How to Meditate: For Those Who Can't Sit Still
Meditation consists of a series of practices intended to heighten awareness and ignite a deeper connection to oneself. It is a way of transforming the mind, using techniques like mindfulness, to achieve mental clarity and reach an emotional state of calmness. Reaching this level of inner peace comes easily to some, but for many of us, silencing the mind can serve as a challenge.
Thoughts, tasks and to-do’s clutter our head and a silenced mind seems to be the perfect time to attack. So, how do people find such great benefits in such a seemingly effortless action? It all comes down to practice. The art of freeing your mind of all pesky, unnecessary thoughts is one that doesn’t come with ease. One must actively practice mindfulness to develop a deeper connection between the mind and body, and the truth is, this isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Meditation can seem intimidating, so naturally, people are hesitant to give it a shot. We feel constricted by our fear of making a mistake and so conclude it would be better to avoid overall. In reality, meditation is just sitting in silence and allowing your brain some time to disconnect. Naturally, the mind will wander, it is the ability to redirect thoughts that exemplifies a level of mastery.
Why do some people struggle more with meditation?
There are many explanations of this, one being that we believe we don’t have enough time. Designating even a few minutes per day can seem like a pointless task when your agenda is filled with endless to-do’s. For some, simply sitting for an extended period of time can be physically uncomfortable, but this is something that can be fixed with the addition of a meditation pillow (or pillows). Since reaching this level of inner peace can be challenging, sometimes it’s even hard to visualise the benefits of meditating, and this can deter some. Practicing meditation can have tremendous benefits for both the body and mind, but they come with time. Mindfulness practices don’t always have an obvious way of displaying their advantages. It is important to work on consistency, finding what works best for you and to make baby steps towards progression. You may feel like you are “bad” at meditating, but that’s like saying you are bad at eating, walking or riding a bike. We all have the ability to do so, but it is something we must learn and practice.
Tips for beginners
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, there is always time to expand your practice. It is important to start off simple, if you are new to meditation, choose a short time to begin with. Focus on quality over quantity, even if you designate 3 minutes a day to begin with, that is an amazing start. We find it helpful to count during our meditation, and when we find our mind wandering, we start our counting over. This practice helps us keep track of our thoughts and remain focused. Another trick for those new to meditation, is to focus relaxing each of your body parts one at a time. Start with your toes and slowly work your way up to your neck and head. This will facilitate relaxation by providing your brain with something to do.
Write each day. This is a good way to actively practice mindfulness, and can serve as your own personal (very low-cost) therapist. Log how you feel throughout different parts of the day. What makes you feel anxious, happy or sad? Can you identify any triggers that need tending to? By keeping a daily “feelings” log, you can distinguish the areas in your life that may need a little work. It is important to also take time to reflect after meditating. This will help you collect data on your progress and help solidify any intentions you may have set during your practice.
Identify places that relax you and revisit them when you need clarity. When we find things to be particularly difficult one day, we automatically dedicate some time to our mat. Yoga is a part of our lives and brings us joy, so we use it to our advantage. Sometimes when we want to free our mind, we will grab some paint brushes and a canvas and let our creativity work its magic. When engaging in these activities, our mind disconnects from the world around us, naturally sending us into a state of meditation. When we find these hobbies that bring joy to solitude, it is important to act on them. It isn’t selfish to do what we want, it is practicing what makes us happy, and sometimes that is simply the best we can do.
CCT hosts a monthly women only retreat in Morocco, where we practice mindfulness through a variety of exercises including yoga, breathwork and meditation. We travel with purpose by providing opportunities for our clients to practice conscious tourism and ethical travel. We connect our travellers with local trailblazers in destinations around the world and give back to small communities through our ‘Plant a Seed’ Initiative. Check out our upcoming retreats.