World Meditation Day is an annual observance held on May 21st, dedicated to promoting the practice of meditation and its profound benefits. In today’s stressful and fast-paced world, the practice of meditation has garnered significant prominence owing to its multiple mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Meditation offers a profound way to reconnect with ourselves, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of balance and well-being. Yet, a sizable number of individuals struggle to make meditation a routine habit despite the initial zeal. Designing a consistent meditation practice demands commitment and a well-defined strategy. Whether you’re a beginner or have dabbled in meditation before, these practical tips will help you establish a consistent practice that brings peace and mindfulness into your daily routine. (Also read: World Meditation Day 2023: Five-minute meditation practices that one can do anywhere )
Ways to make meditation a habit:
Raman Mittal, Meditation Expert and Co-founder and CEO of Idanim, shares with HT Lifestyle, seven proven strategies that will help individuals incorporate meditation into their daily routine.
1. Keep realistic expectations and be consistent
It takes time to build muscles once you hit the gym. It takes time to lose weight once you start a diet. It takes time to learn a skill you just began. Similarly, once you begin meditating do not expect wonders overnight. Meditation is a journey and requires dedication and patience. Consistency is crucial when it comes to embracing any habit, and meditation is no exception. Select a specific time and place for your practice with minimal distractions. Be it early morning, lunch hour or before bedtime, maintaining a uniform schedule helps prepare your mind and body to expect and embrace the practice regularly.
2. Adopt a gradual approach
When venturing on your meditation journey, do not jump-start with advanced meditations. Start with short sessions of 5-10 minutes, and gradually expand the duration as you become more comfortable and acquainted with the practice and develop the habit of staying still. By designing attainable goals, you build momentum and avoid feeling overwhelmed or disheartened.
3. Pick a suitable location
Establishing a dedicated area for meditation can improve your focus and build a peaceful environment, facilitative to your practice. It is important to remember that it doesn’t need to be an elaborate setup and could include a comfortable chair or merely a cushion or chair. Practitioners can also adorn it with objects that promote tranquillity like candles, plants, or meaningful symbols.
4. Leverage meditation apps
For beginners, meditation apps can deliver valuable support by offering guided sessions tailored for different durations and skill levels. They offer a structured framework, making it convenient to delve into the practice and stay focused. Also, integrating meditation into your existing daily routines can assist in framing it as a daily habit. For example, you can include mindfulness practices while conducting routine tasks like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or commuting to work. By purposefully bringing awareness to these moments, you fill your day with mindfulness and make meditation an essential part of your life.
It is also essential to commence your meditation practice with an attitude of flexibility and non-judgment. There will be times when your mind feels scattered, and your focus deviates. In such a scenario, rather than being disheartened, welcome these experiences as part of the journey. Acknowledge that meditation is not about attaining perfection but nurturing awareness and self-compassion. Accept your thoughts and emotions without judgement, gently directing your attention back to the current moment.
6. Explore different meditation techniques
Once you’ve become proficient with a meditation technique, explore other techniques that echo with you to keep your practice engrossing and multifaceted. Meditation encompasses a wide range of practices, such as mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and transcendental meditation among others. Experimenting with diverse techniques enables you to discover what works best for you.
7. Keep track of your progress
Scrutinising your progress can be a motivating factor in maintaining a meditation habit. Keep a log of your meditation sessions, recording the duration, any insights or experiences, and how you felt before and after each session. By following your progress, you can follow patterns, identify improvements, and celebrate accomplishments, strengthening your commitment to regular practice. Meditation apps are a great way to keep track of your progress.