8 insanely simple ways to make your meditation practice a habit
Meditation is one of the best things you can for your mind and body. Back when I was struggling with overwhelm and anxiety I discovered meditation for the first time.
For me it was super hard to make it a habit because I still believed I couldn’t sit still.
Now I know that making meditation a habit doesn’t have to be hard.
In this post I’m going to show you the best tips to make meditation a part of your routine in no time.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been well studied at this point and the benefits are unreal. Something you can do for free in your living room or meditation room has the power to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce stress
- Increase focus and productivity
- Boosts your immunity
- Helps you get to sleep faster and deeper
- Helps you feel happier and more connected
Those are just a few of the benefits but there’s so many others that you’ll personally discover through your own meditation process.
3 Easy Types of Meditation
1. Guided Meditation
If you find it difficult to focus on your breath or if you’re staying away from meditation because you “think too much” then guided’s the way to go.
These meditations can be done in a class or you can pull up guided meditations on your phone. Guided meditations use visualization to walk you through an inner journey that's unique to you.
This allows you to fully focus on what you're imagining and tap into the power of your subconscious mind.
2. Breathing Meditaiton
This is another very popular and powerful way to begin meditating.
To perform this meditation you simply focus on the breath and notice how it's flowing in and out of your body. Pay attention to how the air feels coming in and going out.
You may oscillate between times of free breathing and intentionally focusing on your breaths.
One thing you’ll notice sooner or later is that your mind has a desire to wander during this type of meditation. That’s perfectly natural so don’t worry about it. Just guide your thoughts back onto your breath when you notice you’ve wandered.
This post has a super simple 5 minute meditation you can do anytime.
3. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditations are somewhat of a hybrid. Mindfulness meditation techniques use awareness of the breath in conjunction with scanning your body and acknowledging thoughts.
You’re still focusing on your breath and using your breath to help ground you in the moment. And when thoughts come up you acknowledge and breathe through them; allowing them to pass.
Attempting to suppress thoughts creates resistance and helps keep the thought around.
No matter what comes up for you, simply let it pass without engaging. Whether you have anxiety, doubt, fear, or a negative memory from your past just let it pass.
Meditation Positions When You're Starting Your Practice
1. Sitting Meditation
This is probably the position you’re most familiar with.
We’ve all see the photo of someone meditating and they’re usually sitting down. You should know that you don't have to sit down when you meditate but more on that in a second.
If you do want to sit down, then make sure you find a comfortable position to sit in.
The most important elements of sitting are that your spine is erect and extended, your hands are comfortably on your lap, and that you’re comfortable. Because if you’re not comfortable, then you’re not likely to make it very long.
Comfort is king when it comes to mediating. Forcing yourself into an uncomfortable position will only cause you to focus on the discomfort and probably stop meditating.
2. Lying Down to Meditate
Lying meditations are great on those days when you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed or just don’t feel like sitting up.
If you’re meditating before bed, then try this position with your eyes closed as a segue into sleep.
If you’re doing it in the morning then keep your eyes open so you don’t fall back asleep. Just make sure you’re lying on your back and on a surface wide enough to support you.
3. Walking Meditation
I’m a fan of walking meditations because they can be done anytime.
When you integrate this type of meditation into your day, you'll find that you become more aware of your thoughts. You’ll notice that instead of walking from point A to point B as quickly as you can, you’ll get more joy out of the trip.
For example, while we’re walking, most of us think about our to-do list or what we’re going to do when we get to our destination.
With a walking meditation you simply put your focus onto breathing and noticing the things around you.
Try to maintain a childlike curiosity.
Even if you’ve passed by that water cooler a thousand times, notice it like you’ve never seen it before. Whether it's a one minute walk or a one hour walk, this makes a big difference in the journey and doesn’t take any extra time.
8 Ways to Make Your Meditation Habit Stick
1. Do it For Yourself
If you want to build anything sustainable, it has to be something YOU want to do. Don’t think that you should meditate because it's popular or someone told you to because I promise that won’t hold up for long.
In the beginning meditation has it's ups and downs. If your reasons aren’t your own then you won’t stick through those initial trials.
2. Just Start Somewhere
No need to over prepare for meditation. Simply pick a time and give it a try. Even if you only have 5 minutes to spare; it's progress and the first step to building a meditation practice that sticks.
3. Use a Personal Affirmation or Mantra
Instead of repeating a random sound try coming up with your own personal affirmation.
A mantra for your current life circumstances.
Is there something you want to accomplish right now? Do you want more money? Do you want to attract a partner?
Come up with an “I AM…” statement for yourself. For example, “I am making $100,000 a year” or “I am attracting the perfect partner into my life”.
When your mantra is specifically about something you want, its much easier to keep using it.
4. Do it First Thing in The Morning or at Set Times
Procedural things like exercise and meditation are always better in the morning. You get a limited amount of willpower each day and every time you make a decision you burn a little bit of willpower.
By the end your day full of “to-do’s”, it's not likely that you’ll have anything left for meditation. Although there’s nothing wrong with meditating at night, it’s easier to get it done first thing in the morning when willpower's high.
Also, you get the benefits of feeling calm and focused for the rest of your day.
5. Don't Beat Yourself Up
We all miss days from time to time to time so don’t beat yourself up about it.
As an A type personality myself, I have a strong desire to keep things organized and...perfect?…
But as we all know that's not possible all the time. So if you miss a day of meditation, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just do it tomorrow or even later today if that's an option for you.
The same rule applies if your mediation doesn’t go as expected or you’re unable to meditate for as long as you hoped. As Eckhart Tolle says, “One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.”
6. Make a Meditation Space in Your Home
Dedicating a space for meditation is a great way to build both the conscious and eventually unconscious habit of meditating.
Think about it...
When you want to cook a meal you don’t walk to the living room right? That’s because the kitchen is the dedicated space for cooking.
Could you imagine if you didn’t have a kitchen? You’d be cooking in all kinds of random and inconvenient places. It would be frustrating and you’d end up eating out most nights.
In the same way, dedicating a meditation space in your house begins building that habit of going to the same room or space when you need to meditate. It's also a mental reminder for you. Every time you walk past your space, you’ll be reminded to meditate.
7. Monitor Progress and Celebrate Your Wins
Every time you meditate, celebrate your progress.
Take note of how you feel emotionally, physically and mentally. By celebrating your wins you’re more likely to have fun and develop that mental reward circuitry that keeps you excited about your meditations.
8. Know What to Expect
Meditation is a practice and a skill that anyone can develop. But it doesn’t happen overnight so avoid setting the bar for “reaching complete serenity on week one”.
This can interfere with progress because you become too focused on the goal.
In meditation to real goal is to be in present time. The more in the moment you are, the better your results will be.
Apply these quick tips to your meditations and you’ll be way ahead of the game. Try challenging yourself to apply just one of these tips each day and above all, be relaxed about it and have some fun.
Is there anything that’s helped you build your meditation practice? Let us know in the comments below.