Whilst it might sound obvious, we might sometimes need reminding that meditation only works when we commit to actively engaging in it. In fact, in order to truly experience all the numerous benefits it has to offer, we must commit to meditating on a very regular basis – day after day, with gentle and considered discipline.
In this way, perhaps we can compare training the mind to training the body. We can spend hundreds of pounds on buying the very best gym membership and snazziest fat-burning trainers, but – (unfortunately!) - nothing very much is going to happen unless we actually make it through the front door. We need to actively engage in the physical exercise on a regular basis in order to experience the benefits. And the mind is no different.
All this said, we’re well aware that maintaining a daily meditation practice can often be easier said than done. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some tops tips to help you set yourself up for a regular and consistent meditation practice. Hopefully this will help dispel the excuses before they come knocking!
1. Start early
Try and meditate first thing in the morning if it’s possible. This will ensure that it gets done and will melt away any feelings of tiredness, perfectly setting you on track for a mindful day.
If meditating in the morning isn’t your bag, make sure that you prioritise it. Remind yourself that nothing is more important than the health of your mind.
3. Keep it familiar
Thinking ‘same time, same place’ will help you turn this new practice into a fully established habit.
4. Relate it to something else
It might help to attach your meditation to another full established daily activity such as brushing your teeth. Think ‘brush teeth and then meditate’ or ‘meditate and then tea’. By doing this you will be integrating your meditation practice into a well established routine.
Be prepared to be flexible with your routine – not every day is going to look the same, which might mean you have to move your meditation to a different place, time etc. Don’t let this work as an excuse to skip it altogether.
6. Be less judgemental
Try not to judge your meditation too much. There can often be a tendency to think you are ‘bad’ or ‘good’ at meditation. In reality, there is no such thing. If you understand the long term purpose of your practice this will never be a problem.
7. Remind yourself of the benefits
After each session, make sure you take a moment to notice how you feel – physically, emotionally and mentally. As soon as you start establishing a connection between your meditation practice and feeling better, the easier you will find it to sit down each day and maintain and consistent practice.
8. ‘Excuse book’
If you decide not to meditate one day, make sure you keep a pad of paper close by so you can note down your reasoning. As soon as you see the excuse written down on paper, this will remind you of how important the health of your mind really is.
9. Buddy up
Try and get a friend involved too if you can. You don’t have to meditate at the same time but simply having something who’s also looking to establish a meditation routine can help spur you on and strengthen your commitment.
10. Manage your expectations
Daily meditation is a life-long skill, not a quick fix solution. Whilst you might see some immediate benefits, others might take longer to appear. Make sure you focus on just taking each day as it comes.
We have a whole range of videos on our YouTube channel that offer top tips from our very own Headspacer Andy Puddicombe – check them out today.
For those looking to get stuck straight in, why not sign up to try the Headspace App for free. It’s the perfect tool to help you relax in 2014!