Choosing your reactions just takes a little mindfulness.
Like the low-sugar, birthday cake ice cream I found in the supermarket, meditation has also changed my life over the past year. And I recently began to share my story with friends and family. (Don’t worry, I also told them about the ice cream.)
In talking about my meditation journey to strangers and close friends alike, I started noticing that the way I told the story strongly affected how people reacted to it. Because I think everyone in my life could benefit from a little meditation, I inevitably try to convince people to give it a try. Maybe you’ve felt the same urge, too. Here’s how I’ve convinced my friends and family to start meditating.
It’s tempting to send a message encouraging your friends and family to do Headspace’s Take10 challenge and then consider your job done. But inboxes have a tendency to get clogged. We all get so many emails and texts that it can be easy to read it and forget about it. Instead, talk to them about it first, and then click that “share some free Headspace” button. They’ll be so much less likely to delete the message.
People need to come to meditating on their own time, at their own pace. I read a book about meditation months before I decided to give Headspace a try. Just because people understand that something like meditation can help them become a happier person doesn’t always mean they’re ready to commit to the practice. I don’t believe putting pressure on a friend or family member will speed up the process. The best option feels like presenting them with the information about your journey, and being there to support them or answer any questions when they’re ready to get started.
People seem to be understandably wary of a cure-all for struggles in their lives. Meditation is not a cure-all, but it does have the ability to improve people’s lives in a slew of ways. Sometimes when I talk about how meditation has helped me, I realize I might sound like I’m overstating the truth. Who says things like, “Yes, it helps me not take my thoughts so seriously AND helps me out in stressful situations”? It’s important to realize how statements like that might sound to others. Basically, like I’m lying to make myself look better!
That’s why when talking about my experiences, I don’t only talk about the benefits of meditation. I talk about the things that make it difficult to do sometimes: that sometimes it’s tough to find 10 minutes, or that I’m not always in the mood. It helps people see that while beneficial overall, meditation is still a skill that requires practice. But it’s worth it.
Despite often being on the road for work and being a busy person in general, I’ve made time in my schedule for at least 10 minutes a day of meditating over 380 days in a row. Even though I’ve fully integrated meditation into my life, it’s still surprising to type that, since I don’t believe I’ve ever made a daily commitment to something other than eating food and breathing air. But I’m living proof that committing to meditation is possible. People often ask me how the heck I do it, and I try to give examples about how I fit in my daily practice.
It’s one thing to read on the internet about someone who inspires you, it’s another to talk to someone face-to-face. I learned that trying to give someone advice on how I think they would do something doesn’t quite work. When you’re talking about your own journey, people tend to automatically put themselves in your shoes and think about if your way of doing things would work for them. So tell your story as best you can, and hope that you can inspire someone close to you.
The author of this post is an editorial contributor to Headspace. These are their views, experiences and results and theirs alone. This contributor was paid for their writing.