7 Tips for Creating Your Ideal Meditation Practice
7 Tips for Creating Your Ideal Meditation Practice
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Meditation is so good for you in so many ways.
Regular meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and increase overall satisfaction and happiness.
The benefits of meditation are evidence-based and overwhelmingly positive.
Meditation is also free, takes only a few minutes per day and can be done almost anywhere.
So why doesn’t everyone take advantage of this panacea?
One reason may be that the people who could benefit the most from meditation have the hardest time getting started.
Busy people with restless minds, racing thoughts or endless to-do lists often try meditation once or twice but struggle to commit to a regular practice.
If you’re in this camp, it’s possible that you tried a type of meditation that didn’t really work for you. Or it was during a time in your life when it wasn’t ideal to commit to a new habit.
If you’ve longed for the benefits of meditation but haven’t quite established a routine (for whatever reason), we hope these tips will help you create the meditation practice you’ve always wanted.
1. Try different methods
There are various types of meditation, each with its unique approach. Here, we’ll talk about three meditation methods that often feel accessible to beginners.
This popular type of meditation involves becoming more aware of your body, thoughts and surroundings. Its purpose is to help you bring awareness to the present moment, letting go of worry for the future or rumination on the past.
It’s normal to feel restless or even bored the first few times you practice mindfulness. Allow those thoughts and feelings to pass without judgment.
This type of meditation grounds you in the present while it promotes relaxation.
Sit comfortably in a quiet, private space. Then, repeatedly speak, chant or think your mantra. Your mantra can be a word (like aum or om) or short phrase that brings you peace or calm or helps you achieve a goal.
Many beginners find guided meditation an easy entryway to a regular practice.
Whether recorded or live, a teacher will guide you through quieting your mind, focusing inward and noticing your body and breath. You can find many guided meditations on sites like YouTube that can help you learn to meditate or address topics like anxiety, performance, happiness or trauma.
2. Start small
If you find sitting quietly uncomfortable, starting a meditation practice could feel challenging. After all, you have so much to do and plan and keep track of!
Here’s some good news: If a minute or two is all you have, then that’s the perfect place to start.
Start out with a timer set for two minutes. When thoughts creep in, like “How much time is left?” or “Two minutes? This feels like an hour!” try to let them arise without judgment.
After a week or so, try upping the timer to three or five minutes. In no time at all, you’ll find it easier to stay focused and meditate for longer periods of time without feeling frustrated or distracted.
3. Right time, right place
Meditation is something that can be done anytime, anywhere. But if you’re new to it, you may find it easier to focus in a certain place at a time of day that works for you.
Find a space that’s private, comfortable and free from distractions. This could be a quiet spot in a park or your home—even a roomy closet!
You’ll want to find the right time of day to meditate as well. It’s often best to choose a time when you have the fewest demands on your time (sometimes easier said than done!) and aren’t too tired.
Try a lunch hour, after your morning coffee or as you wind down at night with the goal to relax into your meditation without interruptions or tight time constraints.
4. Make your own way
Should you meditate with your eyes open or closed? Seated on the floor or in a chair? Standing or walking? Inside or outside? With music or in silence?
The truth is, there’s no right answer to any of these questions. The key is to find what works for you right now and go from there. Try experimenting until you find your ideal conditions.
5. Create a ritual
Sticking to a routine becomes much easier when you create a ritual around it.
Try making your meditation practice extra special by bookending it with other practices that help you feel grounded or relaxed.
For example, you could begin your “ritual” with a cup of tea and end with some journaling. You could light a candle or incense, ring a bell, strike a singing bowl or include yoga or tai chi.
Self-care practices that make your meditation time feel meaningful and special will help you look forward to your routine and increase your odds of sticking with it.
6. Keep going
Like anything else worth doing, meditation takes practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
It may be that a different location, time of day or type of meditation will work better for you. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break and come back to it when you feel ready.
7. Make meditation friends
If you have the option, meditating with others is a great way to get started. There can be great benefits to meditating in the presence of others, especially when you’re new to the practice.
Many beginners find that the structure of group meditation helps them achieve a deeper state of stillness more readily than going it alone.
Try looking for group meditation classes near you or ask an experienced friend to lead a small group. You may also feel more committed to your meditation time if you’ve made an agreement to show up or paid a fee for a class.
Whatever your meditation style, we hope these tips will help you find calm, peace and a deeper sense of well-being.
Have you tried meditation? If so, what worked for you?
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