We are all familiar with the effectiveness of meditation. Despite that, many beginners find it difficult to practice meditation regularly. You get restless, you feel like you can’t focus, or you never get around to practicing in the first place. Just like learning any other skill, there’s bits of advice you can pull from to help you meditate effectively and regularly. That’s why we put together this list of meditation tips.
These 8 tips aim to eliminate the obstacles that hamper your meditation sessions. Using this guide, you can create a meditation routine and increase the level of focus of every session. Some of these you may have heard already but haven’t internalized yet. Others may be new to you. The important thing is you don’t need to implement all of these tips at once. Choose the ones that resonate with you and start there.
8 meditation tips to help you develop and stick to a regular practice
1. Stick to morning meditation
The first question most beginners have is “when’s the best time to meditate?”
While there’s no real “best time” to meditate, the morning is usually a good time for most people.
The numerous advantages of sticking to a morning meditation schedule include:
The hustle and bustle of your morning schedule can distract you easily. However, right after waking up, the mind is comparatively calmer. Such a mental state makes it easy to stick to the entire meditation session and have a focused practice.
Get it done with
Whether it’s the gym, yoga, or meditation, we often tend to procrastinate. According to author Brian Tracy, you need to complete the tasks that you procrastinate first in the morning. He calls this technique, “Eat That Frog.” Frog refers to the unpleasant task that you procrastinate often. Eating that frog in the morning allows you to complete the task without procrastination. This isn’t just a meditation tip, it’s a life tip!
Improve your day ahead
Meditation can help you think better. Your organizational skills and energy levels can improve. Also, a morning meditation session can provide you with benefits throughout the day.
To top it all off, sticking to a morning meditation session ensures that you get it done daily. You’re not wrestling to make time later or convincing yourself you need to meditate. You just meditate and get it out of the way. This is one of the best ways to ensure you practice meditation daily.
2. Take it 2 minutes at a time
Imagine someone asks you to meditate for 2 minutes. Would you do it?
In all likelihood, you would.
Now, imagine another scenario where you have to meditate for 40 minutes. We are talking about the entire session.
You would find that difficult. You might do it once in a while, but sticking to a 40-minute session regularly is tough.
Many beginners suffer from this problem. The solution is to start with shorter sessions. Even sessions of 2 minutes would do. However, you should try to increase the duration by 2 minutes every day. On the first day, you have to meditate for 2 minutes, the second day for 4 minutes and so on. This helps you build up to longer sessions.
A session of 2 minutes is the path of least resistance. Once you get the hang of it, even a session of 4 minutes or 6 minutes will not seem difficult. Progressing along the way, using these short increments, will help you meditate regularly.
Within a few weeks, you would reach that 40-minute mark. Don’t overwhelm yourself with long meditation practices if you’re inexperienced. It’s much better to have a focused 5-minute practice than a 40-minute practice where you’re just sitting there thinking the entire time.
3. Stick to your natural breathing pattern
The central idea of mindfulness meditation is to place your attention on your breath. The problem is, once you do so, you become more conscious of your breathing pattern. In turn, individuals try to correct their breathing patterns. The feeling of having a wrong breathing pattern is too familiar.
Correcting your breathing pattern rather than focusing on it will make you anxious and uncomfortable. The outcome is precisely the opposite of what you intend to achieve. Let go of any attempts to change the breath. We’re just watching the breath.
Breathe naturally and focus on your natural breathing pattern and relax. There is no need for any correction or modification.
Executing this single meditation tip alone will reduce anxiety and stress that floats up during meditation. In some cases, this might be easier than it sounds. If you find you can’t help but adjust your breath, hit the reset button. Re-adjust your seating positions, take a few deep breaths, let the breath return to normal, and watch the breath.
4. Count your breaths
Do you find it difficult to focus and concentrate throughout the meditation session?
Wandering thoughts is a widespread phenomenon while meditating. You’re not alone experiencing this problem. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to ensure you’re able to maintain your attention on the breath for longer periods of time.
We do this by counting breaths.
