7 Tips for Building a Daily Meditation Practice

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Ever tried to form a new habit or teach yourself a new skill? You probably realized early on that daily practice is the key to success. The same goes for meditation.

“Meditation every day is important because you’re developing a habit,” explains Sadie Bingham a clinical social worker specializing in anxiety disorders in Gig Harbor Washington. She herself is a longtime meditator.

“Most people don’t notice the positive effects right away so you need daily(ish) practice to start seeing the fruits of your labor,” she adds.

Starting a daily meditation practice can be difficult but most people find it easier once they start noticing its many benefits.

Still wondering if you can make meditation a part of your life? It’s definitely possible and these seven success tips can help.

While daily meditation is a great goal you don’t need to devote 30 minutes (or more) to it every day.

You may not feel very focused or calm at first. You may not feel relaxed at all. But that’s okay. Just make it a goal to spend five minutes sitting and thinking. Be curious about them but don’t force it.

“Eventually,” Bingham explained “you’ll feel what it’s like to sit and meditate.”

If you can’t get up for at most 30 minutes a day don’t sweat it — meditating for 10 or 15 minutes a day can also help.

You’ll find different sources recommending different “ideal” times to meditate. But really your ideal time is when you can meditate.

If you try to allow yourself to meditate at a time that doesn’t fit your schedule and responsibilities you may end up feeling frustrated and unmotivated to keep going.

Instead try meditating at different times to see what works best for you. During a busy commute or work break this may end up being the first thing in the morning before bed.

Whatever time you choose try to stick with it. Consistency can help your new habit become another part of your routine.

You may have seen pictures of people meditating in the classic lotus position. But this position isn’t very comfortable for everyone and if you’re doing something that makes you physically uncomfortable it’s hard to reconcile.

Fortunately you don’t have to get into a certain position in order to meditate successfully. Instead just get into a position where you feel relaxed and natural. Lie down in a chair – both are perfectly fine.

“Comfort is more important than ‘looking’ like you’re meditating,” Bingham stressed.

If you are sitting still try meditating while walking or standing. Some people find that focusing on each step helps further the meditative process just like focusing on the breath.

Also consider creating a comfortable and soothing meditation space or even build a ritual around the process. Adding candles to calming music or photos and mementos of loved ones can all help enhance meditation.

“The benefits of the ritual are also important because the process becomes a statement that your health matters,” says Bingham.

Still feeling a little unsure about how you should meditate?

When in doubt use your smartphone. Most things these days have an app and meditation is no exception.

There are many free apps that let you start with the guided meditation that Bingham recommends for beginners. “Guided meditation can help bring the active mind back to the present moment,” she explained.

You can also use apps to access:

  • meditations for different situations
  • calming sounds
  • breathing exercises
  • podcasts
  • Tools and graphics to help you learn more about meditation

You can also personalize the app to track your progress and change your meditation method based on your current state of mind.

Some popular apps include Calm Headspace and 10% Happier.

It takes time to develop a new habit so don’t worry if meditation doesn’t seem to work for you at first.

Instead of looking for reasons why you can’t keep going explore any difficulties you encounter with curiosity and an open mind. The challenges you face in meditation can lead you towards a more successful practice.

If you are easily distracted ask yourself why. are you uncomfortable? tired? boring? Accept these emotions and change accordingly—they give you valuable insight. Maybe choose a different location or try meditating earlier in the day.

Learning to practice acceptance and curiosity in meditation can help you more easily translate these feelings into your daily life explains Bingham.

This can help make it easier for you to develop awareness on a regular basis.

Think of it this way: If you start meditating when you feel anxious and restless you may feel better. However if you maintain a regular meditation practice you may find that you can manage stress more easily before your emotions overwhelm you.

You might not notice the benefits of meditation right away. This is completely normal. And no matter how long you practice your mind may still wander from time to time. This is also normal.

None of this means you can’t succeed with meditation. Being aware of when your mind wanders is actually a good thing – it means you are developing awareness. When this happens just gently refocus. With a steady meditation practice you will usually Start seeing the benefits in time.

That said it’s important to recognize when meditation can do more harm than good. While meditation helps relieve mental health symptoms in many people not everyone finds it helpful even with regular practice.

It’s not very common but some people report increased depression anxiety or panic attacks. If meditation continues to make you feel worse you may need to get guidance from a therapist before continuing.

Ready to give daily meditation a shot?

Here’s a simple meditation to get you started:

  1. Find a comfortable place to relax.
  2. Set a timer for three to five minutes.
  3. Start by focusing on your breath. Notice how you feel with each inhale and exhale. Breathe slowly and deeply in a way that feels natural.
  4. Once your thoughts start to linger acknowledge the thoughts that come up let them go and bring your attention back to your breath. Don’t worry if this keeps happening – it will.
  5. When your time is up open your eyes. Pay attention to your surroundings your body and how you feel. You may not feel the same and you may not. But over time you may notice that you become more mindful of your experiences and your surroundings. These feelings are lingering Long after you have finished meditating.

Are you ready for something new? Try a body scan or learn more about the different types of meditation.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You will have the most success when you practice the way that works for you so don’t hesitate to try different methods until you find what works for you.

You’ll know it’s working when you start noticing greater compassion peace joy and acceptance in your life. Please be patient as these benefits may not manifest overnight. Remember to show up for yourself with curiosity and an open mind and you’ll always be on the right track to success.

Crystal Raypole was previously a writer and editor at GoodTherapy. Her areas of interest include Asian languages ​​and literature Japanese translation cooking natural sciences sexuality and mental health. In particular she works to help reduce psychological stigma health problems.

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