Years ago when I first started meditating, I never could have guessed how much my relationship would change with the habit over the years. From many failed attempts at finding the perfect app to starting and stopping my monthly subscription every other month, it’s safe to say I’ve been on a journey to figure out how to start meditating and make it stick.
So today I want to talk you through some of the things I’ve learned over the years. Tip #1: There’s no wrong way to meditate. Honestly, once you can get over that hurdle it becomes a lot more fun and a lot easier to stick with. There are tons of apps, some free and some paid, we’ll chat about those too.
But mostly today I hope I can inspire you to find a meditation practice that adds to your healing journey. Another space where you can feel safe to feel all the feelings that might not always be so fun along the way. Meditation has changed my life and continues to daily so let’s dive in. We’ve got lots to chat about!
How To Start Meditating
Tip #2 Start Small
Most people I know who start meditating or have avoided meditating say the same thing: I can’t sit still for that long. Or I can’t quiet my mind for that long. It’s all a variation of “being quiet for 5 minutes feels like an eternity and I can’t do that”. Sound familiar?
The best thing I can tell you is to start small and with a guide. Eventually, you’ll come to find this time works best with less talking. But as you start to understand what it feels like to sit in your body, it will feel more comfortable. You’ll feel more in tune and find yourself doing it throughout the day. However, if you’re a 5-minute gal for the next year and that’s all you need, that’s okay too. It’s really about making it work for you. You just have to start.
Tip #3 Set A Goal
Now personally when I’m establishing a new small habit I like to try to make it something that I do regularly. There are days where your mind is going to be all over the place. There are days when you are going to feel SO zen after. But the more days you’re trying the more days you can lean into the good ones.
A lot of meditation apps have progressive options. If you’ve got more time to devote to your new practice, go for it. Maybe you have a particularly stressful event that occurs a few times a week and you set a goal to meditate for 5 minutes before going in. When it comes to learning how to start meditating the key is that it’s like any habit. You want to associate good feelings with it if it’s going to be a long term solution.
So if you meditate before the stressful thing and find yourself feeling more calm going in rather than trying to force a new habit in the middle of chaos every day, you’re more likely to stick with it. Set a goal that feels like it will give you the most positive chance to succeed and tweak as necessary. Remember this is a habit not an item on your to-do list. It can only work in your favor.
TIP #4 TRY HABIT STACKING
If you watched my recent morning routine video, you’ll know that meditating is something I do first thing every day. But I created that habit by stacking it with something else I was already doing – letting my mind gentle wander as I woke up. For me, this is an essential part of my day because it lets me come back into my body on my own terms. And by pairing it with something I already love doing and find essential, it’s become a necessary part of my morning as well as a repeated habit throughout my day.
For you, this might be right after you brush your teeth or before you get in a bed at night. We all have little routines and cues guiding us throughout the day. The trick is finding the sequence that works for you. I often find I will meditate in the shower. I’m already there plus water is amazing for grounding our emotions. I’ll practice my visualizations along with adding some deep breathing. It’s a powerful combo.
TIP #5 DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW MEDITATION PRACTICES
There was quite a long gap in my meditation practice before I found the system that works for me now. Over time I realized that I wanted minimal/no guidance. And the apps I was using no longer served me.
Don’t be afraid to try all of them. Most have a few trials. You might find some voices are like nails on a chalkboard. In-person meditation classes are always fun just to switch it up. There are also tons that are geared toward specific topics if you find yourself in need of a mental shift during your meditation (i.e dealing with anxiety, finding inner peace, etc.) Just like working out, it’s all about doing whatever works for you in the moment.
TIP #6 DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP IF IT TAKES TIME
Getting comfortable sitting in your thoughts and learning to quiet your mind is honestly one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever done at first. Truthfully, it’s still not always the easiest and I find myself ready to run after a particularly tough session. Mentally and physically. So if you find it takes some time for you to sit still, I’d suggest journaling. Either before or as a regular habit.
When it comes to meditating, it’s all about learning what works for you. Maybe you need to focus on a mantra. Maybe you need to focusing on your breathing and your body. You might find you need both at different points in the day. But let yourself be open to the process of trying and finding the ways that work for you.
There’s no wrong way to meditate. So please don’t think if you are still struggling after a few times that you’re doing something wrong. Take a step back and ask yourself if maybe there’s another way for you to approach this.
For example, I often find when I’m in a lot of mental chaos, I really need to journal more than I need to meditate. For me, writing is a way to acknowledge something and move forward. You might find your meditation works best in the shower or on a walk. There is literally no wrong way to do it. The only way to fail is to give up. Give yourself permission to take your time in finding what works for you.
Best beginner apps for meditating
When I originally set out to write this post last year, I downloaded ALL the apps. And truthfully, there are several that aren’t just meditation apps. There are a few that are more therapy/journaling types that also feature meditation. The possibilities are endless.
But for a beginner, I would recommend Calm, Breethe, Peloton or Insight Timer. Calm and Breathe both offer trials along with paid subscriptions. There are sequences that help you get into a habit of meditating. They are also more well-known and feature celebrity options. I’ll talk more about the other two below.
Best free apps for meditating
Surprisingly, the best free apps for meditating are Youtube & Spotify. And of course, Insight Timer – it has a paid & free option. If you’re looking to try different styles of meditating, Youtube and Spotify will provide a lot more. Plus, you can get/give real time feedback.
My go-to apps for meditating
For years, when I was learning how to start meditating, Breethe was my go-to option (previously known as OMG I Can Breathe). But in time, I found myself really wanting just the quietness/being very picky. I found that I wanted less guidance which is available on Breethe. However, the setup with Insight Timer appealed more to me.
You can choose your background sounds, exactly how long you want to meditate and it tracks your daily progress. If you’re someone who likes to see how many days in a row you’ve meditated, this is great. I tend to reach for this app once or twice a week. If I’m in the mood for a guided meditation, I’ll go for my Peloton app. We have the bike (you can read the 2-year review here). But I find I use the app a ton in my everyday life.
However, my current go-to is a combination of Spotify and my Oura ring. I’ve recently fallen in love with the Manifesting playlist on Spotify. It’s mostly meditation/frequencies and I find it incredibly calming. Paired with my Oura ring which tracks my life (review coming soon so sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss it), I can see how I’m tracking throughout the day & when I’m meditating.
Alrighty friends, there we have it! All the things you need to know to start meditating and make it stick. Of course, you can absolutely expand on this and add a meditation pillow or set up a special space if it makes it more fun for you. Whatever helps you start and keep the habit is a great idea! But I hope this will help you push past any doubts so you can dive in. Feel free to DM me on Instagram with any questions. Sending you all the love. XOXO, Savvy
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