How to Actually Keep a Resolution to Meditate
Getting on the Right Thought Bus
We’re predicting a strong January here at 10% Happier.
Like gyms across the country, apps like ours see a nice spike after New Years Day, as people make resolutions to eat better, work out more… and meditate more too.
Of course, that will probably level off in February. Real life has a way of getting in the way of our best intentions and resolutions. There are ways, though, to increase your chances of sticking with that New Year’s Resolution to Meditate. Here are some tips.
Actually Having a Happy Holiday
After college, I spent time in Sri Lanka doing intensive meditation practice at various Buddhist monasteries and centers. My family is originally from Sri Lanka, but I was born and raised in the US, so while I could speak conversationally, I was not good at reading. I could read slowly like a small child, but certainly not fluently.
How to Survive the Holidays
For many people, the good cheer and family time of the holiday season ease the burden of darkness. Yet for many others, the holiday season is the most difficult of the year, and the relentless major-key music and myths of family harmony only worsen the natural ebbs of December. Many people are at their loneliest and most despondent precisely when our culture acts as though everyone is warm, partnered, and together.
Spending time with family members over the holidays—the season of “good will to all” —can often be seriously challenging. Family gatherings can reveal a widening canyon of personal, political, and cultural differences, and table conversations can often halt in tense silence or devolve into explosive argument. Instead of gritting your teeth and drinking more eggnog, here are five tips to stay sane during the holiday season.
Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving
“Quiet, please,” is a phrase I say to myself in almost every meditation session.
Those exact words, I mean, taken from the semi-famous phrase uttered by Wimbledon umpires to hush up an over-enthusiastic crowd. Even the tone helps: a little British, a little decorous. Not hostile. After all, British.
Who is the "Witness"?
But most of all, Thanksgiving is something that everyone can appreciate. Who among us couldn’t use a little more gratitude in our lives? A little less taking for granted; a little more stopping and smelling the roses. It’s a great holiday. And, of course, it’s intimately related to the art of waking up – to becoming more aware of what’s around us every day.
Kitchen Cabinet Mindfulness
You may have noticed that experienced meditators sometimes speak in code. For example, “I’m sitting with a lot of anger right now” is meditation-ese for “I am extremely pissed off at you.” Or, “It’s interesting to watch all of these thoughts come and go” is meditator code for “I can’t freaking sit still for five seconds right now!”
One term meditation nerds often use is the word “Witness.” Usually as a noun, though sometimes as a verb. “Rest in the witness,” many meditation teachers say. What does that mean?
This Election Day, Be a Mindful Voter
My ex-husband used to say I left the kitchen cabinets open all the time. I denied it and ignored him, which might explain why he’s now my ex-husband. But in recent years, in my new, multigenerational household in which I live with my nine-year-old daughter and my mother (now known as Grandma) —Grandma’s got my number.
Going Trick-or-Treating in Your Mind
While for some of us this election is a no-brainer, many other people are legitimately on the fence between different candidates and choices. Once again, mindfulness is not separate from this decision. I might look inside (ahead of time, not in the voting booth!) and see what factors of mind are present when I consider each candidate. Hope? Fear? Mistrust? Am I looking too hard for moral purity, or not hard enough? Am I compromising too much, or too little?
Tech Sanity, Part Two: Mindful Speech Online
For most adults, Halloween is kids’ stuff, more associated with warm family memories than actual terror. But Halloween does have darker roots. Imagine you’re an alien dropped in an American suburb on October 31. WTF is going on?
How to be a Good Enough Parent
A recent profile of the founders of Facebook suggested that their optimism about the power of social media resembled a religious faith. When people around the world could connect with one another, this faith promised, we’d all be happier, freer, and more politically engaged.
How’s that working out for you?
How to Survive The News
Research has shown that securely attached people have high self-esteem; they are willing to take risks towards their goals; they seek out social connection and support and tend to have trusting, long-term relationships. These are all the things we want for our children (and ourselves, our partners, our friends).
Are you a Zoë or a Zelda?
If you follow the news, most weeks are stressful. But this last week was something else. Indeed, the spectacle of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was excruciating to watch, whatever side of the political fence you’re on.
The Wisdom of Autumn
Let’s say that the point of meditation is to be happier – 10% happier, you might say. But what does that really mean?
You Can't Beat the Critic
I have a funny relationship with fall. On the one hand, autumn -- which officially starts this week -- is my favorite season. On the other hand, autumn is depressing AF.
Right Now, It's Like This
Some funny things happen when you pay attention to the critic while you’re meditating. First, you’ll notice that s/he never shuts up. If your mind’s not on one of his favorite subjects – your career, your body, your family, your love life – he’ll happily talk about anything. How you’re meditating, for example (badly).
Making Boredom Your Friend
Every animal, down to the microscopic level, wants more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Poke a paramecium, and it recoils. Put it near some sugar, and it goes for it. (Note: I know nothing about paramecia. I’m making this up.) That is how life works.
Here’s the truth: meditation is often boring. And so is life, sometimes.
Fortunately, boredom can actually become your friend, whether you’re meditating or just, you know, living your life, waiting in the dentist’s office, being bored.