This month I’m doing a 30 day meditation challenge for myself. I notice how much more centered I feel starting my day, more clear in what is important to me, and more in touch with my emotions (versus being affected by other people’s energy). Many people tell me they don’t know how to meditate or feel that they’re doing it wrong in some way so here are a few tips that I’ve discovered help me:
- Observe vs think.
It’s hard in the beginning to “empty your mind” which is what I used to always strive for. It happens occasionally those moments of serenity, but more often than not meditation makes me realize how busy my thoughts are – that’s ok! Use this time as a brain massage. Instead of thinking, planning, reacting just observe your thoughts. See where they go. The more I settle in and just think of myself as sitting on the side of the road watching all my thoughts zoom by the easier it is to see patterns in those thoughts. I can see what things are bugging me, what is weighing on me, or what I’m excited about.
2. Try a guided meditation first.
I used to use the Headspace app which was a nice introduction to the process and talks you through what to focus on.
3. Now I use the free version of Insight Timer (no speaking)
It has a built in timer with beautiful chimes and different sounds you can add to the start, middle, or end of your mediation. It also allows you to add friends and you can see when each person has meditated that day. If accountability or tracking are what you’re looking for this definitely helps!
I concentrate on hearing as many of the sounds around me as possible. It’s made me much more appreciative of the space around me.
5. Counting breaths
Slowly count to four as you inhale. Hold for four seconds, exhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. If you can’t seem to get out of your head this might help.
This is another tool I implement sometimes which actually came from my freediving practice. I think of a certain few short sentences that calm me and center me then I slowly (in my head) repeat those and try not to let other thoughts intrude. I try to make them positive statements that I seek to embody. For example when I was going through a hard time last year my mantra was: I am love. I am loved. I am worthy.
Choose a space that you can sit comfortably in ideally without being interrupted. I sit crosslegged and some people opt to have a pillow or cushion under them for comfort. Get all the wiggles out (shake your shoulders, etc) for 15 seconds and then settle in.
Feel free to drop into our meditation group chat on Telegram with any questions or thoughts at or use my hashtag #habitsforhappiness.