Once thought of a practice for hardcore yogis or monks, meditation has become a full-blown trend recommended by both medical professionals and your nagging mother. Studies show meditation can reduce anxiety, improve focus and even unlock creativity.

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It’s simple, free and potentially life changing, so why are only
8% US adults meditating? Whether it’s time, dedication or knowing where to get started, you shouldn’t hold yourself back from learning to meditate.

Excuses shouldn’t hold you back. Take a look at our simple solutions to beginning your meditation practice.

Excuse 1: I don’t have enough time.

Meditation doesn’t have to take up much of your day, especially when you’re starting out. You don’t have to meditate for more than 5 minutes a day to start seeing results.

Many try to knock it out first thing in the morning, others find meditation to be a great way to wind down at the end of the day. Remember, this practice is just for you, so find any time that works. Practicing consistently is often more important than the length of each session.

Excuse 2: I don’t know how to meditate.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to meditating. You can’t flunk out of meditation class, and there are no World Championships of Meditation (as far as I know.) What’s most important is finding elements of practice that work for you.

If you have a hard time clearing your mind, try guided meditation apps or YouTube videos to give you direction. If group meditation sounds more appealing, check out your local yoga studios; many offer mediation courses or one-off workshops.

Trying different meditation techniques can help you create your ultimate practice. Visit local spiritual centers and yoga studios for inspiration. Piece together different experiences to find elements that work for you.

Excuse 3: I’m not “spiritual.”

If you haven’t picked up on this yet, meditation is not a one size fits all practice. Some people find it spiritual, while others simply find it to be a healthy mental exercise.

Try using your reason for mindfulness meditation as a driver. Why do you want to start meditating? Let an anxiety free life, better sleep or a search for focus be your personal motivation.

Excuse 4: I can’t sit still.

Many of us find the idea of sitting still for even 5 minutes daunting. In a culture that values speed, slowing down is often the biggest challenge.

If sitting still is keeping you from starting a practice, know this: meditation comes in many forms, and not all of them involve sitting still. Alternate a sitting practice with similar, but active practices like walking meditation or mindful eating.

That being said, challenge yourself to find stillness in mindful meditation, even if it’s only for a minute or two.

Excuse 5: I’m just not good at it.

Meditation is not a competitive sport. But, just like going to the gym or learning a new craft, you will become more comfortable in meditation the more you do it.

If you find your first time discouraging, remember not to be hard on yourself. Be proud of yourself for taking the time for self-care. Keep a log after every session and record how you feel. Taking note of progress can show you how far you’ve come.

At the end of the day, you can’t be “bad” at meditation. You can drop it, pick it up at a later time or jump into the practice only when you feel you really need it. It’s there for you whenever you need it.

Find a comfortable seat, set your timer to five minutes, breathe deep and thank me later.