Meditation benefits come in a variety of colors. That said, a decrease to your stress and anxiety, a cure to your high blood pressure, and a way to help you get a better night’s sleep will only happen if you actually practice meditation. And while many a beginning meditator, for a variety of reasons, hesitates before starting a practice, there are a few things that you can do to help approach the start line a little quicker.
Susan Kaiser Greenland pens this recent Intent post on 8 solid tips to help jump start your meditation practice. According to Greenland, one important point is to make sure you have an intention before starting you practice. In other words, what is it that you’re hoping to accomplish by practicing meditation?
Following are Susan’s top 5:
1. Make sure you know what you want from your practice. For starters, take a look at why you’re practicing meditation. Many novices hope meditation will help them manage the ups and downs of every day life. And you can develop mindful awareness through the practice of meditation. Mindful awareness is paying attention to what’s happening in, to, and around you — with kindness and compassion for yourself and others.
2. Don’t take it too seriously. Mindfulness in everyday life is not a religion, so don’t approach it as one. Don’t take it too seriously and try to keep your sense of humor. Many of the machinations of our minds are hilarious when looked at from this perspective. Which leads me to #3.
3. There’s no such thing as success or failure in meditation. Don’t judge yourself as a success or failure at meditation — there’s no such thing. Remember your answer to #1 — your aim is take the mindful awareness that you develop on the cushion out into your everyday life.
4. Keep it simple. If you can commit to meditating 30 to 45 minutes a day and stick with it, that’s fantastic. But this can be an unrealistic goal when you’re just starting out. Try to commit to practicing twice a day, for a few minutes at a time, for a specific number of days. Maybe you’re comfortable committing to seven minutes in the morning and seven minutes in the evening for seven consecutive days. Maybe four minutes a day, twice a day, for 40 consecutive days. It doesn’t matter which regimen you choose; what matters is that you choose one that you can manage in your daily life and stick with it.
5. Find a buddy. If possible, enlist someone to join you in this experiment. You don’t need to practice in the same room at the same time as your buddy but it’s helpful to check in with someone else when you start out so you have a sounding board and can help each other stay on track.
Read more tips on how to best begin a meditation practice here.