How to Enjoy Meditation More:
Even If You Hate It

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Have you ever wondered how to enjoy meditation more?

Okay, maybe “hate” is a strong word, but I can honestly say that meditation is not the highlight of my morning routine.

For those who can identify with the tranquil benefits of meditation practice, I commend you…

…but what about my fellow mind wanderers?

There is only a handful of times I have been able to keep my focus on the recorded guidance or breath work. 

Even with the frequent reminders that there is “no right way,” something still feels wrong.

Read on to learn some tips and tricks to begin the journey on how to love meditation more, even if you hate it now! 

Also, check out the exercise suggestions at the end of the post!

Posted: January 11th, 2020

Last Edited: January 4th, 2020

Disclaimer: Although I am a mental health professional, all information and reflections are meant for educational purposes only. If you plan to make changes in your life, it may be worth consulting with loved ones and/or your wellness team. Also, this post may contain affiliate links for products I enjoy using and when making a purchase through those links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Intro

One piece of Acceptance and Commitment therapy showcases the problematic emotional buildup that can happen if we create “secondary anxiety” (Waters, Frude, Flaxman, & Boyd, 2018). 

To better explain, the common example used is being hooked up to an extremely sensitive polygraph machine. Firstly, you are told not to get too anxious.

Secondly you learn that if you DO show signs of anxiety, you will be found guilty of a crime you did not commit.

This is where secondary anxiety pops up: You become anxious about becoming anxious!

Can you notice the similarity to when you try to meditate? Do you lose meditative focus, get irritated and then get frustrated about your frustrations? Me too.

I can relate all too well to this scenario and have needed to make some adjustments to enhance my “calm.”

Below are some suggestions on ways you may be able to tweak your meditation attempts to create more Zen…

How to Enjoy Meditation More

Start Small

The maximum amount of time I can handle is 10 minutes. I have tried longer, but my to-do list interferes with staying in the present moment.

Start with timing yourself for one minute and just focus on your breathing, if this feels reasonable keep increasing the time. Been there, done that? Keep reading.

Guided Meditation

Silence is not my cup of tea and listening to a voice alone is not my cup of coffee.

I need a combination of white noise and a person influencing where my mind is to go.

If anything, I enjoy the soothing messages of hope, relaxation reminders or where my imagination wanders toward the vivid pictures painted by the speaker.

Regardless of the type of meditation I partake in, my mind still tootles off in other directions. That being said, guided forms still help keep me more focused.

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Enjoy What You Listen To

This may seem like common sense, but hear me out…

If the voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard for you, bail and search elsewhere. I cannot stand a track if I can hear a person’s spit ticking between their teeth as they speak.

There are so many spaces to access FREE recordings or even if paid, most have free trials to test if you enjoy their channel.

Also, I am one who needs variety because my mind will not stay on track if I am already aware of what the voice will say.

The Calm app (I pay a yearly subscription for this) has a new “Daily Calm” meditation each morning. Plus I get to choose the background sounds or music!

Meditation is not a “one size fits all” experience, so start exploring!

Add Meditation to Your Habit Tracker

Habit tracking is something that helps me keep on track with adding a new wellness activity to my life.

This is a great way to remember and start building it into your regular routine. This can be in a journal, agenda book, or phone app! (The Fitbit App added meditation tracking recently.)

Another thing you can do is RATE (on a scale of 1-10) if you enjoyed the meditation on your tracking tool.

If not, on to the next one and try something different!

Start Colouring

Tried all of the tricks and feel more skeptical than before you meditated?

Take a deep breath and know there is another option.

Although not quite the “regular” form of meditation, tap into your artistic side and put marker to paper.

What You Need to Get Started

Markers are great, but pencil crayons work too!

Adult colouring (or adolescent dependent on your age!) is pretty fabulous.

Trust me when I say that some of the blank pages for adults are well thought out and sometimes hilarious!

You can choose the level of detail you want in a book and a preference of ones specific for wellness or whatever theme you enjoy.

My go to? I love mandalas and using a fresh box of Crayola “Supertips” markers.

Setting Up Your Space

But wait, there is more…

Turn off your electronic devices and dedicate this time for focusing on your colouring.

The only electronic loophole is using something for light music or soothing sounds, so no Netflix or overstimulating tunes.

The bonus of colouring? An extra boost of accomplishment when you finish filling in all the lines!

Reflection

Practice does not always make perfect, no matter what meditation gurus say.

I get it, as I have been attempting meditation for many years and still struggle. The exception for me is with colouring because my mind becomes invested in my artistic self-care project.

Do not beat yourself up because you have not become a master meditator and just give thanks for taking time out of your day for you

Wellness Exercise

-Explore Options: Podcasts, YouTube, Google apps, Google meditation websites, ask friends, look for a class on your community event pages or at yoga studios, etc.

Personal Recommendations:

– Oprah and Deepak – Sign up to their email list for information on FREE 21-Day meditations.

– Calm App – As mentioned above, I enjoy the variety of meditations and background noise. Some added benefits include a mood check space, bedtime stories and relaxing music to play whenever you please.

– YouTube- Meditations that provide extensive details, such as walking through a field or flying, are ones that I enjoy the most. It almost feels like a brief escape and my imagination gets a solid workout.

– Buy a Colouring Book- Most bookstores carry adult colouring books, but if you need more variety check out Amazon or other online resources. Don’t forget your colouring utensils! I prefer a variety of colours for vibrancy, but use anything that will ‘brighten’ your day.

Reference

Waters, C. S., Frude, N., Flaxman, P. E., & Boyd, J. (2018). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for clinically distressed health care workers: Waitlist‐controlled evaluation of an ACT workshop in a routine practice setting. British Journal of Clinical Psychology57(1), 82–98. https://doi-org.libraryservices.yorkvilleu.ca/

10.1111/bjc.12155

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