Meditation. The word tends to produce a pretty visceral response when you hear it. Perhaps it’s one of serene excitement, where the nervous center has a Pavlov-dogs’ style reaction to the anticipation of getting a reset. Or maybe, it’s a feeling somewhere between skepticism and revolt, where the idea of slowing down strikes your “lack-of-productivity” nerve.
But as we enter World Mental Health Awareness week, we wanted to pave the way for radical access to this practice. Whether you’re experienced with mindfulness or in the latter camp of skeptics, don’t fret - Bluebird Botanicals has you covered with our brand new guide to starting (or enhancing) a daily meditation practice in three easy steps.
Step 1: Focus on Breath
Slow breath, take it eeeeasy. While starting a meditation practice may feel like a mental challenge, breathing (we hope) shouldn’t be. But it’s one of the most important cornerstones of meditation, and something even seasoned zen-masters could do well to remind themselves of.
Box breathing. Diaphragm breathing. Prolonged exhales. Breath is a versatile and ever-present tool. No matter where you go or what resources you have available, your breath and body are there for you.
Much of the focus of a meditation or mindfulness practice is on “returning” to the breath, much as Bluebird advocates for a return to self through promoting homeostasis in the body through the use of CBD. This is to mean that you aren’t expected to stay perfectly attentive - your focus may and likely will shift to rumination, the car alarm blaring outside, or that last unfinished item on your to-do list. But, because breath is always there, you can always find your way back.
So start and end here. Even if you don’t drop into a mindful state, and even if you never make it past this step, it’s a great way to link your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Step 2: Start Modestly
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be your meditation practice.
You don’t start a weightlifting regimen by heading into the gym and trying to leg press 700 lbs now, do you? So don’t start your meditation practice with a marathon. Shoot for five minutes a day, or even one. And be gentle with yourself - the point isn’t to beat yourself into meditating. Your mind will wander - just guide yourself back to the breath.
To those who have an existing meditation practice, this gentle reminder will ring especially true. Guide yourself back. Our more experienced meditators could also do well to remember the beginner’s mind - don’t let your expectations of how meditation should feel impact how you practice.
Even if you’re as seasoned at meditation as a Buddhist monk, a guided meditation or a progressive muscle relaxation can help you in a pinch if you’re really struggling to connect.
Step 3: Be Consistent
Whether you’re learning a new instrument or starting a meditation practice, consistency is key. Pick a time each day and stick to it. Try incorporating your meditation into your morning or evening routine, making it an extension of an already-formed habit. Meditate just before you brush your teeth, or after taking your serving of CBD.
That’s ultimately the most important step. Some days will be better than others, but showing up ensures that you’ll find those great meditation days for yourself.
We are Bluebird Botanicals are lucky enough to have a standing morning meditation at 9:15 a.m. each morning in our company’s “Quiet Room.” Not only does this help keep each other accountable, but the palpability of the participation of others adds another layer to the practice.
Why not ask your friends or coworkers about starting a meditation group?