Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tips for Making Meditation a Daily Habit

Meditation can often help one see the light through the trees!

So this month our focus is meditation... 

With all of the attention being given to the benefits of this ancient practice, I am reminded how much I enjoy it, and how good I feel when I make the time to do it - which isn't as often as I'd like... I can rattle off a list of excuses about my children's busy schedules and my hours of volunteer work, but that's what they would be: excuses. Interestingly, it's the same list I pull out every time my husband asks me about the gym membership I don't seem to use. 

Thinking of those excuses gave me a bit of an epiphany about meditation and exercise. Beyond being good for my mind, body and spirit, they also represent the idea of ME taking time for ME! I could say that I avoided the gym because of parking hassles, lines for machines, smelly, sweaty people everywhere, blah, blah, blah... but meditation doesn't have any of that. It is easy - I barely have to get out of bed to do it! I had to ask myself what message was I sending if I couldn't even commit to that? Couldn't give myself ten minutes per day? 

So I resolved, for the month of November, to make meditation a daily habit. I listened to Deepak Chopra's video tips, and have been carving out ten minutes each day. I want to tell you that it has been easy, but I will tell you that it has been worth it. I feel so much more centered.

If you haven't made meditation a daily habit, I encourage you to do so. Here are a few tips that might help you:

- Do it first thing in the morning. Set your alarm a few minutes early and start your day with a few minutes of mindful meditation. You will be glad you did! (I tend to be a night person, so I was really surprised by how effective this strategy was for me - it works!)

- Commit to eleven days. Research from Lift, the habit-forming app folks, says that 90% people trying to build the daily meditation habit are likely to be successful if they can manage eleven consecutive days of meditating.

- Just do it! It might feel a little weird at first. Especially for those of us who tend to be - oh I'll just say it: control freaks, ruler-followers, have to do everything just right, over-achievers! That's okay, that's why we're here. There are so many different types of meditation, and different ways to do it, but the whole idea of getting quiet and just sitting runs so counter to our American lifestyle, that it does take some getting used to. So, just tell yourself right now, that it's supposed to feel weird at first, and get comfortable with the silence. Pretty soon, you'll find that the silence is amazing!

- There's an app for that. If you're really struggling with getting comfortable with meditation, or you're brand new to it, it might be helpful to use a guided meditation. You can download files from the internet, or find apps for your phone. There are also some handy apps to help you time your meditation - for $1.99 you can even signal the start and end of your session with Tibetan singing bowls! Of course, you can also use the timer the comes with your phone, for free... 

- Start small. If ten minutes of sitting in silence seems like an eternity, it's okay to start with five (or even two) minutes. What matters is that you start. (If this is the case for you, the guided meditations will really help.)

Here is a great guided meditation from Deepak Chopra on mindfulness to whet your appetite and get you started:


Thanks for reading and Namaste!