As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
Has meditation ever frustrated you?
Does it seem impossible to just sit quietly while there’s so much going on inside your head? Do you shy away from meditation altogether because it’s just too hard?
Well, you’re not alone. Trust me.
Why is Meditation so Difficult?
The benefits of meditation are amazing (check out the mind blowing stats here). But for a lot of us, especially those struggling with mental health issues, meditation is often out of reach.
Why is that?
Because, paradoxically enough, it takes a lot of emotional investment to sit down and be still. And a lot of us in the MH community just don’t have that energy to commit. We’re just out here trying to survive!
Why is Meditation Important for the Mental Health Community?
Even though it’s difficult, meditation is a mental health power tool. Mindfulness practices have been scientifically proven to help with a whole host of MH disorders. Just check out all the benefits in the video below:
Amazing stuff, right!?
So, we know that it’s important for us to meditate. Now we just have to conjure up the emotional energy to make it happen. Woo!
Yeah, I know – that’s what I said at first too. But I’ve been on this journey for a while. And as a chronically depressed person, I’ve learned a few tricks to make meditation easier to accomplish. Even while struggling to survive.
So without further ado, here’s MSB’s guide to Meditation Made Easy!
Step 1: Lower Your Expectations
It’s important not to let your expectations get in the way of your peace. The idea of perfection really plagued me when I began meditating. I figured the only way to “really” meditate was like the old masters. Otherwise it didn’t count.
That is, I thought I had to have a straight back, beautiful posture, and a super focused attitude in order to reap the benefits.
Predictably, that expectation made meditation a chore. And I hate chores. So my practice was inconsistent at best, non-existent at worst.
What helped me overcome this grandiose expectation? Finding out that I could get the same (or better) results by laying down to meditate. Covered in blankets. In bed if I wanted (more on that later).
I also believed I had to shut my brain off completely in order for this to work. Luckily, as I learned, that’s not the case. Now instead of striving to shut my brain off I just accept that it’s gonna do it’s thing while I sit quietly.
And finally, I thought I had to be really “good” at meditation. Seriously, I believed I had to somehow “win.” This belief held me back from having a satisfying practice for way too many years.
As I said at the top “It’s important not to let your expectations get in the way of your peace.” Take a look at what expectations you have for yourself during meditation. Are they helping you stay consistent or are they hurting?
Step 2: Make it Easy for Yourself
Along with depression, I struggle with low energy and Executive Dysfunction.
Sometimes that makes it really hard for me to simple stuff like washing the dishes or pulling together the strength to meditate. Induction methods have helped me get the benefit of meditation while still preserving my much needed energy.
- Lay down – horizontal meditations are *incredible.* It’s like sleeping but so much better! I like to do mine either in bed or on the floor with a heavy weighted blanket and a guided meditation. Yes, sometimes I fall asleep – but, hey, that’s not a bad thing most of the time.
- Get a guide – guided meditations like the ones found on YouTube, Calm, and Headspace are awesome. They walk you through the meditation process step by step so you don’t have to go it alone. All you have to do is listen (I suggest using your phone and a pair of headphones).
- Set the Mood – a simple adjustment of your environment can help you focus on meditation. For me it’s as easy as lighting a scented candle and sitting in a dark room. For others it might be to set up a meditation corner with a pillow or just going outside to meditate. Whatever is easiest for you!
- Cut the Time – even just five minutes of meditation is far better than none. I’ve found it helpful to tell myself “okay, we’re just doing five minutes of meditation today, I can do five minutes no problem.” This little trick almost always works to get me started. Having a timer or a timed meditation app can be really helpful in this instance.
Step 3: Meditate Smarter, Not Harder
Consider the wisdom from this Zen Story :
A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it.” The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?” The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years.”
Contrary to popular wisdom, working harder won’t make meditation easier. In fact it’ll probably make it unbearable and even less effective over time. This will take away a lot of the benefit and make healing take that much longer.
I know I’m much more consistent when I do short, meaningful meditations in the morning and evening. I’m way more eager to meditate this way because I’m not chained to the idea of doing it all day, which can be overwhelming.
Step 4. Give Yourself a Break
On that note, remember it’s important to give yourself a break. If you can’t meditate, even with these helpers, that’s fine! There’s a lid for every pot and it’s fine if meditation is not yours.
That being said, there are lots of ways to be mindful, even in a low energy state (check out this great list of fifty easy and fun mindfulness practices).
Here are some ways I’m mindful without putting in a ton of investment:
- Write in a journal
- Eat a meal or snack mindfully
- Think of three things you’re grateful for
- Light a candle
- Reduce anxiety using a method like Circle 8 Breathing or Calm’s simple Breathe Bubble
And if you are able to meditate, don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it every day. That’s okay too!
It’s really just one of the tools you’ve got at your disposal. Consistency helps but be mindful of the quality of expectations you’re putting on yourself. It’s okay to take breaks.
Wrap Up: Make Meditation Delicious Again
So the moral of the story here is to start small and mindfully build your practice in the way that suits you.
