this stuff or whatever happens to be going on in your life. Be positive instead of negative. “I will meditate tomorrow according to my schedule,” works a lot better for motivation than, “I can’t believe I overslept and now I’m behind on my day.”

Meditation can become part of your routine. It can provide the benefits you want to have. I’ve shared my rules – what are your rules that help you stay with your meditation routine on a daily basis?

The Stuff About Meditation That No One Discusses

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Meditation is supposed to be a simple, calming process. The only problem is that it tends to be frustrating and complicated for many, especially in the first days of starting a regular meditation routine. I’ve found that some of those frustrations may not go away for quite some time, even when fully committed to the process. It makes me wonder about the validity of all those meditation blogs out there.

The problems caused by humanity can also be fixed by humanity, so let’s get that process started today. Here is some of the stuff about meditation that I wish had been discussed with me when I first became interested in this ancient practice.

#1. Meditation isn’t always relaxing. This was especially true for me in the first days. I wasn’t expecting to find a personal nirvana, but I was hoping to have my anxieties and stress melt away from my body. I could sit there for 30 minutes, however, and think more about why my butt was falling asleep than finding any clarity. So if you’re struggling through a meditation session, my best advice is this: don’t give up. It’s just part of the journey.

#2. Clarity is different than a blank mind. How many times have you heard that meditation is supposed create a “blank mind?” I would sit for minutes trying to suppress random thoughts that would come my way while meditating. Some of the thoughts were about things I hadn’t thought about in decades. The fact is that you’re never going to have an empty chalkboard up there in your head. Thoughts happen. It’s more important to observe those thoughts than try to suppress them. Over time, you may find that the time between thoughts expands and it is in those moments that clarity can be found.

#3. There doesn’t need to be a specific meditation position. Whenever you see meditation posts online, you see someone in the lotus position. That made me think that I had to do the lotus position as well. Yeah – it didn’t work so well. It’s just not comfortable for me thanks to an old sports injury. The truth is that you can be in virtually any position or location and achieve a good meditation session. You can even meditate with your eyes open if you want. I know of folks who meditate in the shower, while lying in bed, or while hiding in a closet at work. Find your spot, find your comfort zone, and meditation will follow.

#4. You don’t always need to meditate for 30+ minutes. Now I will say this: there is a definite improvement in my overall day when I can meditate for 30-45 minutes. That doesn’t mean every meditation opportunity must be that lengthy. I’ve found that meditation times tend to be accumulative in nature. This means if you meditate 6 times during the day for 5 minutes, then you achieve similar benefits as someone meditating once for 30 minutes. It’s more important to put in whatever time you can instead of demanding a specific amount of time out of your schedule.

#5. Meditation works better when it’s a habit. The struggle is in making it a habit in the first place. I know when I skip a day, it becomes easier to skip another day. Not every meditation opportunity is going to feel awesome, which can make it even more tempting to stop, but I would encourage you to keep going. Daily meditation creates a routine that eventually you’ll look forward to enjoying.

I think we don’t talk about these things a lot because we want to present the good side of meditation to everyone. We want to show everyone how perfect meditation can be. Yet there is also beauty in imperfection, which is why I think we should discuss this issues more often.

What has been your greatest challenge to establishing a daily meditation routine? I’d appreciate hearing your stories and be able to learn from your personal experiences so together we can keep improving with each opportunity.

How To Focus When Feeling Unfocused

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Have you ever entered a room, intent on accomplishing some task, but forgotten what that task was? This happens to me all of the time. I’ll be struck by an idea that I feel is brilliant, get up to implement that idea, and then promptly forget it.

It happens to the best of us. The human mind wanders about half of the time it is awake and active. When we try to engage the world during these moments of wandering, the end result is typically forgetfulness.

What happens when you go back to the last point of focus? You often remember what you were supposed to be doing, right? This means you can encourage the mind to become focused once again, even if you are currently feeling unfocused.

