In last month’s column, you wrote about the benefits of meditation and how it can help enhance a relationship. Because I’ve been over-reactive with my boyfriend, reading your article has convinced me that I need to begin my own practice. Can you give me some ideas on how to start it and stay on track?
Signed: Meditation Novice
Dear Meditation Novice
Great decision, so good for you!
There is not a single person who has embarked on a spiritual practice, like meditation, who at some point, wanted to stop, distract herself or quit altogether. The following tips will help you achieve the best results in your new mindfulness experience.
Eight Keys For A Successful Meditation Practice
1) Commit to doing a meditation everyday, even if for only 5 minutes. When starting a practice, the natural tendency is to give up too quickly. Even with the best intentions, about half of you readers will succumb to your old behaviors of self-sabotage by missing days or even dropping out altogether. Is that going to be you?! I hope not!! To keep your commitment, schedule a daily reminder in your calendar.
2) Set your intention. Creating a goal for a successful practice is important. Go ahead and set your intention to meditate everyday with great results. For example, your objective could sound like this, I intend to meditate for at least five minutes everyday, bringing more calm and ease into my life.
It helps to create a special intention for missed days. To help keep you on track, make a special goal of meditating twice as long in the 24 hours following a missed day. For example, your objective could sound like this: My intention is 5 minutes of daily meditation. However, if I miss a day, my goal is to meditate for at least 10 minutes in the following 24 hours.
3) Pick that one time per day that works best for you. Studies show that if you meditate the same time everyday, you will have a more profound result. You may chose to meditate when you wake up, over lunch, after dinner or before going to bed. Whichever time you prefer, stick with it throughout your daily practice.
4) Pick a quiet place in your home, office, nearby beach or park, etc. that becomes your sanctuary. Make sure it’s a place where you can’t be easily distracted. If you have younger children, make sure it’s during their sleep time. Turn off your wireless devices and take care of any other possible disruptions.
5) Refrain from giving meaning or judgment to the thoughts, beliefs, fears, emotions and feelings that will pop during meditation. When they arise, DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF. Gently smile and let them float away. Know that what emerges is ready to leave your system. That’s right, all thoughts, beliefs, fears, emotions and feelings that surface are actually trying to leave your mind and body, so let them. Be the witness and observer of what arises and watch them gently float away. Even for the most seasoned meditator, thoughts come up. IT’S NO BIGGIE. Just notice them with interest and curiosity, which allows them drift away. Then, refocus your attention back onto the your meditation.
6) Be patient with yourself. There’s no way to do meditation wrong. As with any new practice, patience is your virtue. Be patient and kind to wonderful YOU!
7) Wear headphones. By using wireless devices to listen to guided meditations, you’ll enhance the sound by using headphones or ear buds. This helps to create a more deep and transformative experience. Also, being ‘hands free’ gives your body a chance to relax and release even more.
8) Reward or treat yourself. This is vital commitment you’re making for your mind, body and soul, which deserves to be praised and honored. At least once per week, treat yourself to something wonderful. Decide what that reward is going to be ahead of time so the incentive for continuing your practice stays a priority. Here are some suggestions:
- Take a scented bath at the end of each week
- Schedule a healing body or reflexology massage
- Watch your favorite comedian or movie on Netflix or YouTube, especially ones that make you laugh or feel good.
Enjoy your meditation practice!!
This blog is featured in Tamara’s monthly column in My Authentic Life Magazine called Talk To Tamara. Click here to see the article.
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