As the popularity of meditation apps and understanding of the practice has increased, more and more people meditate. Meditation helps you redirect your thoughts and find calm in each moment. While it can be difficult to calm the mind and gently let your thoughts come and go, getting into a consistent meditation practice in the first place can be challenging. Here are 5 steps to getting into a consistent meditation practice. I’m the first to admit I’m guilty of missing a day or two myself, but these steps have helped me get into a consistent meditation practice.
1) Set the Intention and Put it in Your Schedule
It sounds simple, but how many times do we say we’re going to do something and not follow through on it? By setting a daily reminder for yourself to meditate and putting that time aside, you’ll begin to make it part of your daily routine. If you’re one of those people with an inconsistent schedule, you can even set a reminder that you know will go off silently while you’re asleep. That way it’s the first thing you see when you wake up — a gentle reminder to meditate and get present before you start your day. This helped me when I was going through a time of a fairly inconsistent schedule. Seeing the reminder prompted me to meditate first thing in the morning instead of doing a mindless scroll through social media.
2) Start Small and Build Up Gradually
One of the most daunting things about meditation for me was the thought of sitting in silence for 20 minutes trying hard not to let any thoughts enter my head. With the emergence of hundreds of new meditation apps in recent years, it has become easier to be guided through the start of your meditation journey. To get started, try guided meditations in an app or search for a guided meditation track online. With many of the guided meditations for beginners starting at just 60 seconds, this makes it easy to start without feeling overwhelmed. The apps also help me track which meditation sessions I listen to most frequently, providing another helpful way to check in with myself.
3) Have a Dedicated Meditation Space
Having a dedicated meditation space doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You could buy a meditation pillow or simply sit in a cross-legged position on a cushion in a quiet space in your home. The key to having a dedicated meditation space is making sure it is free from distractions. Pick a place where you won’t be distracted by something like your TV. If you’re using your phone for meditation apps, make sure all notifications and sounds are turned off before you begin your practice. Once you’ve pressed play on your meditation session, place your phone face down so you can’t see your phone screen.
4) Focus on Your Breath
Most of the guided meditation sessions available will focus on breathing to calm your mind and focus on the issue you have picked. For example, whether you’re listening to a session on stress or a session on grief, breathing mindfully will still be a key part of your meditation practice. If you find your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back to your breath. Counting your breath can help to focus your mind too. Start with 1 count in, 1 count out and work up to 5 counts in and 5 counts out to bring mindfulness back to your breathing.
5) Be Gentle with Yourself
Meditation, like other spiritual practices such as yoga, takes dedication and practice. But that doesn’t mean we need to be hard on ourselves. Some days you will find it easy to meditate, while on others it may be more challenging. The important thing is to be gentle with yourself and stick with trying to meditate (guided or not) for a few minutes each day to start. You’ll really start to notice the benefits of meditation after practicing consistently for at least 2 weeks. So, instead of scrolling through social media when you wake up tomorrow or spending an extra five minutes in bed, try setting a daily reminder to start your meditation practice and see what kind of journey can unfold for you.
By being more mindful through your day, once you get into a regular meditation practice, you could feel more grounded and find it easier to deal with challenges when they come your way.