Here are some of the ways I’ve discovered that the unfocused mind can decide to start focusing once again.

#1. Decide right now to manage your time wisely. Distractions are everywhere these days. Advertisements, social media notifications, text messages – the list is enormous. Each of us has certain distractions that pull at our focus. The best way to manage this issue is to make the decision to manage these distractions, these temptations, so a more focused control can be obtained.

Block websites you might want to visit. Unplug your internet if need be. Turn off your smartphone. Spend a specific time in your email each day and no more. The issue here is seduction. These distractions seduce your mind into believing that an unfocused state is better than staying focused. Your job is to convince your mind that the opposite is true.

#2. Take a moment to evaluate before taking action. Ever notice how some people are always throwing “word bombs” on their social media accounts? Written words are just as powerful as spoken words, maybe even more so, yet so many don’t give a second thought to what they post on their profiles. People will take you seriously when you say, “If you believe this, then don’t speak to me again.” Or “If you vote a certain way, you are no friend of mine.”

Careless words create disorder and mayhem because they are a result of an unfocused mind. Before saying something or writing something, step back for a moment and give it a second thought. How will other people perceive what you’re about to say? Consciously tell your mind to be focused. I’ve found this simple act can help avoid saying words that might be regretted one day and be able to return to the more important tasks that may need to be completed.

#3. Place an emphasis on mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Stop for a moment and feel the wind on your skin. Remember a favorite memory and experience every detail. Feel your breath move in and out of your chest. Endure the silence which may be around you.

This has been my biggest struggle. The unfocused mind rebels at the thought of being more focused just like your muscles rebel during a long workout when exercise has been neglected for a few days. If you keep your will strong and continue this habit, however, the rebellion subsides over time and a more consistently focused mind becomes the end result.

Sometimes we need to feel unfocused just so we can have an escape from the day. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a natural defensive mechanism. It becomes an issue when being unfocused interferes with the goals that we have in life.

These are the ways that have helped me to find my focus more often each day. How do you find your focus? I’d love to hear about some of the ways you’ve been able to focus when you’re feeling unfocused.

How To Meditate When the World Says No

Meditation Rock 

If someone said it only took 10-20 minutes per day to improve everything from memory to the functionality of your immune system and you could do it for free, most people would be skeptical about the claim. Yet that’s exactly what meditation can provide.

This ancient spiritual practice is seeing a resurgence across multiple sectors of society because of the many benefits it can provide. It’s not a religion. It’s simply a new way of looking at the world, at yourself, and finding ways to manage life better.

Many may be trying meditation, but not everyone is succeeding at it. I’ve been there myself. In the early days of my practice, back when double cheeseburgers were my main dinner priority, I couldn’t even sit still for 5 minutes. Try to focus my thoughts? Please. The moment my mind didn’t have to deal with all the issues the world was throwing at it became the moment that random thoughts began flooding my head.

I wonder who is going to get promoted next week.

What will my life be like next month? Next year? In 10 years?

Is that the smell of a double cheeseburger in the air?

The struggles are very real and dismissing them does no one any good. When the world says it is impossible to meditate, I offer you these three ideas to help you fight back.

#1. Redefine What Success Means

Like many people these days, I expected instant success. If I decided to start meditation, then I’d be a master at it instantly. Except it didn’t happen that way. I wanted something specific from meditation and it offered me something else, so I thought I was a failure.

I’ve spoken to many people who have had a similar experience. Clarity can happen during meditation – sure it can. In the early days, what is more likely to happen is a series of thought observations and solitude. There’s nothing wrong with that.

As long as you are working toward moments of clarity, you are creating a successful meditation time. See your thoughts. See your feelings. Begin to let them come and go.

#2. Redefine Your Atmosphere

I used to go all-out in creating a meditation atmosphere for myself. There was incense burning, fancy yoga outfits being worn, and let’s not forget about the mantras. Then there was the perfect lotus position, the ultra-quiet surroundings, and a memory foam cushion for maximum sitting comfort.

