The great plague of Western culture is stress. We feel as though we “don’t have enough time” and “there are not enough hours in the day.” We believe that we do not have time to eat right, exercise, or spend quality time with our families and friends. It is easy to fall into the I-Don’t-Have-Time-For-This thought pattern when beginning your mindfulness meditation practice. In a society that prioritizes ‘hard work,’ self-care is considered selfish. Health is our primary requirement. If our health is failing, nothing is else matters.
The truth is that we do have enough time, but we have a difficult time prioritizing. Our hectic lifestyles become an excuse for pushing our health aside. How many hours a day do you spend on social media? On your phone? Combing through non-urgent emails in your inbox? Watching television?
Relaxing is important for your health, but how you relax and unwind is equally important to your well-being. For example, many people find cigarettes relaxing, but we can all agree they are not beneficial to your health. Learn how to make meditation a healthy habit with these helpful tips.
6 Tips to Help You Meditate Every Day
1. Schedule time to meditate.
Habits are created through repetition. Meditating “when you have time” will set you up for failure. Maintaining a daily routine is the key to success. Find a time during the day when you can meditate for 3 minutes, uninterrupted. That’s it! Just three minutes. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Start small and work your way up to a 5-minute, 10-minute, 20-minute practice.
2. Get comfortable.
If you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to meditate today because my back hurts,” then find another position. You do not have to meditate in a specific pose. As long as you can focus on your breathing, you can meditate in any pose you like. Meditate while you lay down as long as you can stay awake. Eventually you will learn to meditate even when you are physically uncomfortable, but as a novice it’s perfectly acceptable to eliminate the added distraction.
3. Make meditation a “ritual.”
For some people, turning their meditation into a ritual makes the practice feel “official.” Ritualizing your meditation may make it easier to focus during your practice. You can do this by simply lighting a candle at the beginning of your meditation and blowing it out when you are done. Others choose to ring a bell before and after their practice to signal the beginning and end.
4. Keep a meditation journal.
Much like exercise and other personal goals, we are more consistent when we can see progress. It is challenging to see “progress” with our thought patterns. Keep a meditation journal. For each day, note how long you sat. Add other items if you feel they are relevant. For example, rate how focused you think you were on a scale of 1 to 5 or note how many times you believe you broke concentration. If you want to be more detailed, take a moment to note feelings that arose during your session, such as frustration or joy.
5. Meditate with a friend.
Accountability in mindfulness meditation is as important as accountability in a diet. It often helps to meditate with a friend or in a group setting, like a meditation class. Knowing that someone else expects you to complete a task or achieve a goal is very motivating. You can encourage each other and share in each other’s successes and frustrations, helping each other remain consistent in your practice.
6. Follow a guided meditation.
Beyond setting a timer for your mindfulness meditation, listen to a guided meditation. It will aid your focus and mark the passage of time. This 3-minute guided meditation from AVS Mindfulness is a great place to start. With daily practice, you will see a huge improvement in your focus and sense of calm and well-being in just a short period of time.
For more meditation advice and to learn about AVS Mindfulness and the release of our instructional mindfulness meditation app, visit us at avsmindfulness.com.