Breath counting makes it easier to leave your attention on your breath. The process is simple. When you watch the in-breath, count 1. When you watch the out-breath, count 2. Continue to count until you reach 10, and start over.
If your mind wanders or you lose count, simply start the count over. This will help you anchor your attention and it’s a great technique for new-comers.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself
It’s ok to get distracted; it takes time. You are aiming to relax, not to be upset with yourself.
Not all of your meditation sessions will be perfect. Instead of being hard on yourself, you have to take it in your stride. Understand that this is normal and part of the process. The mind wandering and getting lost in thought is part of the practice.
Meditation tip: the goal should be to improve with each session. If you’re hard on yourself, every meditation session would seem like a failure in hindsight. Soon enough, there would be no motivation left. Amidst all this negativity, you wouldn’t derive the positive benefits of meditation either. You would end up stressing yourself rather than relaxing yourself.
If you suffer from this problem or want to avoid it, improving every session would help.
The goals for each session shouldn’t be things like “don’t get distracted.” The goal instead, should be:
- Get distracted less number of times
- Attempt to count breaths more consistently
Sticking to goals such as these creates a feeling of positivity and progress. Extracting positive benefits from each session is possible. Even short sessions will fill you up with positivity and relax you. These continuous improvements will help you experience the actual benefits of meditation.
6. Keep your stomach empty
Do you struggle to not fall asleep while meditating?
If yes, the answer is to meditate on an empty stomach. Doing so eliminates the chance of dozing off.
If you’re searching for an alternative, you should try to meditate only after 2 hours of having a meal.
The tip helps to avoid feelings of fatigue or exhaustion during the session.
Meditating on an empty stomach or 2 hours after meals also ensures that you are in the alert state during meditation. It’ll help you achieve mindfulness. Working with your thoughts also becomes more manageable. Choosing the right time for meditation with respect to meals can provide multi-pronged benefits.
7. Create the right environment
Meditation can become uphill if the environment around you is not right. Moreover, while starting, most individuals don’t even know how the environment around them should be. Consequently, they ignore the ambiance and surroundings. Doing so can hamper the process of meditation. A simple meditation tip is that the wrong environment can distract you. Even if you somehow manage to complete your session, it would be one plagued by distractions. That’s why it’s important to consider a “meditation room” or space dedicated to your practice.
To create the right environment, you need to find the answers to some pertinent questions like:
- Where should I meditate?
- Is it necessary to meditate at the same place always?
- What are things to stay away from during meditation?
The meditation environment should be quiet and comfortable. Gadgets and other sources of interruptions should be away from you. As for the meditation posture, you have to ensure that your spine is erect. Other than that, you can be in a relaxed position. Preferably, you should meditate at the same place daily. Familiarity with the surrounding relaxes oneself.
The question which then arises is, where would I get such an environment?
You have to create it!
The night before the morning session, you have to keep your gadgets in another room. You have to eliminate any sources of sound or disturbance. Also, instruct and inform your family members not to disturb you during your morning session. Once you follow this template a few times, it becomes a habit. You will not have to design such an environment again and again.
So, sticking to the right environment for meditation is not a difficult task. The right environment also makes the process more enjoyable.
8. Use a guided meditation app
Still feeling lost?
If so, choose from one of the best meditation apps available to help you out. These can walk you through the process of many types of meditation practices. Sticking to such a program can make it easy for you to meditate. It can help you through the difficult starting phase. Developing the right techniques and sticking to them becomes more natural with a guide.
Moreover, you get a meditation teacher to answer all your queries and questions. Knowing the science and answers behind your questions can make you more confident about meditation. You don’t need to go on a meditation retreat, either. A meditation app like Declutter The Mind educates you, guides you, and keeps you accountable.
Implement these tips and start meditating
Whether you are finding it challenging to stick to regular meditation sessions or unable to focus during the same, our 8 meditation tips can help you out. The carefully curated meditation tips above can help you experience the real benefits of meditation. It is time to use this excellent technique to your advantage rather than get overwhelmed by the entire process.