Meditation is a powerful way to practice mindfulness and experience overall well-being. Know how to build a daily meditation practice.

Forming a new habit or learning a new skill may feel hard. That is because changing way we are used to living is not easy. The same rule applies to practising meditation, a combination of physical and mental techniques used to maintain peace of mind. In the hustle-bustle of life, we are so accustomed to internal and external chaos that attaining a state of calmness or composure may feel like a far cry. Yet, it’s not impossible. However, with daily meditation practice, you may start noticing changes in the way you think and function. When you begin to experience the health benefits of daily meditation, you will feel urged to sit down and do it daily. But how to start daily meditation and do it effectively?

Benefits of meditation

Practising meditation helps inculcate a sense of awareness. Through meditation, we learn how to control our wandering mind and thoughts. We can learn to become more mindful of our surroundings through daily meditation practice. Many people find this technique helpful in combating daily stress and developing higher levels of concentration. With a calm and controlled mind, we can develop a positive outlook towards other outside aspects of life. Meditation also enhances self-discipline and encourages healthy sleep patterns, along with improved tolerance towards pain.

A study spanning 8 weeks analysing the effect of mindfulness meditation on people found that it helped curb anxiety symptoms in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, along with noticing increased use of positive self-statements and improved stress reactivity and coping. In another 8-week study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity Journal, it was noticed that a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” curbed inflammation response that was triggered due to stress.

How to build a daily meditation practice?

If you feel like meditating daily, but you resist the urge to sit down out of procrastination, here are some tips to help regularise daily meditation:

1. Start small

When you constantly think that you have to practice meditation daily, you may end up feeling overwhelmed. To avoid that, stop aiming for high goals like practising meditation daily for 30 minutes or longer every day. Mediation is not an easy practice as your mind might wander a lot in the beginning. You might not even feel at ease. But understand that all of this is normal when starting afresh. To make things easier for yourself, start small. Perhaps set a goal to just practice it for 5 minutes to begin with. Learn to sit down with your thoughts and process them. If you are unable to squeeze in 30 minutes every day, do not fret over it. Meditating even for 10-15 minutes daily offers benefits until spending a longer time at it feels better. To make matter’s easier, here’s beginner’s guide to meditation!

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how to build a meditation practice
Know how to build a daily meditation practice. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Do it at the right time

You will find several people asking you to practice meditation at a certain time during the day – mostly morning meditation. However, in reality, your ideal time is the time when you can make meditation work. Do not give in to stereotypes and act on them. By following others’ ideal time, you might have difficulty focusing, leaving you feeling frustrated and demotivated to go ahead. Experiment with different times to find the best fit for you. It could be first thing in the morning, before sleeping at night, during a long commute, or after a small break at work. Find your time, and try to stick it. With consistency, that habit will blend into your daily routine like just another daily regime.

3. Make yourself comfortable

For the longest time, popular media has made us believe that meditating is best done in the classic lotus position. However, the reality is that the lotus position is hard to form and maintain. That can make anyone feel physically uneasy. Just slip into a position or form that you can at least hold comfortably for a while. You can also sit on a chair or lie down to practice – both forms are perfectly fine. If getting stationed for a while does not come naturally to you, try walking or standing meditation. Focusing on each step while walking helps further the meditative process similar to the way focusing on breath does.

Alongside, try to curate a soothing and comfortable space for meditation around you by lighting candles or playing peaceful music that can help enhance the meditation.

4. Give meditation apps or listening to podcasts a try

If you still feel uncertain about how to kickstart your practice, turn to your smartphone. There are multiple mobile applications nowadays that provide guided meditation. Apps can help you access guided meditation or visual imagery, calming sounds like Tibetan bowls and more.

5. Persist

Just like we said earlier, starting a new habit is hard, and meditation can feel hard for beginners. Even if you are not able to maintain focus, try to keep at it by staying focused. Instead of fishing for reasons to give up on it, try to keep an open mind and curiosity to navigate those difficulties. These challenges can become stepping stones towards a more successful practice. Think of it like this: When we start feeling anxious or nervous, we turn to meditation for help, and it surely eases us out. But understand that if you stick to this consistently, you may have an easier time handling that stress before it starts getting the better of you. Try some of these tips to increase focus during meditation!

how to build daily meditation practice
Meditation is a great way to maintain overall well-being! Image courtesy: Pexels

6. Start cultivating a sense of awareness

Even years of practising meditation can leave people’s mind wandering, which is normal. You might not experience the instant benefits of mediation, and that is completely okay. That does not mean that you will not succeed in this practice. Even noticing that your mind has started wandering is a boon on its own. It means you are developing awareness. When your mind wanders, simply refocus yourself to the present moment gently. A steady meditation practice will reap its benefits with time.

How to get started?

So, are you willing to give meditation a shot? Follow these simple steps to get you started!

1. Get seated in a comfortable spot where you can unwind
2. Set a short timer for three to five minutes
3. Start by focusing just on your breath. Simply observe the slow inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Breathe deep and slow in a natural way. Do not force breathing.
4. Initially, random thoughts may surface. Allow them to come and pass through you. Make your focus come back to your breathing. Do not worry about the coming thoughts, for they will.
5. When the time is up, open your eyes. Start paying attention to your surroundings, the sensations of your body, and your feelings. You might feel differently or might not. With time, you will notice that you will become more aware of your experience along with the surrounding environment. These feelings stay for long even when you stop meditating.

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