Simple ways to make meditation a daily habit
By Lianne Richards
It can be hard enough to juggle the kids, the dog, the commute, the deadlines, emails and appointments. Throw in the laundry and meal preparation and the first thing to go is usually our daily self care practices such as meditation. Like any habit, the tough part can be sticking with it. If you’re looking to make meditation a daily habit, here are some tips that might help to get you started.
Create a routine
Set a consistent time and place for your meditation practice each day and stick to it. Research has shown that for habit formation to be effective, it requires repetition and contextual cues, such as the same time of day and the same environment. Block out time in your calendar like you would for any other meeting or appointment and try to be non-negotiable with this time. You might switch it up sometimes, but having meditation regularly built into your daily schedule helps a lot.
Do it anywhere and everywhere
All that’s required to meditate is a place where you can sit comfortably and safely with your eyes closed, your back supported, and your head free. That might be in a dedicated meditation space you have created at home, on the train to work, on a park bench during your lunch break, in a meeting room at the office, or in the passenger seat of a parked car before school pick up. You can meditate in your normal clothes, wherever you happen to be, and move on with the rest of your day. Getting flexible and adaptive with your practice will help with consistency.
If you are like me and love post-it-notes you can stick one to your computer or some other object and make this your meditation reminder. You could also set the calendar on your laptop or phone to remind you 15 minutes before you are due to meditate. Alternatively you could set an alarm on your phone. Try to take your reminder seriously by taking action rather than allowing your mind to find an excuse to put it off.
Be kind to yourself
Accept you won't be perfect. It doesn’t pay to beat yourself up if you can't stick to a perfect schedule all the time. Even if you only have 10 minutes then do that, it's better than missing a meditation. Do enough to keep yourself on track, and pick it back up the following day rather than getting hooked into thoughts like ‘meditation is not for me’. Remember, meditation is for everybody.
Track your progress and attach a reward system to it. This will create a positive feedback loop. You can track your progress by keeping a meditation log or using an App. Then, if you meditate twice a day every day for a week, you can buy yourself something. There are an infinite number of ways you can reward yourself for meditating. Get create. Over time your experience both inside and outside meditation will become a reward in itself.
Remind yourself why you learned
We all learn meditation for different reasons. Whether it be to reduce stress and anxiety, to sleep better, to expand our mental potential, or to improve our relationships. Whatever the reason, it can be helpful from time to time to remind yourself why you learned meditation. Knowing ‘why’ you learned to meditate will give you the motivation you need in order to keep going.
Remind yourself of the benefits
There are literally hundreds of commonly experienced benefits of meditation. Here are a couple that will inspire you to make meditation a daily practice:
Meditation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables us to rest and recover from stress.
As we reduce our stress, the immune system is boosted and so is our general wellbeing.
Meditation activates the prefrontal cortex, allowing you to think more clearly and make better decisions, even under pressure, and an increase in productivity follows.
Regular meditation results in a feeling of ease and contentment, which comes from the release of natural bliss chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
A regular daily meditation practice is the key to experiencing these exponentially increasing benefits. Place your attention on the benefits you are noticing in your everyday life to inspire you to keep practising.
Attend group meditation
Whilst the Learn Vedic Meditation Course is designed to make you a self-sufficient meditator, be sure to check in once in a while. Come along to weekly group meditation when you can, especially for the first 3 months. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small, please do reach out anytime. We are here to help and having the support of those around you can make all the difference.
Inspire yourself with knowledge
Even spending 10 minutes a day tapping into expansive knowledge and wisdom through reading books and listening to podcasts is a wonderful way to stay inspired. Check out the Mahasoma Reading List on the journal or sign up to the Mahasoma Weekly Flow Email with inspiration, podcasts, articles and events to keep you in the flow.
Making meditation a daily habit is a game changer...enjoy the journey!