Choosing your reactions just takes a little mindfulness.
We talk about the importance of making a habit out of your meditation practice, but then the holidays roll around and you’re presented a slew of challenges.
Your schedule could be thrown, or you might wake up in a different time zone, or find yourself surrounded by family 24/7 – some of whom don’t understand why you think it’s so important to sit quietly with your eyes closed. It can even feel a little self-indulgent: with so many things to do, how can you just sit there?
To help, we’ve put together a few strategies to make finding some uninterrupted time a little easier.
Keep it on the down-low. If you’ve just started meditating it can be tempting to tell everyone you know about it. But sometimes this can create the opposite reaction to the one you’re hoping for. People can even feel slightly threatened by this new behavior. Instead of giving you the space you need, they might interpret it as criticism – you’re meditating and they’re not, so how does that reflect on them? In the end, the best way to demonstrate the benefits of meditation is by doing it. Once they see the positive effect it has on you, they might even encourage you to do it. But for now, just find somewhere quiet, close the door and do it. There’s no need to issue a press release.
Schedule skillfully. Normally we recommend meditating first thing in the morning, as this is often a time that’s relatively easy to defend. That may mean making some allowances; if you’re planning to meditate first thing, you might need to go to bed just a little earlier. Meditation is for the mind as sleep is for the body, so don’t worry, you’ll make up for those missed minutes in bed.
Don’t feel guilty. When there are so many things that need doing, taking even 10 minutes for yourself can feel self-indulgent. So it’s worth bearing in mind that by meditating you’re not just benefiting you, but the people around you, and the people closest to you in particular. That clearer, calmer mind leaves more room for the people you love. Meditation has also been shown to make us more tolerant of our partners, and develops the part of the brain that helps us to modulate emotion. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?
Practice acceptance. Acceptance is a big part of meditation – just looking into the mind and seeing what’s there, without judgement. So on the days when it’s hard to settle down, when you’re interrupted or there’s more background noise than you’d like, just observe your feelings and see it as an opportunity to practice acceptance. It’s by changing our perspective like this that the obstacles become part of our journey.