And it didn’t work.

There are many meditation techniques out there, but all of them follow 3 basics: be comfortable, be observational, and be accepting.

You can meditate at the beach. You can meditate at the library. You can park your car in a rest area and meditate in the parking spot. As long as you are willing to accept the experience, avoid judging how your experiences are different than others, and just focus your mind toward the end goal, you’ll find that many places offer the right atmosphere for meditation.

With or without the incense.

#3. Redefine the Commitment

I couldn’t meditate for 10 minutes when I first started my efforts at meditation. It made me feel like a failure when I couldn’t make it that long because everyone was telling me that I need to achieve that time goal. Only when I discovered the build-up process did my meditation times begin to improve.

Let’s say this is your first week meditating. Instead of 10-20 minutes, try shooting for 3-5 minutes. If you can go longer – great. If not, lower it down to two minutes. Sit quietly and work on focusing your mind throughout that time.

Then, as you become more comfortable with meditation, start increasing how much time you can meditate. This eliminates the guilt and regret that come from not making the time goals of experts and helps you begin to experience the benefits meditation can provide.

These are my methods to help start the meditation process. What are some of yours? I’d love to hear about your approach to meditating and what has worked for you.

7 Ways You Can Meditate Better Each and Every Day

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Meditation requires a commitment. How we commit to it depends on each of us. What works for me, for example, may be the worst idea you’ve ever heard of at the moment. That’s okay. Without a commitment, meditation will unfortunately fade away as an idea that just seemed good at the time. If you’re struggling with your meditation times, here are some of the ways that I was able to adjust my approach. Hopefully some of these will work for you as well.

#1. Do it first. If you make time for meditation first, then the rest of the day just seems to fall into place. I know when I wasn’t making time to meditate be the first thing on my to-do list, there never really seemed like any time to do it.

#2. Keep it simple. I like to meditate in the same place each day whenever possible. If not, then I look for a place that is as close to my regular environment as possible. When you can establish a habit that involves the same time and the same place, that’s a recipe for meditation success.

#3. Make it something to which you can relate. I know when I first started meditating, I’d sit there for minutes on end, wondering what I was doing. Can you believe people actually do this stuff and think it’s awesome? And then one day, I compared meditation to watching a movie. The goal may be to receive entertainment, but there are deeper levels of joy that can come from the experience – like spending time with a loved one. That helped me to see how meditation could be thought of on multiple levels as well.

#4. Forgive yourself. If you miss a meditation time, it’s cool. No big deal. Don’t be your own worst critic. Just knuckle down and make meditation happen the next day. Otherwise I’ve discovered the temptation to begin skipping meditation becomes more difficult to ignore.

#5. Allow some flexibility when it makes sense. Your plans for a day can go in a different direction from the moment the alarm clock sounds. The kids begin screaming. The cat figured out how to get into the cereal cabinet the night before. Your boss calls and says they need you to attend an emergency meeting. Life happens. Put meditation into your schedule when you can during these moments. If it doesn’t happen, then try again the next day.

#6. Remind yourself of success. There are many positive attributes to meditation, from emotional stability to enhanced well-being. When you feel a little down, it can be easy sometimes to blame a bad meditation session. During the moments, remind yourself of those great benefits you’ve experienced in the past to make it through this difficult time.

#7. Be realistic. When I first started meditating, it’s almost like I expected rainbows and unicorns to celebrate my accomplishment. I wanted to feel awesome and I wanted that feeling right now. Except it didn’t happen. I felt disappointed. Was meditation really what it was cracked up to be? Over time, I did start experiencing what everyone else talked about, but it wasn’t immediate. Be realistic with your expectations. Give it time. Good stuff is going to happen.

How do you manage your meditation time? I’d love to hear some of the tips and tricks that you use to maintain your center on a regular basis.

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