How to Make Meditation a Daily Habit

Is meditation something you’d like to do more of? Perhaps it’s on your to-do list, but something you never quite get round to. Or maybe you meditate from time to time but would like to practice more regularly.

If so, you’re not alone. While we know that meditation is a great way to support wellbeing, it’s not always easy to maintain a practice. Busy lives, demands and distractions can often get in the way. Meditation itself can also feel challenging at times, requiring that we experience what is happening inside of ourselves, which can be uncomfortable, or calling for what may seem like more energy than we have to spare.

Yet it’s well worth the effort. Mindfulness meditation is proven to boost our physical and mental health in numerous ways, with benefits including improved attention, increased resilience to stress, better emotional regulation and reduced depression and anxiety. By promoting our body’s relaxation response, meditation can also help to improve sleep quality  and is shown to assist the immune system, support healthy ageing and reduce blood cholesterol levels, among other physical benefits.

If you’d like to make meditation a regular part of your routine, the following tips can all help.

Tune into your motivation

To build a steady meditation practice, it’s important to keep your motivation in mind. Why does meditation matter to you? Perhaps it helps in coping with stress and anxiety, or calms your mind after a busy day. Maybe it improves your focus, supports you in navigating the demands of your work, or enhances your sleep. Maybe it’s valuable time that you spend connecting with yourself as part of a self-care routine. It could be a combination of reasons, thanks to meditation’s multiple benefits. Reminding yourself of your deeper motivation to meditate can inspire you to keep up your practice – even when you might not feel like it in the moment.

Make a plan

To experience the benefits of meditation, consistency is key. As with any skill, it takes practice and repetition to hone your capacity to meditate, and to reap the rewards. Having a plan can help. Try scheduling meditation into your diary, just as you would any other important commitment. Be realistic about how much time you can commit to it. It’s better to start small and build up, rather than setting ambitious goals that can feel overwhelming. Even five minutes a day brings huge benefits – what’s important is that your practice is manageable. Meditating at the same time and in the same place each day can also help in creating a consistent rhythm.

Find a practice that fits you

There are many different forms and approaches to meditation. It’s vital to find a practice that resonates with you. From guided practices to breathwork, visualisations to Vipassana, mantras to movement meditations and more, there are a wealth of options to dive into. Tune into what feels good and which practices are supportive for you. Remember that this may shift from day to day or week to week, depending on how you’re feeling. Stay curious and open – try experimenting with different types of meditation and switch up your practice from time to time. The more you attune and adapt to your inner experience, the more enjoyable meditation becomes.

Bring mindfulness to daily activities

We often associate meditation with time spent sitting quietly and focusing inwards. Of course, this is a valuable approach that has many benefits. Yet we can also take meditation off the mat by practicing mindfulness in daily life. There are lots of ways to explore this – whether it’s paying mindful attention to small activities such as cleaning your teeth or making a cup of tea; noticing your sensory experiences in any given moment; or carefully observing your surroundings and sensations while walking, to give just a few examples. By honing our attention in these ways, we strengthen the skills of meditative awareness and make it an integrated part of our lives.

Be kind to yourself

As you build a meditation practice, remember above all to be kind to yourself. Meditation involves connecting with ourselves in a deeper way. While it can feel wonderful and bring a sense of calm, peace and awakening, it can also bring up frustrations, recognition of engrained patterns, and the challenges of becoming truly aware of our minds. The key is not to force or be hard on yourself. While it takes patience and discipline to create a sustained meditation practice, it also requires gentleness. Cultivate compassion for yourself and aim to meet yourself without judgement or criticism as you navigate the process. Your meditation practice – and your overall wellbeing – will benefit greatly as a result.

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