“I wish I could meditate, but I just can’t.”
I hear this all the time from people who are new to meditation.
I used to say the same thing. When my therapist first suggested I try meditating, I laughed in her face.
“Tried it”, I said. “It’s boring, my mind’s too busy, and I can’t sit still. Not for me.”
She eyed me dubiously. “You sound like the perfect candidate for meditation—that stuff’s exactly what it can help with.”
I didn’t believe her. But I promised I’d try again, and report back with my results. Now here I am, seven years later, still meditating every day and talking about it all the damn time.
(I have a lot to thank my therapist for.)
Why a regular meditation practice is so awesome
Meditation helps train our attention. When we meditate, we focus on an ‘anchor’—such as our breath, an image, or a mantra—and when our mind wanders off, we bring our attention back to the anchor.
So what’s the big deal about that?
We learn how to observe our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations… without getting caught up in the DRAMA. This equals less stress plus the ability to mindfully control our reactions, which makes us better humans. #win
Meditation is a scientifically proven way to get:
- More energy
- Better focus, attention, and memory
- Enhanced creativity
- Deeper sleep
- More self-confidence
- Less stress and anxiety
- Improved connection and intimacy in relationships
- Better sex (yeah, really)
Meditation is so freakin’ amazing it’s hard to believe we’re not meditating every hour of every day. Especially since it’s FREE.
If you keep quitting your meditation practice (like I used to) or you’re struggling to make it a habit, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.
1. Your mind’s too busy.
We often have this idea that to meditate ‘properly’, we need to empty our mind.
Meditation isn’t about clearing the mind—it’s about changing your relationship to your thoughts and having more control over what you focus on.
Your mind is gonna wander when you meditate. Guaranteed. Noticing when it wanders, and bringing your attention back to the anchor, is the *whole point* of meditation.
Try this: every time your mind wanders off, acknowledge it, and label it as ‘thought’, or ‘feeling’. Then gently bring your attention back to the focus of your meditation (e.g. your breath).
2. You can’t sit still.
Sitting in a perfect lotus position isn’t required to meditate.
If you’re sitting, you just need to be comfortable—and you can move if you need to!
If you’re in pain, try different positions, different chairs, or lie down to meditate instead. If sitting doesn’t work for you at all, try a movement meditation such as mindful walking or gentle yoga.
Try this: instead of forcing yourself to sit, try a movement meditation practice (you can find tons of free guided audios and videos on Insight Timer or YouTube).
3. You don’t have time.
You don’t have to meditate for hours on end to get the benefits. But you do have to carve out *a bit* of time.
It’s rare you’ll ever ‘find the time’ to meditate since there’ll always be other stuff that needs doing.
As little as 5 minutes of meditation per day can be totally life-changing. I started with just one minute, every morning. The hardest part is creating the habit; once that’s sorted, you can then increase your practice time.
Try this: start with a low barrier of entry (such as 1-5 minutes) per day and schedule it into your calendar. Any extra time you spend meditating beyond that becomes a bonus.
4. You keep falling asleep.
In our sleep-deprived society, people fall asleep during meditation ALL THE TIME.
When we meditate, we enter a state of deep rest and relaxation which can (naturally) make us feel sleepy. When I first started meditating, I used to fall asleep almost every time because I was usually exhausted.
I then shifted to a morning meditation practice and started listening to Yoga Nidra sleep meditations to help me wind down before bed.
Try this: meditate sitting upright while keeping your spine erect (imagine a thread at the crown of your head pulling you upwards), try meditating in the morning, or just enjoy your nap!
5. You stop when you feel better.
If you’re great at keeping up your meditation practice when you feel stressed but lag when you feel better, you’re not alone.
Meditation is a great stress relief tool—but it’s most effective when practiced regularly.
When you maintain a regular meditation practice, you’re far less likely to start feeling stressed in the first place. You become skilled at noticing, addressing, and managing stress before** it turns into a serious problem.
Try this: make your meditation practice part of your identity (i.e. “I’m a badass meditator”) and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.