Meditation. Everyone knows they should be doing it, right?
But how many of us actually know why we ‘should be’ meditating?
Well – it turns out there’s a whole host of benefits that meditation can provide for you… from increased energy levels, to better memory & focus, to relief from anxiety, stress, and depression. And there are even studies out there claiming that meditation can help offset, or delay, brain degeneration diseases – such as Alzheimer’s.
So while there can be absolutely zero doubt that meditation is good for your body, soul, and spirit – and that it can greatly improve your general wellbeing – that doesn’t change the fact that meditation is downright hard for those of us who can’t seem to sit still longer than 0.02 seconds.
The problem with meditation.
If you’re anything like me, you’re never actually sitting still. You’re constantly bouncing your leg, shaking your foot, twiddling your hair, or playing with a pen. And even when I’m sleeping, I don’t sit still. I’m one of those people who will probably kick, hit, and smack you in the middle of the night (not on purpose, I swear!) because my body just won’t quit moving.
Sitting still is a lesson I never learned in childhood – I was always on the go – running, playing, drawing, building… and I’ve carried that eternal restlessness with me into my adulthood.
Which, if I’m being honest, I don’t really mind. It keeps me moving, keeps me motivated, and keeps me chasing new goals. But, when it comes to meditation… it makes it damn near impossible for me to wrap my head around.
I mean all those people who say things like “just empty your mind”…. Ummmm, what does that even mean?!
So if sitting on the floor and chanting “om” over and over again just isn’t cutting it for you… trust me when I say that you’re not alone.
But I don’t believe hope is lost. The restless CAN learn to sit still. The never ender thinkers CAN learn to quiet their minds… With a few tricks, that is.
Here are the meditation hacks, and tricks, that I’ve personally used to help me make this whole meditation thing, something I can actually get behind.
I know, this one sounds a little weird right? But hear me out. Meditation doesn’t have to motionless!
Have you ever been so focused on certain tasks that you go into a trance-like state? Not thinking about anything else. Just so honed into your task, or activity, that the rest of the world fades away?
Yeah, that’s a meditative task – and it has many of the same benefits that sitting meditation has.
Some ideas for movement meditation could be walking, qigong, stretching, tai chi, or even during your daily chores (like dishes, cooking, brushing your teeth, etc.)
The key with this one is to be fully present. Do your movements slowly and deliberately… bringing full body (and full mind) awareness to everything you are doing.
As you sit down to meditate, allow yourself to count each breath – until reach 10. And then start again at 1. It looks something like this: Breathe in (one), breathe out (two), breathe in (three), breathe out (four)… and over and over again until you reach 10, and start over at number 1.
The point of this is to make “focus on your breathing” a little easier. Your mind will wander, but because you were actually focusing your brain on something like counting, it’ll be easier to recognize and pull yourself back to counting.
Use An App
One of the first ways I was ever able to complete a full meditation was after I downloaded a meditation app. Now to be fair, it wasn’t a very “good” meditation – because my mind wandered non-stop. But it was one that I actually finished.
When you’re listening to a guided track – you have someone keeping you on pace, reminding you to bring your mind back from wandering thoughts, and letting you know when you’re finished. Which means you’re more likely to actually finish it because you’ve just eliminated the need to do all of that yourself.
The Box Breath
This one is similar to counting, but with the added benefit of deep breathing. It works like this: Breathe in (count to five), hold your breath (count to five), breathe out (count to five), hold your breath (count to five). Rinse & repeat until your timer goes off.
Another one that probably sounds a bit weird. But for some people, journaling is the ultimate way to clear all the garbage, stress, excess thoughts, and worry from their minds. Pick up a pen and just write. At first, you might not know what to write about – that’s totally normal (and okay!) Keep doing it every day, and soon you’ll find yourself scribbling down things you didn’t even know you were thinking about. Things from your childhood, happy memories, traumas you’re ready to let go of, and so much more! Give it a try – this is one of my favorite methods of meditation!
Do you struggle with meditation? What’s one hack that has helped you? Comment below!