Meditation is something that we know is good for us and will make our lives better. It’s known to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote a healthy mind, body, and spirit. All the people that seem to have their sh*t together meditate, so why can’t I? Well, you can, but so many of us just never get around to actually doing it. Why is that? Because practicing meditation is a habit you must learn, just like brushing your teeth or tieing your shoes. It takes a little self-discipline to work it into our everyday lives, but it’s not unachievable. Quite the contrary, it’s VERY achievable to not only make it a habit, but a part of your every day life.
One of my goals for this year was to start a regular meditation practice. It was on my mind all last year as something I’d like to do, something I always thought about, but I never did it. That was my first problem. I thought about it too much. Once I actually committed to it at the beginning of this year and took action to add it to my life, I practice every single morning after I wake up. It’s a “non-negotiable” for me. If I don’t do it, my whole day is off. It’s just like brushing your teeth.
The first rule to starting any new habit or lifestyle change is to JUST DO IT. Easier said than done, right? I get it. So here are 7 ways to start meditating RIGHT NOW that will help you develop it into a habit.
Understand the Practice
What is meditation? There’s a stereotype that meditating means you have to sit cross legged in a quiet room humming “ohmmmm.” Well, I actually do sit cross legged with my hands on my knees and like to chant sometimes when my body needs the vibrations, BUT there’s more to meditation than just sitting quietly and “contemplating the world.”
Meditation is a practice for resting the mind. It teaches us how to be present in all areas of our life and to become completely aware of our thoughts, rather than caught up in them. In meditation, your mind is clear, relaxed, and focused on your breath.
How do you do it? There are many different ways to meditate, the simplest be to sit in a comfortable position with a neutral spine–don’t slouch! Close your eyes and visual something calming like a beach or lake and begin to focus on your breath. Count in 1-2-3-4 and out 5-6-7-8. Focusing your attention on your breath count will allow you to become completely aware of your present state, letting go of all the thoughts buzzing around in your head.
You can also meditate while lying down, standing, or walking, and even by focusing on a moving tree branch or mountain. There are many different ways to reach a total state awareness, find what works for you!
Set An Intention
What are you looking to get out of meditation? Stress-relief? Better focus? Stronger relationships? Define why you want to learn and always remind yourself this before you practice or if you’re struggling to find the motivation to start. If meditating in the morning, it’s also a good opportunity to practice a mantra or positive affirmation to inspire and empower you to start the day.
For me, I like to meditate right after I wake up to start my day with a clear and positive mind. I find myself more calm, throughout the day, especially when I am faced with stressful situations at work.
As we get caught up in the business of everyday life, it can be hard to devote our precious time to stillness, but it’s important to prioritize meditation and SCHEDULE it into our day. “I don’t have time” isn’t a good excuse. Time is irrelevant. How you go about your day is all based on choices that you make and what you dedicate your energy to. Use some of that energy on yourself.
Decide whether you want to meditate and write it down in your planner or put a daily reminder in your phone. Make it a priority just like running errands or going to a doctor’s appointment.
Start With 2-5 Minutes
Developing a habit won’t happen over night, that’s why it’s better to start small. Starting out slow and meditating every day, rather than once a week for ten minutes, will help train your mind to recognize it as a habit and soon enough it will become second nature to you.
Use An App
Put Your Phone on Silent
If you do use an app (which you should!) make sure to put your phone on silent. The last thing you need while trying to reach a state of calmness is have your phone going off!
Practices makes perfect! Since meditation is a habit, you need to train your brain to recognize it as part of your daily routine. When you’re just starting out, try practicing everyday at the same time and even in the same place. Consistency is the key to developing new habits.
Another mental trick that helped me was to meditate immediately after my alarm goes off. Instead of lying there or grabbing for my phone, I just sit up and turn my Calm app on and meditate for 5 minutes. I know getting out of bed can be hard, so just sitting up in your bed is a good way to stay in bed, but still doing something good for your body, especially in the morning!