5 Tips For Starting A Meditation Practice
At the beginning of 2018, I somehow managed to meditate for 76 days straight. I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything as consistently in my life before, so this felt like a mega win for me. Not to mention meditation makes me feel calmer and less overwhelmed, so I felt pretty good about life for 76 days in a row.
I’ve talked to a few people who say they want to meditate more, but they just can’t seem to make it a habit. After all, we’ve heard that meditation can help with our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. We want to reap the benefits, but meditation doesn’t come naturally to those of us who overthink and overanalyze.
Though I’m not as consistent with it as I was before, meditation is still something I try to do on weekday mornings for 5-10 minutes when I first wake up. If you’re someone who wants to get into a meditation habit but you aren’t being consistent with it, I want to share a few tips that helped make meditation easier for me.
Two Key Meditation Reminders
I’m not sure how my first meditation session went or what I did, but I do know that it inspired me to make meditation part of my daily routine. If you’ve never meditated before or you’re simply trying to meditate more, there are two key things to know:
1. The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking altogether. If you’ve tried meditation before and felt like you failed because you couldn’t quiet your mind, you didn’t fail. The goal of meditation is to help you stop reacting to all of the thoughts that enter your mind. Meditation is there to gently remind you that not all of your thoughts need to be dealt with immediately.
2. Meditation doesn’t have to take forever. If you try meditating for the first time with a twenty-minute session, it will feel overwhelming because you’ve never done it before. Meditation is a practice, and it’s something that you get better at every time you do it. The key is to start slowly and build upon your practice.
Related Post: 5 Things You Should Know About Meditation
How To Make Meditation A Practice
Sometimes we make meditation more complicated than it needs to be. Instead of overthinking it (the opposite of meditation, right?), follow the steps below to set yourself up for success:
1. Find Your Motivation
As with any new habit, it’s important to understand your motivation for getting started. I meditate because I feel like it makes me a calmer person during the day, and I have to constantly remind myself that life is better when I meditate. Perhaps you want to meditate to reduce anxiety or be a kinder person. Whatever your motivation is, get clear on it and come back to it often.
2. Choose Your Tools
When you have the right tools, meditation can feel a lot less daunting. I find guided meditations a lot easier to follow than trying to meditate in silence, but everyone has their own preferences. If you’re looking for a good meditation app, I recommend Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer. There are also plenty of free meditation videos you can search for on YouTube (like these ones from Deepak Chopra and The Journey Junkie).
3. Set a Time
If you want to start making meditation part of your routine, it’s important to carve out time for it. I’ve found that the only way I can get myself to do it every day is to open up my Calm app right after I wake up. When meditation is the first thing I do, I start my day feeling less anxious. If you truly want to make meditation a practice, you have to decide when you’re going to do it each day and make it so you can’t talk yourself out of it.
4. Create a Meditation Space
Although you can practice meditation anywhere, I find it helpful to have a designated meditation space that feels familiar to you. You don’t have to create a fancy meditation area in your home, but you do want to find a comfortable place where you can sit with your back upright. I choose to meditate upright in bed. You might prefer to lay out a yoga mat in your living room or sit on some pillows in a quiet corner. Find what works for you!
Related Post: 7 Ways To Create A Peaceful Space Around You
5. Track Your Progress
One of the reasons I was able to meditate for 76 days straight was because I kept track of my progress. Both Calm and Headspace have built-in trackers that show you how many days you’ve meditated in a row, and I find this incredibly motivating because I never want to break my streak. If you’re not using either of these apps, you could simply keep track of it in your planner or daily to-do list.