The simple tactic I used to start meditating for life

How many of you know someone who preaches about eating healthy and losing weight but it’s painfully obvious he hasn’t followed his own advice? The guy weighs a metric ton and he’s telling YOU what to eat?! This is a sad but true reality.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

How about someone who’s all for saving the environment but drives a Hummer?

If you don’t, you’re lying and I don’t believe you. We all know one of those people.

Call them jerks, hypocrites, whatever you feel like. But at the heart of the issue is something we’ve all done at some point in our life. We read a book, thought we knew everything, but never actually lifted a finger to practice what we’d learned. “I don’t have time today.” We say. “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, we feel compelled to spread our newfound knowledge and cast it upon those willing (and unwilling) to listen.

I’ve been one of those people. I was the anti-stress and meditation master.

I knew it all. After going through some tough times (like crazy anxiety for health and family problems), I found and read countless blogs, books, and forums looking for ways to fix my issues. I learned about Buddha, meditation, and other daily practices to simply stop worrying so damn much.

“Great.” I thought. “Now I just need to find some time to meditate and chill out.”

Problem was I never made time. I always had some lame excuse about being too busy. I would literally do anything else just to put off my practice — watch TV, browse Reddit, play video games, eat, you name it.

For several months, I became “that guy”. The one I mentioned earlier. I thought I had the answer to anyone stressed out about anything.

“Just meditate, dude. Sit down for 20 minutes and focus on your breath. It’s that easy.”

Only it wasn’t. Here I was giving him this advice that I was too chicken to follow myself. I was afraid it wouldn’t work for me and then I’d be hopeless. So instead of trying I DID NOTHING.

Fast forward a few more months and my problems got worse.

My anxiety was at an all-time high and the whole doing nothing thing clearly wasn’t working. Twenty minutes of meditating still seemed daunting though.

So I started with 1 minute. Just one. Then the next day I did it again. And the next day. This went on for about a week. After that I increased my time to 2 minutes, and eventually worked my way up to 5. I actually looked forward each day to those short sessions.

With all that being such a big success, I decided to up my game.

I had heard about Headspace and the Calm app for your phone. Both with awesome reviews and highly recommended for reducing stress and anxiety. I went with Headspace and their “take 10” free introduction to meditation challenge.

Perfect. By the end of those 10 days, I was hooked for life.

Have you ever signed up for a 5k or obstacle course race and came up with some ridiculously intense training program that was going to get you in the best shape ever? “I’m going to run 5 miles everyday this week, then 7 next week. And 10 the next.”

How long did that last? If you’re like me, I never made it to my 5-mile session.

“Just kill me now. I won’t make it.”

The same concept I used for meditating works for just about anything.

Getting started is hands down the hardest part of doing. So make it super easy to start and let momentum carry you forward.

If you’re curious, the best I’ve ever felt was after doing that “take 10” challenge everyday for 10 days straight. And since then, I’ve got a much better handle on my anxiety.

I learned so much more about meditating because I had finally done it. It made sense in a way I could never understand before.

If you’re not familiar, close your eyes for 15 seconds, and focus on your breath. Try to think about nothing. Find a mental point with your eyes closed and “stare” at it.

Your mind will naturally try to dwell on any stupid thing it can. This is natural and let it happen. But I bet in that 15 seconds, you’ll be able to feel total clarity for at least 1. And it feels good. Like nothing else matters in the world at that instance. You just are.

Congrats on your first successful meditation session. Forget about needing to meditate for 20 minutes every morning and night. If you get just a moment’s worth of total peace, you’ve won.

If you want to start practicing, I want you to use this advice to take action.

Meditating really is an incredible tool to have in your kit. Check out this short list of benefits which is really just the tip of the iceberg:

• Decreases depression
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Improves focus and attention
• Helps your brain process information better which leads to better decision-making and less forgetting
• Improves mood and well-being

If you’re like me and stricken with anxiety, finding ways to chill the hell out is paramount. Mediation is just one of them. But again, you actually have to practice (and not just read this article about it).

After experiencing it for myself, I’m hooked and can’t go back. The same thing happened to me with lifting weights. I hate the feeling of not doing it regularly, and I love the way I feel when I do it. That’s how they’ve become habits of mine for life.

Being honest, no I don’t meditate everyday. It’s the main tool I use to, but I’ve got a few tricks that come in handy when on the go or if I can’t find the alone time to meditate.

Just for you guys, I’ve listed my favorite apps you can use to start meditating and my tricks for when I can’t. Try out some of these methods and start experiencing the benefits yourself.

Tips to rememeber
• Take the advice in this article and start small then build momentum
• Don’t worry about the details on how to meditate, just do and learn as you go
• Focus on your breathing
• Notice when your mind wanders, and pull it back in. This is the practice of it and gets easier the more you train
• Meditation isn’t about suppressing thoughts, it’s about just watching them go by and not being consumed by them
• Check in with yourself and take stock on how you’re feeling

• Headspace
• Calm
• Relax Melodies
• Buddhify

• 4 is the magic number here. Try taking 4 deep breaths and focus only on your breathing. 4 seconds in, hold for 4 seconds, and 4 seconds out. You can literally do this anywhere. This is my go-to when feeling a surge of anxiety. When we’re anxious, our heartbeat increases and breathing becomes rapid. It’s impossible to stay in this state if you’re forcing yourself to pace your breathing.
• Deep breathing while laying in bed (both morning and/or night). Try the 4–4–4 tempo I outlined above, or give the 7–4–8 tempo a try. Get creative and come up with your own that works for you. Try doing this for either a specific set (like 4 rounds) or for a set time. Start small.
• Deep breathing while driving. Don’t space out too much and lose yourself. Doing this at night with the windows down and heat on high is awesome.
• Meditate in the shower. Probably my favorite time to sneak in some extra me time. Relaxing while naked? Yes please.
• Check out adult coloring books, which are becoming increasingly popular thanks to science and media

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