You’ve probably heard us mentioning meditation and how much we love it. (Here, we said it again, in case you missed it the first 100 times!) But meditation doesn’t always come as easily to everyone. Maybe you’re just sceptical and think there’s nothing a little meditating can do for you. Perhaps you tried it once or twice, decided that clearing your mind of worries or thoughts of the dinner menu is entirely impossible, and deemed anyone able to do that as someone who clearly doesn’t worry much in life. Hey, you’re not alone. Meditating doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, even during your sleep your mind is working so trying to actively stop it from thinking might seem like a long shot.
However we like to believe that everyone can learn to meditate. It doesn’t have to be the same way everyone else meditates, the point of meditation is to relax and connect your mind and body, and find your own best way to do so. You have to start somewhere though, so here are some suggestions we learned while teaching ourselves how to meditate.
Come up with your own mantra.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a really good technique that helps you in keeping your mind clear from thoughts. Think of a short mantra, it can be one word, or a few words, that you will repeat in your head while meditating. The thing is that it’s easy for the mind to wander. Maybe you decide that your mantra of choice is ‘Love’ and then 4 minutes into meditating, that ex you really don’t want to think about just pops into your head and there goes your zen. Try to choose a word you don’t feel would cause your mind to associate any worries to. Or our suggestion would be – choose a mantra on a different language. This will make it easier for you to keep repeating it, without your brain immediately connecting the dots with 20 other worries currently plaguing your mind.
Don’t try to forcefully empty your mind or push out your thoughts.
As mentioned, it can be easy for our brains to wander. This will also be more likely to occur the less you’ve practiced meditating before. Your brain is not used to relaxing so relaxing is something you need to teach your brain as well. The trick is not to try and dissuade yourself from thinking something once the thought pops up in your head. Telling yourself to stop thinking something is counter productive. First, it will just make you think about it more. And secondly, even if it doesn’t you’re already filling your mind with the thought ‘Don’t think about XY!’ which instantly defeats the purpose. So what do you do when this happens? Keep silently repeating your mantra in the same pattern you had been repeating it in before. The thoughts should fade out eventually.
Try out different meditations.
We’ve done our best to provide a variety of meditations you can try in the Leaf app. We have audio guided 3D meditation exercises – this means that a soothing voice will paint a relaxing picture for you, and all you have to do is close your eyes and visualize. Not everyone is big on visualization, or maybe someone else telling you what to visualize is cramping your style – not to worry, we have a way for you to meditate as well! There are a few 3D meditations that are not audio guided, but rather sound effects based on your choice of exercise. This gives you the chance to play one of the meditations while repeating your own mantra in your mind. Give this a try and see if it works for you!
Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable and quiet location.
Your surroundings are very important. It will make a huge difference if you have a lot of background noises around you or a lot of people moving in the background. These will distract you and cause your focus to break, not to mention ruin the experience. Make sure you are alone in a quiet space, and that you are sitting somewhere comfortably. Creating the right mood is key to everything in life – including meditation.
Those are a few tips that we gathered while learning how to meditate. We hope they will help you reach your zen the same way they have helped us.
And remember that there is one very important factor to meditating – you need to actually believe in it. When you give it a try you need to leave any scepticism on the side and go into it with an open mind and an open heart. If you’re not ready to approach meditating before eye rolling into tomorrow, it won’t work for you, no matter how hard you try. However if you approach it with curiosity and belief, it might just do wonders for you.