How to Kick-Start Your Meditation Practice
For centuries, meditation has been a key tool in “quieting the mind,” finding inner peace, and relieving stress and anxiety. When people hear the word “mediation,” however, they often think of someone sitting cross-legged in silence with their mind completely free of any thoughts. While that may be the case for some meditators, that’s not what’s required of you at all. Meditation in its purest essence focuses on deep breathing and staying present. The practice, over time, will help you to stop obsessing over the past or the future but, rather, focus your energy and efforts on what can be done in the present moment.
It sounds simple, but this can prove to be a challenging transition for some; you don’t really realize how much you aren’t in the present moment until you’re put in an environment where you’re required to do so. With that being said, meditation doesn’t have to be tricky; in fact, it can be one of the easiest practices you instill into your daily routine. All you need is five or ten minutes a day, a quiet space, and your breath.
If you’re interested in discovering the benefits of daily meditation, here are 10 ways you can kick-start your practice with ease.
- Release all expectations.
It can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly daunting task of “clearing your mind of all thoughts,” but you must remember that is not the point of meditation. Before you begin your practice, release any expectations of what you think your meditation session is supposed to look or feel like. Allow your thoughts to come and go without judgement and let your body completely relax.
- Get comfortable.
An important aspect of a successful meditation session is comfort. If you’re wearing tight clothing or are sitting in an uncomfortable position, you will not be able to focus as much on your breathing or relaxation. Make sure you’re as comfortable as possible before beginning so you won’t have to interrupt your practice by repositioning yourself or your clothes.
- Same Time, Same Place
To make meditation a habit, you must acclimate yourself to a new routine. Practicing your meditation at the same time and in the same place every time will ingrain the habit into your mind, allowing you to relax and get into the groove of your meditation quicker and easier.
- Be kind to yourself.
Along the same lines of releasing expectations, it’s also important to treat yourself with kindness during this process. Meditation is most likely something new for you, and it’s not fair to place enormous expectations or high standards on your shoulders. Like every new skill, meditation takes practice. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes; it’ll only deepen your practice and help you improve in the long run.
- Start small.
For most beginners, meditating for an hour or even thirty minutes is seemingly impossible. If sitting still and quietly is something you need to work on, that’s OK, and you’re not alone. Start small, with five or ten minute practices, and gradually work your way up to longer sessions. Even five or ten minutes of meditation each day can drastically improve your mental health and stress levels.
- Take note of your excuses/limiting beliefs.
If, after a few sessions, you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t practice or you’re having thoughts about how bad you are at meditating, take some time to reflect on why you may be thinking that way. Perhaps you’re holding onto too many unrealistic expectations of what your practice is supposed to look like, or maybe you’re not allowing yourself to simply be. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to meditating. Go with whatever helps to calm your mind and center your spirit.
- Get clear on your intentions.
Before you begin your meditation session each day, take a couple moments to get clear on your intentions. What do you want to get out of that day’s practice? What do you want to focus on the most? Understanding the “why” behind your daily practice will help you focus with more ease.
- Start with guided meditations.
If self-motivated meditations are a little too challenging for you, that’s completely normal. There are plenty of guided meditations online that will walk you through your breathing and visualizations to get you to that Zen and calm state. There are even some guided meditations with specific themes, like abundance manifesting, immune health, or improved sleep. Take some time to browse YouTube or Spotify to find a guided meditation that aligns with your goals or desires.
- Meditate with a friend.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a solo undertaking; you can absolutely take advantage of this quiet time with a friend, spouse, or roommate. Afterward, you can discuss what the session felt like for you and what you’d do differently to improve for next time.
- Stay consistent.
The best way to create a habit is to stay consistent. As stated before, meditation doesn’t have to be an hour-long session. A practice as simple as five or ten minutes can work wonders for your mental health and overall well-being. And once you start meditating consistently, it’ll become a staple in your daily routine!
Meditating has many benefits and is becoming less “taboo” than in years’ past. Take advantage of this extra time at home to develop and nurture a healthy meditation practice. Remember to start slow and allow yourself to be a beginner.
What does your meditation practice look like?