6 Steps to Creating a Daily Meditation Practice
Have you ever thought about creating a meditation practice but do not know where to start? Do any of these statements resonate with you: "I don't have time"; "I am worried I will do it wrong"; "I hate sitting still"; or "I know it's probably good for me, but I am not motivated to start". I will confess, I was the LAST person who thought they would take up a meditation practice and now I don't feel "right" if I do not meditate everyday. Now I practice meditation not because I feel like I have to, but because I can feel the difference it makes in my overall health and wellbeing. As a form of self-care, this practice of being mindful helps to create a daily balance.
The benefits of meditation in terms of stress management, and reducing inflammation in they body thereby possibly reducing symptoms of autoimmune disease, are far reaching. Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, lower cortisol levels, reduce chronic inflammation, and slow the process of aging. But, it's kind of like healthy eating or exercise, just because we know it's good for us, doesn't mean we are going to do it. What are some things we can do to make this practice easier? Read on for tips I use with my health coaching clients, and ones I have found helpful for myself. I also talked about these tips on my Facebook page in a live video this week.
Link Meditation to a Habitual Activity: this is the same as a process called habit stacking where we do an activity (meditate) after we do something we do every day. For example, if you make coffee in the morning, and that coffee takes 10 minutes to brew, after you make the coffee, perhaps it's then you fit in 10 minutes of meditation.
Start Small: if you have 5 minutes, then do 5 minutes. In the end, 5 minutes is better than zero minutes. This is kind of like exercise where even a quick walk around the block can leave you feeling happier.
Try Guided Meditations: if the thought of sitting in silence is a bit daunting, try a guided meditation that can help to guide your thoughts and the practice. There are so many apps out there with free guided meditations. I have used Insight Timer. Currently, I am a member of The Pathway, a membership though To Be Magnetic which was created by Lacy Phillips. I love, love. love this practice and have recommended it to my Health Coaching clients who have also found success with it.
Schedule It: this speaks for itself. We are much more likely to do something if it's scheduled.
Create a Meditation Space: where feels calm, safe, and welcoming to you? Where can you come back to (habit) that serves as a meditation space for you? While we may not be able to get to that space every time we want to do a meditation, sticking with a calm and safe space will help to support your practice.
Consider Journaling: journaling before or after meditation can help to focus your practice. What is coming up for you? Are you working on a theme or do you have a trigger that you would like to work on to understand the emotions behind it?
The practice of meditation is just that: practice. Don't expect it to be perfect. Thoughts will come and go. Take this time as a form of self-care. You deserve it!