I had a yoga instructor who would let us choose the expression of our poses. She said, “do whatever makes you feel delicious.” As a budding hedonist, I’d never heard a more amazing statement. I’ve spent the rest of my life remembering to do what’s delicious – i.e. what feels good for my soul.
It’s the same way with meditation: you’ll get the greatest benefits when you make it your own. Your practice doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s – even the old masters. You don’t even have to be “good” at it. You just have to do it.
That’s the great thing about meditation: all you have to do is try and you’ve already succeeded. Ain’t nothing more delicious than that!
I hope this edition of Mental Floss helps you find a little peace and deliciousness in your life. If it does, please let us know in the comments below or email us about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you loved this post, please pick a Pin to share <3
If you enjoy our content, please consider supporting MSB by Buying Us A Coffee, donating to our Patreon or taking one of the two surveys below (they actually pay YOU to take them, it’s a win, win!!)
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
31 thoughts on “Mental Floss: Meditation Made Easy”
I’ve practiced meditation in the past, but like a lot of things, I never really felt any benefit. I’ve been wanting to get back into it lately, but I just can’t switch my brain off. I’d like to learn how, as it drives me crazy, but I’ve tried books and CDs to no avail.
I can totally understand, I felt like that for a long time too.
It wasn’t until I incorporated a lot of my own style into meditating that it actually began to work for me.
Basically doing it in a way that was fun and engaging for me made all the difference and I was able to be more consistent.
I hope rediscovering meditation helps for you! Even if it doesn’t, there’s a lot of awesome mindfulness techniques out there to try as well. Best of luck!
Woah, that quote from ‘Zen Story’ really resonates with me in my current situation right now. I really need all the patience i can get. Thank you for the great tips!
Aw you’re welcome! It definitely resonated with me too – I am not a patient person lol!
This is wonderful. These are great ideas for easy ways to build meditation into your day. Thank you for sharing.
Yay! Thanks so much for reading I hope these tips bring you peace and joy!
Ever since I started working from home, I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to start a routine with things like yoga and even meditating…but I never really knew where to start. This was so helpful! I have terribly high expectations sometimes, and this is a great reminder to relax and let go!
Aw! I’m glad it was helpful!! I hope these suggestions bring you peace and joy 😁
I love the Insight Timer App. Gives me the flexibility to do timed mediation or a guided mediation. Some days meditating is easier than others because my brain wont shut off. But I’m determined to stick with it. Great tips.
Thanks for reading! I’ve got to try the Insight Timer, I think it’s one of the few apps I haven’t tried.
I’m glad you’re determined and I hope the tips help you strengthen your practice 💖
What an insightful article- I’ve been medidating more nowadays and it’s really good for the soul.
Thanks for this post, reading about medidation gives me extreme relaxation. I have been in medidation for years and I must say this is the best way to calm your body and mind. It connects your body with your soul.
Meditating is seen by most as a very difficult as impossible operation, your blog post therefore becomes useful in this sense.
Glad it can be useful! I often think meditation comes off as unapproachable so it’s nice to be able to help people see it in a different light!
Meditation is one of the hardest thing to do, particularly because of the distractions one is faced with. Thanks for the tips
I agree! Thanks for reading and I hope the tips help 💖
thanks for all these tips! i LOVE meditation!
Meditation helps me to sleep better and to free my mind from unnecessary worries. Setting the mood is definitely important, i use the OM Chant from youtube for setting the mood.
I love the ohm chant videos on YouTube as well as the Tibetan singing bowl videos! Thanks for reading 😄
I need to make more time for meditiation. I used to practise regularly and found it beneficial but I stopped.
Meditation is really helpful! I hope these tips help you reinvigorate your practice. Thanks for reading 😄
I completely agree there is a method to meditation, and being rigid is not a good thing in the process
I love that there is no right or wrong way …just the act of attempting meditation totally counts. I especially like the tips on mindful gratitude and journaling.
Yep, and you can learn a lot from just the act of trying to meditate too! I’m glad you liked the tips and I hope they bring you peace and happiness 💖
Love your perspective! Yes, meditation doesn’t have to be a perfect “guru’ moment! Everyone should give it a try!
As someone who is prone to not doing things if I think I won’t be perfect at them, tip 1 really spoke to me! I have tried and quit meditation many times over the years because i wasn’t immediately good at it, this post just inspired me to try again 🙂
Wonderful, I’m glad you feel inspired! And remember, you never really quit meditation because the lessons you learn in each session stick with you no matter how frequently you practice!
I completely love meditation this is a great one to pin and re read for the great tips!
I love this! I have been working on meditation for years, I know the benefits and yet I still can’t do it consistently. It definitely feels like a chore sometimes. Can’t wait to try it laying down! 🥰
I love this post! Done is better than perfect, meditate whilst laying in bed, and use a guide. I love those tips. It’s important to give ourselves some grace and be flexible with it, otherwise we could become overwhelmed.
Pingback: How To Change Your Toxic Core Beliefs - My Soul Balm Blog