Holly Konrady, M.Ed., e-RYT500
What is it about structure that allows us to be successful?
In general, a structure in your work or activities of daily life has so many benefits for our wellbeing as well as our productivity- whether you’re cooking a meal, planning for your department, or trying to meditate every day. However, depending upon what kind of person you are this can be easier said than done.
I’ve worked with plenty of people who make it really easy for me to help them start meditating. I tell them how, when, how long, and how often- and they do it. Some even write it into their planners! They are good at structure. But, if you’re like me, I tend to be a little disorganized (without structure) and have a tendency to go off on a tangent if someone suggests a better idea.
Here are some ideas that may be the answer to the conundrum of thinking your mind is busier than anyone else’s in the whole world, so this business of meditation is just not for you. Not really, you just need to build it into your life in a sneaky creative way. And, know that you really need it!
For starters, I like to introduce the concept of mindfulness. The act of paying attention on purpose without judgment. You can do this anywhere. I practice sometimes while I’m listening to someone talk. It’s easy to let the mind wander, but if I make a point of listening to each word, I don’t have to pull myself back into the conversation as often. I’m a better listener.
I also use a meditation App- this way an experienced meditation teacher with a soothing voice can speak to you for as long as you are willing to sit. I particularly like Youtube because I can type anything into the search bar and choices appear. Phone Apps such as Headspace, Ten Percent Happier or Calm tend to be helpful too. Pick one and go for it.
Another tip is to find a meditation buddy. It works with exercise- so it should work with a commitment to meditate at a certain time each day with a friend. You can Zoom in or meet in-person. Or try a meditation challenge. I did one at the start of the new year on Ten Percent Happier and it really helped me become consistent.
I personally like the idea of meditating first thing in the morning. I’ve developed the habit of waking up and meditating first. Now waking and meditating are tied together, like brushing your teeth and bedtime. My regular routine- looks something like this: rise about the same time each morning, stretch for 5 minutes, even if I’m still in bed, then choose a comfortable position to meditate (sitting upright) for any number of minutes. The benefits for the rest of my day begin here. I have set the tone and provided myself with a psychological sense of progress that gives the rest of my day some shape and structure.
Meditation could be viewed as mental fitness and when we exercise our bodies, this is physical fitness. We need both- because the truth is your mind affects your body and your body affects your mind.
Different routines work for different people, so take time to experiment and build a routine that works for you. It will take discipline to get started, but the benefits of structure eventually far outweigh any negatives. So, show up every day for as long as you like. That’s structure. You’ve got this!