Meditating is a great way to practice mindfulness and manage stress in your daily life, but if you’ve never done it before, getting started can definitely be intimidating. I’m relatively new to meditating myself, and I often find myself getting distracted by my thoughts.
According to meditation teacher and actor Logan Browning, this is a totally normal experience, even for seasoned meditation practitioners. “All of those thoughts and things that happen — like distraction, if you get bored, whatever it is — that’s not something that’s unique to one person,” she told me in a phone interview before her Chase Sapphire meditation event.
“I think there’s maybe a mysticism around [meditation],” she said. “Sometimes people, when it’s their first time, they’re sitting down thinking, ‘Oh man, all these other people are able to quiet their mind, but my mind is so busy because I’ve got a lot going on.'”
In those moments, Browning encourages perspective — everybody has a lot going on, and you can actually make the distracting thoughts part of your meditation.
For Browning, it’s the worrying about getting distracted that often becomes the distraction. Instead, if you find your mind wandering, let yourself notice the thought and then try to bring yourself back to an anchor, be that your breath, a phrase, or your physical body.
This advice goes back to the Dear White People star’s definition of mindfulness. She described mindfulness as “recognizing, allowing, and just altogether noticing everything that is in the present moment and not trying to fight what it is, even if it feels uncomfortable.”
Another thing beginners might not realize about meditating is that there are so many different ways to do it. Beyond a sitting, breath-focused meditation, Browning suggested a walking meditation or even something as simple as grinding fresh beans for your morning coffee and paying extra attention to the scents and textures around you.
Ultimately, she wants people to understand that meditation and mindfulness are accessible to everyone.
“It doesn’t have to feel like you have to be some master yogi or super fit,” she said. “When I was growing up, I thought that in order to do yoga, you had to be skinny, blonde, and in yoga pants. And then in order to meditate, you had to be someone from the East or in a different part of the world to really get it.”
Through the meditation videos she posts on her Instagram and conversations like this one, Browning hopes to shatter those stereotypes and make mindfulness more approachable.
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Image Source: Chase