Being kind to yourself is a key ingredient to ensuring you get the most out of your meditation practice. However, for many of us, this doesn’t come easily. Mindfulness expert, Suzie Brown, touches on the signs that self compassion could be lacking from your practice followed by some simple tips to ensure you get the most out of your meditation.
Signs that compassion is missing from your practice include:
- You’re pushing yourself through your meditation practice, thinking, “I need to get rid of all these thoughts’. Remember, meditation isn’t about emptying your mind of thoughts, it’s about focusing on the present;
- When you inevitably have a “bad” meditation session (e.g. a busy mind or a restless body) you beat yourself up;
- You’re procrastinating and making excuses that you’ll meditate when you’re less tired, less edgy or have a full stomach.
If you think that a little bit of kindness has been lacking from your practice, you’re not alone. A gentle shift in your way of thinking is all you need to improve and benefit from meditation.
How to inject some kindness into your meditation sessions
- Remember that meditation is relaxation
Not the veg-out type like napping or watching TV, but an active relaxation where you feel rested and even energized afterwards. Meditation is the only chance your mind ever really gets to rest – to have a break from the fast pace of thinking and stimulus of our busy days.
- Make your meditation goals manageable
You need to ensure that your goals around the frequency and length of your meditation sessions are not too ambitious. Just being there is enough – make it a manageable amount of time. Only you know if it’s too short or too long. If it sounds manageable then set a goal of 10 minutes per day. If this even seems too much then start with a meditation of 10 breaths (often you will find you end up doing more).
- Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a session
If your goal is to meditate once per day and you miss a day, that’s okay! Just get back on board the next day without beating yourself up.
- Make it comfortable and enjoyable
This may sound obvious, but make sure you are comfortable when you meditate. If lotus (cross legged) position is painful then don’t do it – just kneel or sit in a chair. If sitting becomes painful, try lying down. Make it feel good. Compassion for your body (as well as your mind) is important.
- There is no such thing as a bad meditation session!!
This is the most important tip. All meditation is good meditation. If you have a meditation session where your mind or body is busy and restless, or you’re falling asleep, that’s okay. Congratulate yourself for meditating, regardless of what it was like!