People ask me some variation of this question all the time: "Are there any tips you have for how to meditate? I just can't get my mind to sit still no matter what I try."
And the answer is "Of course I have tips for how to meditate!" I've written about them on the blog before. I've written about them so much, in fact, that I have a whole category of posts dedicated to meditation tips.
But all those tips are about how you meditate, or what you should do while meditating. What if I told you that you could do something before meditating that could improve your meditation practice? It might seem strange, but this really works.
Clean your room. Or even better, clean your whole house.
You might be thinking, "What? I close my eyes when I meditate. I can't even see if my house is messy or not." But that's not completely true. Your mind internalizes the area that you live in. Even if you aren't paying attention to the mess, when you are in a messy house your mind functions differently (and not in a good way).
In fact, there are several studies now showing that a cleaner home can lower your risk of heart disease, reduce stress hormone levels, and improve sleep. How interesting that all of these benefits are also benefits of regular meditation.
The reality is that your mind worries about the mess in your home. That mess makes you stressed and scatter-brained, which leads to an even messier house. It is a vicious cycle.
Luckily, most people find cleaning their living space to be very easy. A chore, yes, but an easy one. It isn't like meditation, which takes a while to become proficient in. Nearly everyone knows how to clean a space up.
As soon as your local landscape is more organized and orderly, you will find that your mind is more focused and relaxed. And one of the secrets to meditation is that relaxed and focused minds are better at it than messy and scattered ones. That's why many people find meditation so difficult at first. It's a lot like exercise in that way: it's difficult at first because you haven't done any, but the only way to improve is to keep practicing.
But hey, if you can get a boost just by cleaning up your house, that's good too.