Our lives are full of distractions—the constant ding of our inboxes, push notifications from social media apps and anything else considered “breaking news.” Technology has improved our lives in so many ways, but it also made it harder to focus our attention and achieve healthy living. Meditation is a great way to improve concentration, decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boost the body’s immune system. Whether you choose to practice a reflective, mindfulness, heart-centered or visualization technique, regular repetition of any type of reflection does wonders for your overall physical, mental and emotional health.
The question is: how to make meditation a daily habit in today’s fast-paced society full of distractions? The answer is simple. Well, sort of. It’s a four-part answer. But in the end, you’ll feel confident about making meditation a daily habit.
Practice in the same place every day.
You don’t need to meditate in a special room with pillows on the floor. Some people enjoy sitting on the balcony of their apartment, while others lie on their couch. Whether you are inspired by walking in nature or prefer the sitting in the comfort of your own home, having a set location increases the likelihood that you will actually practice every day.
Set the mood.
Once you have a specific location, set the mood. Turn off your cell phone, laptop and any other electronic devices—or better yet, put them in another room entirely. Keep candles, pillows, a sound machine or anything else that helps you relax close at hand.
Block out a specific time to meditate.
Countless celebrities—from Kobe to Ellen—have been quoted on the benefits of meditation. If they have 20 minutes a day to devote to the practice, chances are the rest of us do too.
Most people prefer to meditate first thing in the morning. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual (and don’t hit the snooze button!) to ensure that you always have time. Not a morning person? Find a time of day when you could use some rejuvenation and set a reminder on your cell phone or block out time on your calendar to ensure that time is truly yours. Attaching your meditation time to another daily routine—while soaking in the tub or drinking your morning cuppa Joe for instance—is another way to make it a habit.
Notice how you feel for the rest of the day.
Self-awareness is an important part of meditation. Pay attention to how you feel on the days that you practice. Are you more productive? Did your back hurt less than usual? Did you sleep better that night? When you take note of these benefits, it won’t seem like such a chore to find 20 minutes each day to meditate.
You don’t have to be a spiritual person, chant a mantra or sit in an uncomfortable, yoga-like pose to enjoy the benefits of mediation. Incorporate it into your daily routine with these four simple steps and discover what a difference it makes in your daily life.