How To Start Meditating, When You Think You Hate Meditation
Meditation is strongly recommended as a way to relieve stress and find inner peace, but for some, the meditation process can cause more anxiety. If sitting in a yogi pose and trying to stay quiet for 20 minutes sound difficult for you, Zahra Karsan is here to help. Certified in mindset coaching and neuroscience, she is the author of 6 Weeks to Happy: The Ultimate Roadmap to Retrain Your Brain for Better Health, Greater Abundance, and Long Lasting Happiness and has created resources such as GetZENd, a suite of interactive tools to help you achieve your meditation goals.
Here is her advice on how women can begin a daily meditation practice they will love.
1Quieting the Mind Can Improve Productivity
“High performers are afraid that if they practice meditation to help with stress, rather than white-knuckle through the pain, they will lose their edge,” Karsan tells CircleAround. “But nothing can be further from the truth. By learning to quiet the mind, you actually improve focus and productivity.”
2Meditating Can Look However You Wish
If you’re afraid of looking silly or don’t feel comfortable sitting still, Karsan provides alternatives to more traditional ideas of meditation (like crossed legs, chanting, prayer beads, and flowing linen outfits). “Go for a peaceful walk where you can put your daily worries aside and solely focus on your breath and enjoy the sights and sounds of moving your body at a relaxed pace,” she advises.
3Practice Meditation Gradually
Many people don’t think they have the time to spend 20 to 30 minutes a day meditating. “If you don’t have 20 minutes per day, start with 10 minutes each morning,” Karsan suggests. “I promise you, it’s that feeling of waking up on vacation — it's so refreshing.”
4Don’t Call It Meditation
If you’re ready to try meditation at your own pace, Karsan has plenty of advice to ease yourself into the practice, including not calling it meditation.
“Call it your ‘me time’ or whatever works for you,” she says. “Do what you need to quiet the mind and incorporate something you like.” It’s also okay to start with simple and easy practices, like “taking six deep breaths with a slow exhale, which will trigger your body to enter a calmer state.”
5Try Something Simple, Like Breathing Exercises
“Deep breathing stimulates your brain to signal your nervous system to move away from stress and return to calm, knowing everything is okay,” Karsan tells CircleAround. “You can add a body scan, starting at your forehead and tension in the face, then the neck and shoulders, then the back, all the way down your arms and legs. This has you relax the body as you breathe. With every exhale, allow the tension in your body to relax and release. With each inhale, breathe in gentle, peaceful energy, and with every exhale, release tension in that area.”
6Try Guided Meditations
Lastly, Karsan advises seeking out guided meditations, like the ones she uses in her GetZENd app. It contains “multiple techniques at once to relax the body and quiet the mind, so it takes all the guesswork out and enables you to achieve a state of deep relaxation, teaching you the basics so you can do it on your own.”