#MeditationMonday: How to Add Meditation to Your Daily Routine
The hardest part of adopting a new habit is getting started. If you’re interested in starting meditation, here are seven tips on how to add meditation into your daily routine.
When I first started practicing Heartfulness Meditation, meditating for the prescribed 30 minutes seemed incredibly daunting. To ease into the practice, my mom encouraged me to start small by meditating for five minutes every morning. Once I became comfortable with those five minutes, I then added on another five minutes, and so on and so forth, until I could meditate for the full 30 minutes.
Meditate at the same time every day.
Setting a fixed time each morning to meditate can help you ease into daily meditation. With the Heartfulness practice, it is recommended to meditate before sunrise. If your schedule doesn’t permit you to meditate first thing in the morning, meditate as soon as you are able to, and make that time your fixed hour for meditation.
Create a environment specific to meditation.
Creating an environment specifically for meditation is crucial. For the longest time, I would wake up and unsuccessfully try to meditate on my bed, only to either fall asleep again or immediately reach for my phone. It took me a while to understand that the reason I struggled to meditate on my bed was because I had already conditioned that environment as a place to sleep and relax.
Now, I have a designated chair that I meditate in every day. Cultivating an environment that is specific to meditation, similar to how my bed is specific to sleep, can make all the different in helping your heart, body, and mind adjust to meditating daily.
Keep a journal.
With meditation, progress is not linear. A way to understand your meditation practice is by keeping a journal. Every meditation is different, and writing down your experience after each one helps to learn more about yourself. Make notes about how you felt before meditating, and how you feel afterwards. Be honest -- whether you had a good or unsettled meditation, write all of it down.
Lean into silence.
Disclaimer: I still struggle with this one. Most days, it feels so much easier to be on my phone all day, spend my full work day listening to music and podcasts, then come home and watch TV. That accumulation of noise throughout the day can make it difficult to settle down each night, then wake up in the morning and have a good meditation.
I think we’ve been conditioned to feel as though we have to be listening to or doing something all the time, and if we aren’t, then we aren’t being productive. I’m trying to be better about not feeling like I have to fill up prolonged moments of silence with noise. Instead, I want to be better about carrying the calm and quiet that I create in my morning meditation with me throughout the day. When I hold onto that silence throughout the day, I consistently stay connected to the condition I created in my morning meditation, making it easier to dis-attach from the need for noise, and stay steady in my meditation routine.
Sleep! Take it from someone who has terrible sleeping habits: getting a good night’s sleep, and cultivating positive sleep habits, is critical to adding meditation to your daily routine. I have gone through periods where my sleeping patterns are completely unhealthy, and my meditation practice has directly suffered. The more tired you feel, the less inclined you’ll be to wake up each morning to meditate; the little meditation you are able to do won’t feel as gratifying.
Take the time to understand your REM cycle. Shut off your devices at least an hour before bed. Learn how many hours of sleep you need in order to function each day. Above all, listen to your body when you feel it getting tired each evening, and develop your sleeping habits around that.
Don’t give up!
Real talk: Meditation is NOT easy. It’s a journey that takes time, effort, consistency, and practice. Because of the investment, it can feel easy to try it out for a bit, then give up because success doesn’t come quickly.
For any type of meditation, whether it be Heartfulness or a different practice, I encourage you not to give up. There will be days when you have incredible meditations that you’ll want to replicate, and then there will be will be days where you just can’t seem to get centered. All of that is okay! Have fun with your meditation practice! It won’t be what you expect it to be, but enjoy it, learn from it, and use it as a space to commit to taking interest in yourself.