by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 26th April, 2019
Meditation is a personal training in awareness, and practicing meditation allows you to experience a healthy sense of perspective.
Some people think that meditating is the process of focussing on something singular, for example your breathing, in order to help switch off your thoughts. But meditation is more about learning to observe your thoughts without judgement, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
In order for meditation to be effective and have an on-going positive impact on your health and in your life, you should try to incorporate your meditative practice into your daily routine. A good way of doing this is to stick to a simple daily meditation routine that fits easily into your morning schedule, and helps to calm your mind and prepare it for the day ahead.
Once you have your daily meditation set up as a habit, you will be able to incorporate meditative techniques throughout your day, wherever you are, in order to help you deal with any stress or challenges that cross your path.
Keep reading to discover 5 simple steps to establish your daily meditation.
By planning your meditation in advance you will be more likely to stick to it. Consistency is key in transforming your meditative practice into a life-changing habit. The problem is that it's easy to want to start doing something, but when it comes down to it it's just as easy to back out or put it off.
Think about all of the good intentions you have had in the past of wanting to establish better habits in your life. It's easy to think - I'd like to go for a walk every morning to get some fresh air and wake me up - but you are more than likely to wake up in the morning and either forget that you wanted to take that walk, feel too sleepy to be motivated to do anything but make coffee, or you'll see that it's raining and tell yourself that maybe you'll start another day when the weather is nicer.
On the other hand, if you make a firm decision that tomorrow morning you are going to start your new regime (not that you want to, but that you're going to, because there is a big difference), and in order to set the statement in stone, you write it in your diary, plan where you will walk to and for how long, set your alarm to go off earlier to make extra time in the morning, and then place your walking shoes next to your bed as a final prompt and reminder, you will wake up in the morning not with an idea in your mind, but a task that you have clearly set for yourself and that you are about to carry out.
When you are starting off on your meditation journey, you should start by meditating once a day, and preferably in the morning, because this is truly a great way to start your day.
Choosing your daily meditation schedule is important and personal so pick a time when you know you will have some time and space to yourself, free from distraction. You can also plan ahead how long you intend to spend on your meditation practice in the morning so that you can make sure you give yourself enough time.
If something happens to change your plans or interrupt your session, because sometimes life has a way of taking over, try to reschedule your session for the next possible time you have a moment to yourself, and try to make it on the same day so that you won't feel that you have let yourself down or failed.
Your meditation time is sacred, and to mark this you should have a special place that you dedicate to your daily meditation. This can be a space that works well for your daily meditation, and which also works as a sanctuary space that you can come back to any time you need to clear your head or relax.
You might find yourself wondering what a "meditation space" is meant to look like. Well, there are no fast rules, but as a guide here are some things to consider when choosing and designing your space.
Planning ahead and deciding how you are going to meditate will make it easier for you to get started, because you will know exactly what you are doing before you sit down and get to it.
There are a variety of different forms of meditation to choose from, but to begin with it is always a good idea to keep things simple and start with the most well know and straightforward method of meditation - breathing.
This style of meditation is all about being mindful of your breathing. When you focus on your breathing, slowing it down and inhaling deeply it has an instant calming effect, which is why this is the first thing you are encouraged to do if you are having a panic attack.
Not only does it create calm in your body, but it also creates clarity in your mind. So the next time you feel angry, irritable or emotional, try taking a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing until you gain your senses!
Mindful breathing is a great foundation for your meditation practice. It's really easy and you can practice it in any situation without really bringing attention to yourself. It's a nifty trick to have up your sleeve. It also feels great, and helps you to focus and calm your mind if you have racing thoughts.
And you thought this was going to be hard! You may think that meditation should last for a longer length for time, or that you need more than 60 seconds to get yourself into a meditative state of mind.
But by lowering your expectations, you heighten your chances of success in the beginning, and this means that you also increase your sense of self-belief and the likelihood of your new daily meditation practice becoming a real integrated part of your life.
The main reason you should keep it short when starting out is that you want to avoid coming up against any mental blocks and set yourself a reachable goal so that you can build up your consistency.
You can do even less than 60 seconds of mindful-breathing if you are finding this difficult. 10 or 20 seconds daily might be enough for the first week, and you can gradually increase the time the following week.
Do what feels right for you, but make sure that you agree on your plan ahead of time, even if it means you dedicate to doing 10 seconds every morning for the first three days, going up to 20 seconds for the rest of the week. The more days that you can commit to the better because then you are forming a habit, which will make things easier for you in the long-run.
Sitting meditation is one thing, but mindfulness is a practice that can extend to so many other areas of your life, and you will wonder why you didn't think of incorporating it sooner when you realise what a positive impact it can have.
Here are 3 easy ideas to start incorporating mindfulness into your day: