From pandemic troubles to the highly demanding nature of our lives today, there are many reasons to start a mediation practice.
Meditation isn’t just about ‘spacing out’ or chanting ‘om.’ In fact, it can be a bit like exercising in that it takes a lot of dedication and staying power. Here are five ways to turn your isolated acts of meditation into a daily habit:
- One Time, One Place
If you don’t have a specific time set for meditation, you’ll end up procrastinating. Creating a habit calls for repetition and routine, so it helps to put aside a specific time for your daily sessions.
You’d also do well to prepare a meditation hideout, far from all the distractions of everyday life. Your mind needs to register that this is a different kind of space, which is why you must create a relaxed atmosphere.
Get some candles and cushions to set the mood. Use an electric aroma diffuser to stimulate your brain’s emotion- and memory-regulating limbic system – whatever it takes to get you in your zone.
- Build Excitement
You’ve got to stay motivated if you want to reap the benefits of meditation. If you struggle with this, download some binaural beats or get a meditation playlist going. You could also try giving yourself a small treat after every session. This will program your brain’s reward system into associating mediation with enjoyment.
Although it may seem odd to use modern technology to enhance an ancient practice like meditation, you’d be surprised at how useful things like rhythmic breathing apps can be.
Whether you use any of these tools or not, treat your session as a ritual, with elements that build to the ‘main event.’ As you prepare your space and settle in, you’ll find a sense of excitement settles over you.
- Add Extra Sessions
The best way to get used to something new is to do it every chance you get. You can practice mindfulness on your daily commute, when preparing a meal, or when you’re doing one of the many repetitive tasks and chores of daily life. Since practice makes perfect, meditating at these times will make it easier for you to focus when you get to your meditation hideaway.
- Mind Your Breathing
Controlling your breath is an effective way to alter your state of mind. Just being aware of every inhale and exhale can work wonders. The reason this is so powerful is that you can’t escape breathing. You’re always doing it. The difference is, you’re usually not aware of it.
Taking note of this basic and mostly involuntary function gives you a simple yet powerful point of focus. Start paying attention to the flow and rhythm of your breath and feel the path the air takes as it moves through your nostrils and fills your lungs. Oddly enough, focussing on the life-giving power of your breath is incredibly calming.
- Mark Your Milestones
It’s easier to make even more progress when you know how much progress you’ve made so far. Set realistic goals for your practice, and celebrate every time you achieve one.
Marking milestones will encourage you to aim for more, and you can slowly work your way toward a fully-fledged meditation routine. Commemorate every little breakthrough, and watch as your mind demands more meditation.
Research suggests mindfulness has physiological benefits, like improving sleep and alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties. It even has psychological advantages, like reducing stress and facilitating creativity. Since there’s clearly a lot to be gained from meditation, it’s worth the effort to make it a part of your daily lifestyle routine.