The key to benefiting from meditation is to make a steady ritual of the practice. Just like every other form of exercise, the more you practice, the more benefits you stand to gain. Runners do not attempt marathons without months of training and weightlifters start with small amounts before working up to the heaviest. Here are some important tips to incorporate meditation into your life in a natural and constructive way.
Scheduling and Spontaneity
The most straightforward way to establish a meditation ritual is to set aside a specific time for your practice. Early in the morning and just before bed are two of the best times for it, as it will charge your brain for the day ahead and unwind it for a restful night. But it does not have to be this way for everyone. That is also why it is important to take advantage of the random windows of time we all get throughout the day. If you find yourself with a slow moment, step away from your surroundings and dig into yourself. The best part about meditation is that you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Recognize Daily Patterns
Going along with scheduling, we all have natural rhythms throughout the day. If you find yourself getting regularly distracted at a particular time of day, make an effort to take that time to meditate. It can be a really rewarding experience to take a short break from work and recharge your brain with some quiet time. Not only will you improve your productivity, but you will also improve your health and sanity.
On the other hand, you should also recognize if the time you’ve set for your meditation is not working out for you. If you find yourself wanting to get back to work or falling asleep, it may be more useful to do either of those things instead of forcing yourself to meditate. Pressing issues will always distract your mind from a state of relaxation and it will be a lose-lose situation if you do not address the concerns of reality before you retreat to find inner peace. Unlike physical forms of exercise, you cannot force progress through repetition alone. Be flexible with yourself, but make a priority to practice.
One of the best ways to make your daily practice more rewarding and constructive is to record the insights and experiences you receive. Writing simple notes about what you felt, the thoughts that came up, and the progress you’ve made will help you recognize the value you are gaining from your daily ritual. The act of writing solidifies thoughts and substantiates the sometimes vague feelings that come to us. Even without writing them down, make a conscious effort to notice changes in your health, thoughts, and feelings. If you spend time thinking about what you have gained from your new habit, it will become clearer why you should continue to practice and go deeper into the exercise.