Meditation is a practice that is designed to train the mind.
Meditation practice comes with several benefits including increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of relaxation.
Many people try meditation but very few stick with it long term.
Here are some recommendations to help beginners get past the initial barriers to having a sustained practice.
1) Routine: If you just meditate when you feel like it, your practice won’t be sustainable. What you need to do instead is set aside a specific time each day or each week. When it’s part of a regular routine, it’s easier to continue.
2) Start with deep breaths. Breathing deep helps us relax and separate our meditation time from the rest of the day.
3) Stretch first. Stretching helps avoid aches and pains. Stretching your legs is especially helpful with avoiding feet falling asleep.
4) Experiment. There are many different styles of meditation. If one doesn’t work for you, you can easily find another one.
5) Pick a specific room to meditate. This makes it easier to separate our meditation practice from the rest of our experience. Preferably a room where other activities don’t go on often, that way you won’t be distracted by some of the other things you could be doing.
6) Commit. Don’t give up right away. Meditation is a lifelong practice and sometimes results don’t come right away. It takes some time of consistent effort.
7) Spend some time in mindfulness throughout the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not during regular practice can help. Our goal, in the end, is to be more present and aware during all of our lives, not just during meditation.
8) Make sure you will not be disturbed. If a phone rings or a child comes into the room asking for attention this definitely has a big impact on the practice and makes it hard to continue or to resume after the interruption. Put a sign on the door or something if you need to. Or do it before everyone else in your house gets up, or after everyone else goes to bed.
9) Do it together. Meditating with a partner helps us be motivated to continue, just like having a workout buddy to go to the gym with.
10) Meditate early in the morning. First thing in the morning is the best time to meditate for most people. It’s quieter, our minds aren’t full with what happened throughout our day, and we’re less likely to be disturbed.
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Author: Daniel Scharpenburg
Editor: Catherine Monkman