The Importance of Meditation in Crazy Times

By Leo Babauta

These are times of heightened change, disruption, uncertainty, fear, anxiety. It can feel pretty crazy for most of us.

So how do we cope? What can we do in the middle of chaos and crisis?

This is when meditation becomes of critical importance.

Without meditation, we have no way of dealing with the anxieties coming up.

All of our old ways of coping (which don’t normally work very well) are not working at all:

So if our usual ways of coping with worry and uncertainty cannot work right now … what can we do?

We can freak out. Or we can meditate. It’s our choice.

What Meditation Can Do Right Now

Meditation isn’t magic, but it is a medicine for uncertainty and anxiety.

Here’s what it can do for us in these times of heightened fears:

These are just a few things you might see from meditation. Obviously, there’s much more to it. But it’s worth practicing.

How to Form the Meditation Habit

If you don’t already have a meditation habit, don’t worry … it’s absolutely doable. If you’ve done it before but let it drop, don’t worry … just let go of any guilt and start again.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Pick a time. Let’s say 7am each day. Actually, it’s best to pick something you already do every single day, and tie the habit to that event – right when you wake up, for example, or right after you shower.
  2. Set a reminder. Put the reminder on your phone and calendar every day, so you don’t forget. Also put a paper note somewhere you’ll see it. Forgetting to do the habit is very common in the beginning.
  3. Set a timer for 2 minutes. When you’re ready to meditate, pick a comfortable spot (a chair or couch is fine), and set a timer for just 2 minutes to start with. Yes, that’s very short, but it’s a great way to start out a new habit – start very small, so it’s easier to stick to. You can increase it by a couple minutes every 7 days, if you do well at sticking to it.
  4. Just pay attention to your breath. It’s a simple thing to put your attention on – turn your mind’s attention to the breath, and leave it there for the 2 minutes. When (not if) your mind wanders from the breath to thoughts … simply notice, and bring the mind back to the breath. Don’t worry about getting distracted, it happens to everyone. Just keep coming back to the breath.
  5. When the timer goes off, thank yourself. A little gratitude helps to stick to any habit. Thank yourself for making the effort, and notice what good this small practice has brought you.

It’s pretty simple, but you have to notice the benefits or you’ll put off the habit.

Zen Habits Meditation Room

If you’d like to meditate with me and the Zen Habits community, we’ve created a Zen Habits Meditation Room on Zoom to help people during these uncertain, anxiety filled times.

We’re aiming to have three meditations a day:

Read here for the current schedule (it might change) and the link to the meditation room. Join us!

Daily Meditation Challenge in April

One more offering from us … we’re holding a Daily Meditation Challenge in April in our Sea Change Program. We’d love for you to join us!

The challenge is designed to help you form the daily meditation habit.

Here’s how it works:

Ready to give it a shot?

Join Sea Change today (free for 7 days).