How to Create a Daily Meditation Practice.
(You'll Actually Do.)
Before we talk about how to create a daily meditation practice (and all the different types of meditation!)
Let’s chat about why you would start a meditation practice at all.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditating for only a few minutes everyday can increase the parts of the brain that are connected with happiness, contentment, and feelings of connectedness.
It’s been shown to improve the immune system, ability to concentrate, and is an effective treatment for reducing anxiety, depression, and pain.
It even reduces the toll of psychological stress — and who doesn’t need that!?
Meditation also helps you clear out the negative chatter, reconnect with your values, and literally re-wire your brains so you can choose to respond instead of react. Certain types of meditation practices can also help you be more present, kind, and thoughtful to the people around you — a big win for everyone!
If you’re trying to choose, greener, healthier options for yourself and the planet, a meditation practice will also help you become more aware of what and why you’re consuming. Reducing the likelihood you’ll be lured into advertisements promising you the world in a plastic-package. (aka: Retail-therapy!)
So, now that you know all the benefits...
How to Create daily meditation practice.
1. Start Meditating.
There’s no reason to over complicate the process. The biggest obstacle most people face when they are trying to start a daily meditation practice is literally not doing it. Start with just one minute and then add a minute everyday until you get to 10 - or 20 - or 30.
2. Make it a Routine.
Make time for it everyday. You totally have 5-10 minutes to spare. Set an alarm on your phone and work it into something you’re already doing - like eating lunch or brushing your teeth. Think, I eat lunch and then I meditate for 10 minutes. Or before I brush my teeth, I mediate for 10 minutes.
Lots of people find it helpful to start or end their day with a meditation practice. For me, 11 am seems to work best. I might even take another 10 minutes to meditate around 3 pm when my brain starts to feel a bit scattered from a full day.
If you really think you don’t have the time, consider cutting something out of your day that makes you look busy, but really isn’t that productive… think checking Instagram, FaceBook, or watching Netflix.
Not convinced that you have the time?
Stop brushing your teeth and meditate instead. Just kidding! But seriously, if you don’t have an extra 10 minutes in your day, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the priority your placing on your own health and wellbeing. It's not selfish to fill your own punchbowl.
(See benefits of meditation above.)
AND if on a particular day you find you don't have 10 minutes, take 2 minutes instead.
3. Use an app.
Having someone guide you through the mediation process, especially when you’re first starting your practice, is seriously helpful. You’ll be less likely to stop early, you can try out different types of meditation, and you can even setup alerts on your phone.
There are TON’s of great meditation apps out there, but my favorite are:
The Mindfulness App
4. Don’t Stress.
Meditation is a practice. Don’t worry if you’re “doing it right” or if you find your mind wandering. It happens. You are literally working on training your brain. No one would expect you to run a 5K without prep work, and no one expects you to be a meditator master overnight. Plus, it's not a competition.
When you do find your mind wandering (and you will) gently bring your awareness back to your breath or the feeling of your feet planted firmly on the ground.
If as you're practicing, you feel like meditation is, “a waste of time”. Ask yourself why. Usually, it’s a sign that you really are in need of a moment of silence, reflection, and all around brain training.
“In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully.” —Shawn Achor, Psychologist
Now, how to find the best type of meditation practice for you.