You’ve probably heard that meditation can be really freaking good for you. From reducing stress to making you smarter, the benefits of incorporating meditation into your life sound great. However, when it comes to actually trying it, the idea can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get started, and you don’t have to be good at it from the beginning. (It is, after all, called a practice.) And with countless apps out there to help make it easier, even just five minutes of meditation per day can make a difference.
If you’re trying meditation for the first time—or trying to get back into the habit—you know it’s not all “om” and blissful emptiness. In fact, we’re pretty sure you might even have one (or all) of these thoughts when you give it a try.
1. This is going to be so easy.
Sitting on the floor doing nothing? Piece. Of. Cake. I bet I could even do a silent retreat.
2. Do I keep my eyes open or closed?
Is there, like, a meditation protocol? Maybe some “best practices” I should google?
3. Oh god, should I read more about it now? Or later?
What if I’m doing it wrong? Can you meditate wrong?
4. Has it been five minutes yet? I’m getting tired.
I shouldn’t look. The timer will go off any second. It’s fine.
5. I remember that one time, eight years ago, when I made that really awful comment. What if everyone hates me, and I just don’t know it?
Is it too late to apologize?
6. That it’s tooo laaaaaaaaaate, it’s tooo laaaaaaate. Said it’s too late to apologizeeeeee, it’s too laaaaaaate.
Dammit, now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day.
7. Why hasn’t the timer gone off yet?
Seriously, maybe I forgot to hit start? It’s been at *least* five minutes. Maybe 10. HOW HAS IT ONLY BEEN TWO MINUTES?!
8. Is that… is that smell me?
Why do I smell like pancakes?
9. Oh my god, I want pancakes. Lots and lots of pancakes.
After meditation, I definitely deserve it.
10. I just need to focus. Focus. I can do this. Focus. Ommmm.
Is that why they make that sound? To give them something to focus on? I need to google it when I’m finished.
11. Did I leave the stove on? I definitely left something on.
I forgot what I forgot. This is a bad sign, right?
12. Whoops, lost my focus. Again.
If they gave out medals for this, I’d definitely win the gold for Worst Meditation Ever.
13. OH MY GOD IT’S OVER.
I’m never doing that again. Ever.
14. … OK, but I’m basically a zen god now. I need to do this every day.
Am I glowing? I feel like I’m glowing.
Regardless of what you’re thinking while meditating, remember that it’s definitely OK for your mind to wander. Meditation isn’t just about relaxing or finding a sense of calm. Be gentle with yourself, guide your thoughts back to where you *want* to focus, and keep practicing. You don’t have to be good at it to enjoy some great benefits.
Jandra Sutton is an author, historian, and public speaker. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their two dogs, and Pluto is still a planet in her heart. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.