Forget everything you think you know about meditation. It doesn’t have to mean being naked in an overheated room plastered with posters of psychedelic elephants and music quietly crooning, “Oh, Shanti, Shanti.” Consider this your permission slip to create the meditation you want and need. After all, when it comes to your individual meditation practice, you and ONLY YOU make the rules.
Only 8% of US adults practice meditation despite mindfulness tactics being proven to help manage health issues like depression, anxiety, general stress, other mental illnesses, and more. Despite the health benefits we know it gives us, people find it hard to commit to a practice, likely because of the stigma which surrounds it.
It’s time to take control of your meditation practice, make it your own, and learn to incorporate it into your everyday life with these five pointers.
Define Your Practice
Meditation has no confines. It’s your practice, so ultimately you and only you can define it. It might mean sitting on a pillow on your apartment floor for five minutes while you attempt to calm your mind or it might mean taking a mindful walk around your neighborhood, trying to slow your mind down and appreciate what’s around you. Your meditation is in your mind, so you get to make the rules and once you know what works best for you and what it should look like, you’ll have an easier time adhering to it.
Wake Up Fifteen Minutes Earlier
It’s been statistically proven that early risers are “more proactive.” Since you may find it difficult to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, make the physical space for it by blocking out 15 minutes before you usually wake up. Starting your day with a few minutes of peaceful reflection might also get you more ready for the day ahead.
Take a Lunch
Take. Your. Lunch. Break. Seriously. Even if you’re accustomed to the pathetic desk lunch that plagues corporate America. Even if you aren’t feeling hungry. Take your lunch, as that is your time and you are not getting paid. Use that hour to eat, read, take a walk, or find a quiet space somewhere in the office or nearby outside (maybe even in your car!) where you can unwind and let yourself breathe.
Give Yourself an Hour of “Me Time”
Between working, commuting, meal prepping, and getting ready for bed, it can feel like it’s hard to fit in the things you actually want to do. Give yourself an hour each day after work to focus on a hobby, whether it be reading, coloring, writing, or calling up a friend. Use this hour for self-care and really get in touch with your physical, mental, and emotional states.
Start Your Nighttime Routine Earlier
Yes, it’s hard to swipe up and hit the “Airplane Mode” button. Yes, it’s hard to pause the Netflix queue. But you gotta do it. Beginning your nighttime routine an hour earlier than you normally would will give you more time in the long run to dedicate five to 15 minutes before sleep to a quick meditation practice. Unwinding before bed will slow down your breathing, calm your mind, and ultimately, make it that much easier to fall asleep naturally.
How do you incorporate meditation into your everyday life? Let us know in the comments!