We know. The first half of this year has been nothing short of distressing. Are you feeling overwhelmed by to-do lists and new struggles, yet simultaneously underwhelmed with the amount of beauty, reverence and depth in your life?
If you think about it, everything in your world – every experience, thought, and action – is a product of how your mind interprets it. (The fact that we asked you to think about that, is evidence right there!)
If this is the case, wouldn’t it seem like an essential daily priority to take care of our minds?
Meditation can help manage the overwhelm of constant worry and anxiety over the future that can often lead to feelings of unease and even lack of sleep. It can also help you to cultivate an inner life – a deeper connection with yourself and your experiences to go beyond the shallow, everyday and mundane we can sometimes get lulled into.
The biggest hurdle that most people experience when trying to meditate? Creating a routine. As a meditation teacher and mentor, I’ve compiled my top 5 tips for creating a sustainable at-home meditation practice.
1. Select a sacred space.
When beginning a practice, find a somewhat quiet and solitary space. One that can enhance feelings of peace and calm. You might not have a space you can dedicate solely to meditation, but can you gather some pieces that inspire you to practice? Perhaps a candle, an inspiring item or photo that reminds you why your practice is essential to you.
2. There is no perfect time to meditate.
But, if we don’t get specific about when we’ll practice, chances are we’ll find ourselves lying in bed, realizing we forgot!
Decide on a time that works for you – make it easy. Don’t say you’ll meditate in the morning if all you can do is crawl out of bed and reach for coffee. If you’re a night owl, go ahead and meditate before bed. The time isn’t important, but deciding on it is.
Use this simple recipe to commit to the first two steps:
I will meditate in “SPACE” at “TIME.”
i.e. I will meditate in the corner of my bedroom at 8am.
3. Less is always more!
One of the biggest mistakes I see students make is trying too much too soon. Imagine deciding you want to play an instrument and committing to practicing for 5 hours a day! Too much – too soon.
The best way to form a new habit is to START SMALL. Five minutes a day is a great place to start. (Good news? All the great stuff you’ve heard about meditation starts kicking at about 5 minutes of practice per day!) Even 1 minute a day is a great place to start and is better than nothing! Once that becomes easy, slowly begin to increase your practice 1 minute at a time.
4. Find beauty in simplicity.
Back to the music analogy. Just like you’d learn piano by playing scales, start your meditation practice with simplicity. Start with 3 simple steps:
- Sit and focus on the feeling of your breath – you might even repeat ‘breathing in’ when you breathe in and ‘breathing out’ when you breathe out.
- Notice how your mind likes to wander. Remember, this isn’t a problem – but precisely the reason you meditate – to tame your brain!
- When you notice it wander, gently direct your attention back to the feeling of your breath. That’s it! If you need a bit of guidance, try Insight Timer for some excellent led practices.
5. Be your own cheerleader!
Have the wisdom and humility to know whenever we try something new, we will hit bumps in the road. Know that your new habit might slip, and THIS IS NORMAL. Write yourself a note to refer to when you experience resistance or when you miss a practice.
When you’ve gained the love and zest of this mind and soul-fulfilling practice, tap into it anywhere with our ongoing mindfulness support pieces ?