I’ll be honest — I’ve tried meditation on and off for the last two years, but I never found a way to make it stick in my daily routine until now.
It’s a taxing ordeal to develop any type of habit, but I’m confident my methods can serve even the most lazy people.
Now, there’s a linty of benefits to meditation, and they only become more prevalent as you progress in the practice. The key benefit for me was finding where I carried my stress. These stress areas include the tightening of the jaw, clench hands, restless legs … the list goes on.
For me, it was the tightening of the jaw. After developing this routine, I became so attuned to my own body that I can now catch myself starting to stress and combat it before it takes hold.
Below you’ll find the five steps you’ll need to make meditation part of your day.
1. Find a guide
One of the most valuable courses I enrolled in at school was a stress reduction class — I forget the fancy academic title they gave it. We covered the spectrum of mindfulness, positive thinking, and meditation. Being a New Yorker, I came in with a skeptical eye at first, but after we did our first guided meditation those thoughts were gone.
Having a guide is something I’ve found to be incredibly valuable, especially for a novice. It allows you stay focused and concentrate on your breathing, which greatly affects your mental and physical state.
Breathing is the single more important controller of stress.
Want to see? Right now, take one deep breath through your nose until you fill your chest… hold it for 2 seconds… now breath out of your mouth slowly. Repeat this five times. Come on do it, no one’s watching.
How did that go? Feels great, right?
Anyway, my professor was great at conducting guided meditation, but since then, I’ve tried to find a similar level of quality. There are a lot of subpar guides out on the web, but what I’ve found to work for me is an app called Calm. It offers guided meditations in 2 to 20 minute sessions.
2. Test what works
Guided meditation is a great introduction to the act; however, it may not be for you. There are dozens of different types of meditation. I’ve tried several different styles over the last two years, and I concluded that simple guided meditation that makes my routine work — primarily because the guide does the heavy lifting for you.
3. Craft a 10-minute routine
Everyone has 10 minutes to spare in their day. Find a time of day that works best for you; doing this in the morning, right before you leave for work is ideal. Sit in a chair so you don’t risk falling back asleep and miss work.
When you complete your session, try and carry that peace with you for the rest of the day. This will help you stay at ease during the daily office stresses.
4. Ignore the days you miss
No matter how determined you are, there will be days you miss. It happens. Don’t let it get you down, just pick up right where you left off.
5. Remember to breathe
Any time you feel that unfriendly wave of anxiety approaching, just take slow, deep breaths and think about where you hold stress in your body. Find that area and release it with your breath. Just remember, what we perceive to be awful seldom is.