Meditation is an effective technique for managing stress, improving your ability to focus, and enabling better sleep. To experience these benefits, meditation needs to be practiced with some regularity rather than in response to negative events. In other words, meditation is not a pill to pop when you’re feeling stressed or having trouble sleeping; it’s more like a daily vitamin you take to keep your mind, body and spirit working at optimal levels. Meditation doesn’t work unless you do it, so how do you make room for it in your life and stick to a regular routine so you can experience the benefits?
Here is my quick and easy list for getting motivated for meditation:
Understand why you want to meditate. What benefits do you hope to experience? The answer to that question becomes your motivation. There are many physical, emotional and mental benefits to meditation including:
- Reduced physical symptoms of stress
- Reduced fatigue
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased energy
- Less distractedness
- Improvements in focus and concentration
- Improved decision making capacity
- Increased mental clarity and memory
- A calm and peaceful demeanor
- Enhanced emotional control and awareness
- Reduced emotional reactivity to stress
- A more positive outlook on life
Find the time. Everyone is busy these days, but there is still time to be found. I recommend taking the time away from “screen time” or time you spend watching TV, engaging with your smart phone, surfing the Internet, or on social media. There is likely at least twenty minutes a day to be found there (probably more) and twenty minutes of meditation a day is all the time you need to start seeing benefits quickly.
Set yourself up for success. Know what time you’re going to meditate and where you’re going to meditate. Pick a time when and place where you’re not likely to be disturbed. Have everything ready in advance, including a comfortable spot to sit in and a way to time your meditation.
Commit to a duration and see it through. One of the first obstacles meditators hit is getting distracted during a meditation. The phone rings. You remember something you want to write down. An email alert goes off and you’re fighting the urge to check it. Your leg falls asleep. You become bored. And all of these distractions can become excuses to stop meditating. You may justify stopping with thoughts like “this isn’t a good time, I’ll come back to it later” or “I’m just not cut out for this.” I recommend you circumvent this by committing to a time frame for your meditation up front, whether it’s five minutes or forty minutes. Expect distractions, expect the impulse to stop meditating, and stick with your meditation for the time frame you committed to. Remember, you don’t get the benefit without the doing.
Stick with your daily meditation practice for at least thirty days. It takes a while to learn a new skill and form a new habit. It also takes some time to experience the benefits of your new habit. If you stop too soon, you will miss the benefits you were hoping to achieve. Give it the time it deserves and you’ll reap the rewards of your commitment.
Now write it all down: (1) The benefits you want to experience (2) How you’ll find the time (3) When and where you’ll meditate (4) The duration of your meditation (5) The day you will begin your thirty-day practice.
I recommend you write this down because I know that people want their lives to change but they don’t want to change their lives. With this simple list, you can see that it’s possible to have your life change in powerful ways without dramatically changing your life. Are the benefits you hope to gain worth the simple commitments on your list? I think so and I hope you do as well. Any questions about getting motivated to meditate? Feel free to send them to me via e-mail.
Photo credit: istock.com/francescoch