4 Steps to Creating a Daily Meditation Practice
''it’s totally accessible to everyone, and it’s even possible to create your own personal practice to suit you and your life'' - by Leila Wright
It’s hard to believe that meditation, and mindfulness (which is a form of meditation), has been around for thousands of years, yet only now are we really starting to understand the benefits and begin to incorporate it into our daily lives. Before it made its way to the Western world, meditation had long been a fundamental practice in Buddhism to train the mind into adopting a more positive perspective – so that humans could live a more meaningful, balanced and peaceful life.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation brings ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~ Buddha
Meditation practice has previously been advertised in a way that has suggested that it’s only for the hippy, spiritual types, but I disagree entirely. I think it’s totally accessible to everyone and it’s even possible to create your own personal practice to suit you and your life.
Are you interested in finding out how you can start to create a more fulfilling life for yourself and let go of those negative thoughts that naturally override your conscious mind every day?
Find your own practice
First things first, there is no right or wrong way to practice meditation. If you’ve read things before that have put fear in your mind, take them with a pinch of salt. Meditation practice is ultimately about recognising and being aware of the habits of your mind and transforming feelings like anxiety, sadness and anger into a more balanced state – so that you can see things in a much calmer and truer nature. How you choose to do that, is entirely up to you.
Your practice can be anything you want it to be, as long as you are taking the time out to bring your mind to the present moment, while gently encouraging the more negative thoughts to dissipate so that you can make room for more positive ones.
Create a calming space
The beauty of meditation is that it can be practiced anywhere. The sky is the limit as to where you can practice, but you do need to be in a comfortable position and able to ignore what’s going on around you, if you want to get the most out of it. Two of the best places to practice meditation are by the coast or on a mountain top, because you are surrounded by nature and calmness rather than the bustle of everyday life - but that’s more of a special occasion meditation practice. Unless you happen to live right by the coast!
If you are new to meditation then you might want to start at home, where you’ll be uninterrupted and more likely to focus your mind. You might find that you enjoy practicing meditation when you first wake up and/or before you go to sleep so, depending on when you prefer to meditate, a home practice could be important to you. Creating a calming environment will always encourage you to practice, so you might want to diffuse some mood-enhancing essential oils to aid your meditation.
Use guidance to help you
Once you’ve found a routine with your meditation practice you may find that you prefer to sit in silence or listen to specific music, but if you’re unsure to start with then there are thousands of YouTube meditation videos available to listen to that will help to guide your mind into the present moment. It’s very easy for your mind to wander when trying to meditate, so a voice to listen to and prompts to follow will help to avoid any distractions.
Headspace is another great tool - a renowned app (one of the first, in fact) that was created with scientific help to encourage people to start meditation. There are also some excellent meditation podcasts available that are aimed at beginners, and will help you to slowly build up your practice.
Guided meditations are created by experts, so they really know the tools and techniques needed to successfully meditate!
Continue to learn new techniques
Meditation practice isn’t something you grasp, and that’s it. You will have days when you struggle to find your focus and you’ll have days when you have a mind-blowing experience that leaves you full of energy. When you’re struggling, you might want to research new techniques to help you get back into the zone again so that you don’t lose touch of your daily practice.
Many people give up on meditation because they don’t think it works for them, but it can and does work for everyone if you are willing to invest your time and put in the effort. There are always new developments with meditation and there are so many resources available online and in books that will both inspire you to stick with and deepen your practice.
What are the benefits?
One of the biggest benefits of meditation, is that it’s been proven to be extremely effective in helping people overcome conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress or lack of self-confidence. Our minds are incredibly powerful machines and are very good at naturally drawing us to the negative in our life, when really there is so much for us to smile about.
There are many external factors that affect how we think and feel, and meditation practice acts as an important tool for taking the mind inwards and finding balance amongst the chaos. Every person deserves to live the life they dream of, so if you feel like things are holding you back then meditation could transform your life!
Leila Wright is a freelance writer and blogger, with a passion for creating a positive impact on mental health and the environment.