You’ve most likely heard of meditation and even the health benefits of it. There’s a lot of information out there about the history, and purpose of it, but when I first started I had a hard time learning how to do it. I feel meditation is a powerful thing we can all do, especially in an industry such as ours. The constant pressure, long hours, and stress can’t be ignored. All of those things can (and probably will) lead to anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. I’m not saying this will fix it all, but if you give it a chance you might be surprised on how much better you feel and what it can do for you long term.
Let’s start with the most important lesson of meditation. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Don’t worry about doing it right, or waiting for some magical force to come over you and put you at complete calm. The best analogy I’ve heard in regards to meditation is treating it like working out. Start out light (under 10 minutes), ease into bigger weights (longer time), and don’t expect results immediately. At the end of this post I will list links to popular apps that have self guided sessions. All you have to do is listen and follow along. Now that we have that squared away let’s get into.
The biggest misconception I’ve seen, and was guilty of myself, is that you need to be seated cross legged with palms facing up. I do that now, but it took a while to be comfortable in that pose. It is more important to get in a comfortable, relaxed state than to look good for an Instagram post. You can experiment with this and see what works best for you. What I did for a long time was sit in a chair. Feet were flat on the ground, back was straight, and hands rested on my thighs. Another popular option is laying flat on your back with hands on your chest, by your side, or on your thighs. If I am sore or feeling more stressed than usual I will meditate laying down. The only reason I don’t do it more often is I’d find myself falling asleep while doing it (which isn’t a bad thing when you’re first starting out).
There are a lot of apps, podcasts, Audibles, videos, etc for meditation. The most popular apps are Headspace and Calm. Both get you started for free. You can pay for premium features that expand the sessions. I use both, but started with Headspace. I feel it is the best app for someone just starting. More recently I’ve been doing a 21 day series on Audible called: 21 Days of Meditation by Aaptiv. Two things I love about this. First they are only 10 minutes long.
“If you don’t have 10 minutes for yourself, your don’t have a life” – Tony Robbins.
Secondly, I like that there are only 21 sessions which gives me the goal to meditate 21 days in a row.
When you first start out, no matter which self-guided method you choose, it will be hard. I know that sounds funny but it isn’t easy to shut off your brain – especially for us that never turn it off. The key is persistence. Each time you will be able to fall into a meditative state quicker and stay there longer. The first couple times I tried I found myself worried about doing it right, getting distracted by my to do list, and wondering how much longer I had. It was the 4th or 5th time I was able to just stop everything, and focus on the session. When I opened my eyes I felt a mix of calmness and energy. I shoot for that feeling every time.
Like working out and eating healthy, it can be hard to stay motivated. A travel job comes up, you get sick, you get slammed with work, etc. No one said you had to do this every single day. I go for 3-5 times a day but will often will give myself a goal to do it 10 days in a row. Giving myself a goal and sharing that with someone else helps get me through when my motivation is low.
If you’ve never tried meditation I challenge you to give it a shot. Try for just 10 minutes a day for 5 days in a row and see how you feel. Take out all your expectations, what you thought this is, and any goals you have for what this will do. The best you can hope for is 10 minutes of quiet time and a refresh of your mind.
Links To Get You Started:
If you are feeling motivated and want to try it, here is how I meditate on my own. I want to quickly specify that I do this when I want to meditate on something specific. Maybe a stressful project, parenting, or just feeling a little lost. The reason for this is that I can focus on only one hyper specific subject for however long I want. Not the easiest thing to do at first, but you will get there. I recommend doing guided meditation first.
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be bothered
- Essential Oils are a bonus Silence your cell phone
- Sit or lay in the way that is most comfortable and calming to you
- Set your phone timer for 10 minutes (try to pick a soothing alarm)
- Glance ahead with soft focus
- Breath deep in you nose and out your mouth
- Close your eyes Continue the breathing until all you are focused on is the breath (shoot for 5 times)
- If you have a specific thought slowly bring that to the front of your mind
- If not, repeat a mantra that fits your mood ***See below for a few examples***
- When other thoughts come in your mind acknowledge them but let them pass by
- It will become hard at times to focus as random thoughts may fill your mind. That’s ok.
- Simply count your breaths and focus on the feeling in your nose and your lungs
- When your alarm goes off, take a few more breaths and slowly open your eyes
Mantras (Use only 1 per session):
I am enough
I am doing my best
I am calm. I am patient. I am ready
I can’t control the world. I can’t control others.
Tony Robbins uses this when he runs “I am f***ing unstoppable.” Repeat that on a long run or workout and see how the rest of your day goes. I thought this was wack until I tried it.
As always feedback is much appreciated. A unique post for this blog but I am excited to see where it leads. If there’s enough interest I would be happy to do a guided meditation on my podcast.