Here’s the truth about this ancient practice and its many benefits.
If the mere mention of meditation conjures images of Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in silence, you’re not alone. For those unfamiliar with the practice, it may seem daunting, confusing, or just plain weird. Common misconceptions and rumours often hold people back from getting started before they really understand all that meditation has to offer. The truth is, meditation has proven life-changing benefits that range from overcoming negative feelings, improving concentration and reducing stress, to improving sleep and increasing feelings of happiness. Intrigued?
I think it’s time to face the (soothing) music: you’re probably wrong about meditation. Allow me to set the record straight, once and for all, by addressing the reasons you mistakenly believe meditation “just isn’t for you”.
Meditation is too hard.
It doesn’t have to be! Meditation can actually be quite fun to learn: start by sitting in a quiet place, closing your eyes, calming your mind, and focusing on your breath. That wasn’t so hard was it? If you could use a little help, try a free meditation app like Insight Timer, Headspace or Calm. With so many amazing resources right at your fingertips, there’s no reason forming this habit should be any harder than brushing your teeth every day. Start slow, take it day by day, and don’t put any pressure on yourself!
I don’t have enough time to meditate.
If you have enough time to scroll your Instagram feed, you have enough time to meditate. It’s a myth that you need to meditate for hours on end to realize the benefits. If even 20 minutes per day sounds daunting, start smaller: 3, 5, or 10 minute sessions can still yield significant results. The truth is, even just a few minutes is better than none, and it’s more important that these sessions feel manageable so that you don’t become discouraged and give up. So, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you normally would, squeeze in an early morning meditation session, and start your day on a peaceful note. Once you begin to see and feel the noticeable benefits of daily meditation, it will become a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
Still not convinced? Many people report feeling more productive after meditating, since it helps to improve focus and lower stress, so you might actually find yourself with extra time on your hands if you take the time to practice.
Meditation is religious.
Meditation is rooted in Eastern Buddhist tradition, and many religious groups do practice some form of meditation, that much is true, but there are many forms of modern meditation that have nothing to do with religion at all. Meditation is entirely personal, so don’t feel like you have to believe in a God or subscribe to a particular belief system in order to reap the benefits.
It takes years to see any kind of benefit from meditation.
Like any other skill or exercise, the more you do it, the more you learn, but that doesn’t mean it takes years to see the benefits of daily meditation. In fact, significant progress can be made after just one week. Heck, after one single session you might feel more relaxed, sleep better and worry less. As time goes on, the benefits will increase, but there’s no need to think so far into the future. Starting a meditation practice can have a real impact on your life today.
I’m doing it wrong.
There is no right way to meditate, and the biggest reason people give up on meditation is their belief that they’re doing something wrong, when in truth, the only wrong way to meditate is to avoid doing it at all. Sometimes your focus will wander, or you’ll forget to follow your breath, and that’s OK. It’s also OK if you “can’t sit still for long enough” or if you “can’t clear your mind”; you’re only human after all. What’s most important is that you stick with it. In meditation, the journey truly is more important than the destination.
If you’re still skeptical about meditation, why not try it for a few weeks? You have nothing to lose, and a long list of amazing benefits to gain. Check out our guide to meditation for beginners and get started today. Hopefully you’ll find you were wrong all along.