Do you know how to tame a critic in your head? Is meditation an answer for a calm and relaxed mind?
We all have a fierce monologue that rambles non-stop, every day and never going on a snooze mode. It makes you miserable, anxious and scared of your own thoughts. Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear yourself from a totally new perspective. The first step towards a mindful life is to not let yourself drown in the noise of others as it can distract you from yourself. This can be done only when you do exercise for your mind – meditation.
Last year, I found myself affected by all the conundrum around me, I realized that I stopped looking at myself both physically, mentally and spiritually. Somewhere I lost the connect I had with myself and my surroundings. I wasn’t clinically depressed or entrapped in the spiral of anxiety but I was standing on the edge. The only prescription Dr. Google could provide me was a psychology jargon “Practice Mindfulness” to tame my mind.
So, I researched more on Google to understand the concept of mindfulness and meditation. After some time, I found enough in-depth guides on how I should meditate to reap its benefits.
What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”
Mindfulness is the quality of being open to experiences, without being judgemental, criticizing or mind wandering.
Mindfulness meditation is like an exercise for your mind. The more you exercise, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.
Basic meditation is not a very difficult practice and you really don’t need a master to teach you. There is a plethora of information available to make you stick to a plan.
a) Find a quiet place to sit.
b) Focus on your breath.
c) When your mind wanders, bring attention back to the breath.
d) Rinse. Repeat.
It is a simple practice but the key to meditating effectively is doing it every single day. This is where I struggled and most of us as a beginner struggle.
It doesn’t require a huge time investment.
Just 5 minutes.
But the struggle is real. I couldn’t even take out 5 minutes to concentrate on an activity that can help me overcome stress, improve focus and get clarity of mind.
I subscribed for newsletters, apps and read a lot of material available on the internet. And then finally searched for a master to help me conquer my mind. This required not only time investment but also huge monetary commitment too.
Just recently, my friend approached me and asked me to try an app to restart the practice. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to download a new app to start meditating regularly to experience the benefits.
But it helped!
HOW TO MAKE MEDITATION A HABIT?
Eat. Sleep. Meditate. Repeat
It is as simple as it sounds. But the key to being successful at anything in life is repetition. You have to do a task thousand time to master it.
Step 1: Set up a goal.
I started with 2-minutes every day as I found it easy to concentrate for that short duration. I would advise you to not exceed more than 3-minutes if you are a beginner. Reward yourself after you finish the session.
Every minute or two, I would find myself lost in thought: what will I make for lunch, next blog post, a funny scene from a movie. At first, distraction is inevitable but the idea is to focus again. I read somewhere
“Your mind is like a kindergarten class, and meditating is like trying to get your thoughts to take a nap. If one wakes up, tell them gently to go back to sleep. If your mind thinks, ‘But you have a to-do list!’ just say shhhh.”
Focus, distraction; focus, distraction.
When you want to form a habit, consistency is the key. It doesn’t matter how you perform, what matters is that you come back the next day without fail.
You can always set the goal higher once the habit is formed. Don’t worry if you miss a day…come back and resume the practice!
Step 2: Design your environment
Why do you think that meditation centers are a big success?
One of the key reasons for their success is the environment design. The calm environment, the soothing music, a color theme to help you relax and surrounding to calibrate your mind to shape human behavior.
Find a place that has a calming effect on you, free from distractions.
In this digital universe, we tend to easily get distracted with social-media notifications, news feeds, and e-mails. Easy solution: Put your phone on DND mode or Aeroplane mode or disconnect internet
Design your environment to tempt you to sit down for meditation.
Step 3: Download an App
I like the app Headspace, and I have heard great things about Strive Minutes – Simple Meditation Timer with Sync. I started using Strive Minutes – Simple Meditation Timer as I wanted a timer that tracks my activities and works toward setting a meditation habit. I love its minimalist design and features that make it distraction free. It is a non-guided meditation app to help you learn meditation at your own pace.
The Minutes Timer gives you the facility to:
- Track and work upon your meditation habit
- Sync data seamlessly on multiple android devices and never lose your session history
- A distraction-free meditation session
- An option to set your meditation time as short or as long as you need it to be.
- A preparation interval before the start of each session
- Option to track meditation duration beyond the set time. If you choose to continue your session beyond the closing chime, you will have the option to add the extra minutes to your session stats.
- Simple, clean interface and visuals
- Set a default meditation duration
- A statistics page that tracks your streaks and all-time best sessions to keep you motivated
- Start and end your meditations with a beautiful Tibetan gong, no other distractions or voice-overs
After using this App for 20 days, I could easily increase my meditation time to 20 minutes.
DND mode helps you get rid of any distraction coming from your digital space.
There are times when you will miss a day…don’t worry! The idea is to resume your practice and make it a habit.
You can follow Strive Minutes – Simple Meditation Timer on Instagram, here.
You can download the Strive Minutes – Simple Meditation Timer App, here.
By now, you know everything that you basically need to make meditation your habit. There is no right or wrong way of meditation but it’s important to find a practice that meets your need and becomes a habit. In the end, I am still in a learning mode and I would like to keep practicing meditation. I am fully convinced that after close to a month of dedicated meditation, I feel so relaxed and mindful.
Have a wonderful week ahead! Get some Monday Motivation here.
See you on Wednesday!
Lots of love