Thanks to everyone who came to our first Lift meetup here in San Francisco. The conversation naturally gravitated toward meditation after every attendee shared that meditation was one of their top goals. We spent the bulk of the meetup exchanging tips on how to keep up a daily practice. Here were the top tips:
- If you’re having trouble getting started with daily meditation, mindfulness exercises can ease into the practice. These exercises are simply individual techniques you might use during a mindfulness meditation: body scan, noticing how different parts of your body feel, making statements about the present such as “I am aware _____.” Find instructions for the I Am Aware exercise here.
- Try different forms of meditation to find what works for you. Many people used guided mindfulness meditations such as the ones on Lift, Pam and Erin like to listen to positive affirmations, Jeremy has tried many forms of meditation including loving-kindness meditation, and Zack prefers to meditate while swimming.
- Create a trigger for your meditation habit. Terrie puts on her coffee maker before she begins her morning session. Jeremy keeps his meditation stool where he’ll see it every day (he noticed that he stopped meditating when he moved it!).
- Meditate every day, even if it only lasts for one breath. Pam defines meditation broadly after taking a long break–any reflective time counts– so that it’s easier for her to complete the first step and build momentum. Corrie told us about the time she rushed to her meditation spot at 11:59pm for a quick meditation so that she could check it off her Lift goal list. Alexi once meditated drunk, his head wobbling for the duration of the session, just to keep up the daily habit. It was a good reminder to meditate before going out but more so an important message to send to your brain: that meditation is something you do everyday. Sometimes your daily meditation will be more about keeping the daily habit alive than having a great session and that is okay.
- If you hit a plateau with your meditation as Alexi did after using guided meditations from Headspace for one year, try a new type of meditation or new environment. Alexi began seeing improvements after joining group meditations at a San Francisco Buddhist Center.
- Corrie suggested not making meditation too precious. You don’t need to overthink meditation, you just need to show up and do it.
- Many people stop meditating because they think they are bad at it, but meditation is supposed to be hard. Jeremy recalled a teacher who told him that if sitting for meditation feels challenging, that means you’re making progress. He described the five buddhist hindrances that you face during meditation: sleepiness, restlessness, ill-will, desire, and doubt. Also, no one has ever died from feelings those feelings, so don’t stop!
- You aren’t supposed to be good at meditation. Tuuti talked about how we’re not supposed to meditate for the sake of getting something out of the single meditation session. Meditation has longterm benefits but those should not be the only goal of your meditation session.
- Aaron, who studies cognitive science, likes to read articles and research on meditation to motivate himself to sit for a meditation session.
- Think of the consequences of not meditating before deciding not to meditate today. Aaron shared a motivating quote he’d heard from his meditation teacher: “If you aren’t there [to meditate], you aren’t there to know you aren’t there.”
Thanks again to everyone who came! If you’re interested in hosting a Lift meetup in your city, reach out to us! Bonus: We’re writing a book on meditation and how a mindfulness practice can help you achieve your business goals. Sign up to receive free chapters and get updates on when it will launch.