by Lucy Rendler-Kaplan | Featured Contributor
How do you feel about meditation? I’ll start: for me, it was very hard to get into. Things are generally harder the more you think about them, as opposed to just jumping in and starting them, and that’s how it was for me with meditation. I thought, “I can’t sit quietly for that long,” “I am not sure I want to get that deep into my head,” and “I’m a little scared of it, honestly.” And while it’s easy to begin something once you decide to, sticking with it is another story. They say it takes 30 days of doing something for it to become more natural, almost a habit.
So how do you start? I have found that meditation is more than simply signing up at your local studio. That is one way, certainly, to keep accountability – if you are like me, you are more likely to do something day after day if you know you’ve spent money to attend a class, but what if you don’t have time to get a studio each day? Or what if there just isn’t one you’ve “clicked with” nearby?
Here are some of the steps that have worked for me, bringing me from a meditation skeptic, to someone that craves that time in each day.
- Live For Today
- Don’t look 30 days out. Take it day by day. Just for today tell yourself, “I am going to meditate today.” Telling yourself “just for today” you are going to do something, relieves a bit of the pressure. I chose 9 pm, so on day 1 I told myself, “Today at 9 pm, I am going to meditate.” I set the alarm on my phone to go off at 8:55pm, because I felt that was a bit of accountability – when the alarm goes off, that was my reminder.
- Start Small
- On your first day of meditation, you don’t have to sit there for 15 minutes. I told myself that I would set my alarm again on my phone for 9:05pm. Honestly, you can do almost anything you can think of for “just five minutes.” I knew that I would see how I felt after those five minutes, and adjust my time goal for Day 2. If those first five minutes felt more like 30, I would aim for 3 minutes the second night. If those five minutes flew by, I would aim for 7 minutes on day 2.
- Find a Comfortable Spot
- Find somewhere you feel calm that you can sit quietly with no distractions. You might want to light a candle near you that has a scent you find pleasing. You mainly want to find somewhere that you feel safe and at peace, and where you can just be. This place will be somewhere you go every day for your meditation time, so you want it to be a stable environment.
- Don’t Make It A Chore
- While I did put an alarm on my phone to set myself up for Day 1, I didn’t add “meditate” to my calendar or to-do list. I wanted to do this to get more in touch with myself and my feelings, and to begin to center myself with an increasing work-load and a bit of stress I had been feeling. We would advise not to start meditating because you’re reading more about it in blogs that come out each day, or because “everyone else is doing it,” or because “it’s in lately.” We think those reasons won’t keep you interested in meditation for very long, and you most likely won’t get as much out of it as you probably can. Maybe it’s not the right time for you to start a meditation practice – that’s fine. It isn’t going anywhere.
- The easiest way that I found to begin, was to breathe in and out and focus on my breathing. I found that to be centering and a way to begin to quiet my mind. If I was focused, I wasn’t thinking about feeling uncomfortable with the idea of meditation, or worrying if I was somehow doing it wrong. There are many apps you can also use to help guide you through breathing if you find that easier. After a few days of meditating daily, I found that occasionally strong emotions would come up while I was sitting – going back to focusing on my breathing helped get through those feelings at times I wasn’t feeling ready to deal with the issues. After my first 30 days of meditating, I learned I COULD sit quietly, and I even began looking forward to the time in my day that I knew I was going to be sitting by myself with my thoughts, and not having to worry about what was next, or what work was like that day. It was my time to be with me, and enjoy my own company. I also found that during my day, I was able to let things that prior to starting to meditate would bother me much more deeply than they began to. I found times during throughout the day that I would be calming myself and becoming more centered without even thinking about it.
Lucy Rendler-Kaplan is a marketing veteran, with close to 17 years experience in field marketing management public relations and social media marketing. Both in-house and as a consultant, Lucy has created, developed and managed marketing projects for organizations including: Red Bull North America, ONE Coconut Water, Camel and Ethos Water, to name a few.
Most recently, Lucy has left corporate America to work as a consultant, focusing on small businesses and start-ups to design effective social media and marketing strategies to jumpstart brand growth. In addition to strategic business development efforts, she directs media relations, branding, advertising and website development.
As a social media consultant, Lucy works with companies in auditing their current social media efforts and creating a comprehensive social media strategy that aligns company-wide objectives through social business practices.
With an early background in journalism, Lucy regularly contributes to a number of NFL and music blogs, as well as her own, with a diverse focus encompassing Lucy’s passion not only for networking and marketing but also for fitness. She spends her free time honing her photography skills, running and watching an excessive amount of true crime shows.