“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10
There’s no way to guarantee that our days will go smoothly, but there is a way to start them off strong, and that is with meditation.
Meditation is a lot simpler then people give it credit for – You can benefit from only minutes of it. In this post, I’ll cover all the basics you should know in order to get you started, and the different types of meditation to help you find the one that best suits you and your lifestyle.
Also, I recently came out with my Mission: BEST LIFE Workbook. In it, I cover everything from life-audit questions to steer your course in the right direction to the three core habits that ignite change in all aspects of your life (hint: one is meditation!).
By signing up to my email list, you support me, my blog, and my future business, so this workbook is the way I hope to give back. Thank you, and if you feel inclined to sign up, just click the banner below.
1. get pumped & find your why
Before you begin any habit, it’s important to build a strong foundation. In order to do this, it’s crucial you find out why you want to start meditating and how you’ll profit from it. Meditation has so many positive effects on your mind and body that will help motivate you to keep up the practice. Here are only a few of the many benefits of meditation:
- Releases pent-up stress and emotion
- Positively impacts your creativity
- Improves focus and memory
- Boosts your immune system
- It even combats depression and anxiety
Getting inspired to meditate is easy and you can find meditation techniques and success stories all over the internet. Spend a little time researching to find out if this habit is worth your time. Once you’re done, finding your “why” will be effortless.
Behind all action is a reason why. After you’ve researched and filled yourself up with inspiration, your why will easily come to you. Whenever you question if this habit is doing any good for you, come back to the reason you started.
2. choose a consistent time and place to meditate each day
In the book,by Charles Duhigg, the author discusses how important a regular time and place is to build a habit. This is known as the cue. The cue is what your mind associates with a habit. Let’s use eating as an example to help you understand.
Although there are many cues for eating, we can narrow it down to four common ones: hunger, boredom/being sedentary (for example watching TV), stress/anxiety, and the sight/smell of food. All of these trigger your brain to go to the kitchen and grab something to eat.
If you’re a beginner at meditation, I recommend using the cues of either when you first wake up or before bed (if you can stay awake while you meditate). Your time cue would be whenever you wake up/go to bed and your place cue would be your room. I meditate first thing before I get out of bed in the morning for about 10-20 minutes. I can’t miss this cue, which makes it harder for me to skip meditating.
3. make the practice enjoyable for yourself
This next step is critical to consistent habit building and goes for any habit you’re trying to build: Make it so fun for yourself that you look forward to it each and every day. In step one, you identified your why, and that might be what makes it enjoyable for you. There are many ways to make meditation entertaining. Here’s to name a few:
- Create a playlist of your favorite guided meditations
- Track your progress to see how much you’ve improved since day one
- Know the many ways you’re benefiting yourself
- Reward yourself every time you meditate
- Incorporate meditation into your ideal day routine
The reward is another part of Charles Duhigg’s “Habit Loop” and is the most effective way to promote the growth of a habit. I go more in-depth on the Habit Loop in my workbook if you wish to understand it more. The habit loop applies to every habit (both good and bad), so it is a great concept to know and utilize.
types of meditation.
4. guided meditation
Guided meditations are the perfect place for beginners to start. You can either do these through an app like Calm or Headspace or go the cheap route (like me) and use YouTube The only problem with YouTube is you’ll occasionally run into meditations that just flat out don’t work for you. I have a no BS playlist of some of the best meditations I’ve found so far on YouTube to help you get started.
5. shower meditation
For all my multitaskers out there, this meditation is perfect for you. Meditating in the shower acts as a reset button. Instead of zoning out during your shower, focus on how the water feels and all of the sounds. You can run through your day in the shower, too, identifying where you need to improve and areas your doing well in. It’s also helpful to visualize your stress and anxiety being washed away. By the end of your shower, you’ll not only feel clean, but lighter.
Visualization is by far the most enjoyable form of meditation. It flexes your imagination and creativity muscles as you visualize scenarios in your mind. In many of these meditations, you visualize your ideal future, which can help you make the most of the present moment in order to get there.
One easy way to practice visualization is imagining your ideal day unfolding when you first wake up (that’s your cue!). Or, say you’re stressed about an upcoming date, whether that be an exam, performance, or a big social event, you can visualize that day going well to help relieve that anxiety.
My favorite guided visualization I’ve ever come across is “You Can Manifest Anything,” and it’s a great meditation for beginners. It focuses on building your ideal life, and it definitely is a great way to set your day up for success.
7. spiritual walks & prayer
For all of you who don’t love the idea of seated meditation, you’re in luck. Meditative, spiritual walks can be just as beneficial, if not more. Something about being in nature is incredibly rejuvenating and wonderful. As you go about your walk, notice how beautiful your surroundings are. Simply smile at the thought that God created this all for you to enjoy. Also, you can walk barefoot for grounding benefits.
Another easy way to engage in spiritual meditation is through prayer and conversation with God. Keep in mind while you speak to Him that He hears you and will provide for you. There’s peace in that knowledge that you can’t find elsewhere.
8. breath mindfulness & gratitude
Whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation, remember, you can always refer back to your breath to recenter. There are so many breathing techniques out there that do a multitude of things, from helping you clear your thoughts to giving you a boost of energy. They all utilize mindfulness and focusing on deep breathing.
Gratitude also works as an instant pick me up. Alice Morse Earle said, “every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” Those good things may be difficult to recall, so look small. Sometimes the blessings we’re presented with are smaller than we think.
Both of these types of meditation you can take with you anywhere and are quick to practice for all of my friends out there who are constantly on the go. They’re great for all of you who can get caught up in the craziness of work.
9. body scans
This type of meditation is another mindfulness practice where you identify tension and let it go. Imagine a light going in through the top of your head and flowing all the way down to your toes. Whenever that light passes a body part, relax it. This is perfect for relieving stress and falling asleep in minutes.
additional tips to keep in mind:
- Try the 6 Phase Meditation for a guided meditation that encompasses compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, visualization, and blessing.
- Don’t fret about what to do with your hands. Put them wherever you find them most comfortable.
- If you genuinely don’t have time to meditate, settle for a single minute of deep breathing before bed. This will help you build the habit even though it takes seconds to complete.
- Meditating lying down makes it much easier to focus.
- Your mind will wander, so don’t worry if you find yourself more distracted on certain days. Simply let your thoughts pass.
- Like any other habit, it won’t build itself. Keep at it day after day, and add it to your routine.
Meditation is a great addition to your day, even if you only dedicate a few minutes to it. Once you research the benefits, set your cue, and identify a motivating reward, you’ll be on your way to forming an unbreakable habit. Keep in mind that missing one day is no big deal, but it quickly becomes a big deal if you continue to put it off. Get back on it the next day and you’ll have a habit firmly built in no time.
Also, look forward to more frequent posts coming in the future. I am making an effort to catch up in blog posts by posting consistently twice a week until the end of this year. I’m also working on building a habit, that is consistent writing.
If any of you decide to try out meditating, let me know how it goes! I have only good things to say about it and I know you guys will too. Have a fantastic week.