Do you have a warm-up routine for your meditation practice?

When we’re experiencing deep loneliness or depression, meditation can sometimes make things worse, especially if we’re not working with a teacher. In that more intimate space with our minds, we can further ruminate about our struggles, anxieties and fears, perpetuating the negative state.

If you’ve found this to be true, give your meditation a pre-shot routine.

First, get out of the house and go outside. Connect with nature. See the expansiveness of the world around you. In essence, get out of the smallness of your head.

Next, move your body. Do something that gets your heart rate up. Weight lifting, running, stretching, yoga. Anything that connects you with your body and also gets your heart working (assuming heart health). This will light up parts of your brain responsible for positive emotion and energy.

And then, focus on what you’re grateful for. Orient your mind toward what is good in your life, even if it’s nothing more than appreciating your commitment to positively impact your life. Shift your attention from a place of lack to a space of appreciation.

Then meditate. Your mind should be more warm and open by this point.