Here are the top 13 tips and tricks that I’ve learned during my meditation journey. There are many different schools and styles of meditation, and some of those disciplines may tell you that there is only one way to meditate or proscribe certain rules. If that works, that’s great for you, and there’s a lot to be learned from each style. But whether you are new to meditation, or have been meditating for a while, or even if you follow certain “rules,” these are a few things that I’ve learned along the way that I hope can help you explore and play with your meditation practice.
Meditation is something we do so that we can show up for ourselves and the other people in our lives. It shouldn’t feel rigid or stressful. Experiment! Find what works for you!
1. Designate a daily practice area in your home.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. I meditated in my closet for several months. But if we establish a routine of meditating in the same chair or the same spot on a cushion on the floor, then our brains start to see the chair and the room as cues to start focusing. It will also be a cue to others in the home that they should try not to interrupt you if you are sitting in your meditation space.
2. Keep a meditation journal.
Once you know where you’re going to be meditating, pick a fun notebook or journal and pen. On the first blank page, write down your goals for meditation. What is your goal? Just to sit? To become more focused? To make it a regular practice?
Then, find a way to log your meditations and take notes. I compile a version of a bullet journal calendar in which I write the month across the top and then list the numbered days for the month. Each day that I meditate I fill out how long I meditated and what type of meditation it was. If I have time, I will write a few notes, things that came up for me, or things I noticed during meditation. Insights.
3. Keep a blank page of looseleaf paper nearby.
Keep some paper by you in case something comes up during meditation that is so important that it is interrupting your meditation. Write it down and then let it go once it’s on the page. For instance, if you keep thinking “I forgot I need to call George today. Gosh, I really need to call George. As soon as I get done with this, I will call George.” It’s going to be a bit hard to clear your mind and meditate! Keep a page handy so you can empty your head of those interrupting thoughts without taking away from your meditation.
4. Try different styles of meditation.
Like music, different meditations are suited for different moods, days, or even times of the day. This is where the journal comes in. Try a few different times of day for your meditation, and try different styles. A mantra meditation serves me well on days that I have to meditate in the afternoon, or if I wake up particularly distracted by everything that needs to be done. It helps to focus on a phrase or word that I can repeat, so I am less likely to drift off on my thoughts. A mala can be helpful for those days or times when you might want to do something with your hands. My early morning meditations are normally visualizations or compassion meditations. And if I’m really stressed out about something, I will find a breath or calming meditation.
5. Use technology: apps, timers, etc. to keep you motivated and ready to meditate anywhere.
6. Turn off notifications on your phone.
No really. As soon as you sit down to meditate someone WILL call you. It’s just the way the universe works.
7. Fit it in.
Try to meditate for 15 or 20 minutes, but know that some days it might be 5 or 7 or 10. I have a one-minute meditation bookmarked in the Insight Meditation App that I love. I use it on days that I don’t have space in my day to do anything else, or if I need to clear my head. Meditating requires consistency to really be effective. Try to do it every day, even if some days it’s only a minute or two. Making a point to do it every day will help establish the habit, even if it’s not a “full” meditation.
8. Meditation will feel easier after you’ve done it for a while.
9. You’ll miss meditation if you skip it.
You’ll start to notice when you haven’t meditated recently, or when you are spinning out and need to have a few moments to refocus.
10. You can feel the benefits immediately, but the greatest benefits of meditation show up over time.
11. Meditate on the go.
I’ve meditated in a car, on a boat, in the shower, standing, sitting, laying down, eyes open, eyes closed, on a plane, in a room full of people, you name it. Most recently, I started meditating for a few minutes in the gym after my workout. If you have a few minutes in the car before your next appointment, meditate. Get it in when you can. It’s good practice for being able to be present where you are.
Be flexible with your practice. You can have a preferred method or place for meditation, but recognize that peace of mind and clarity are just a few breaths away, wherever you are.
12. Meditate a few times a day.
No, you don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes each time. But consider taking a few meditative moments or mindful breaths throughout your day.
You may come back to meditation any time you need to clear your head or pull yourself back to the present moment. I like to meditate first thing in the morning, before I look at my to-do list, or feel pressured by the clock. I also like to tune in with a little meditation before I begin writing, or any time I need to clear my mind so I can really focus on a large project. It can also be helpful if you’re feeling frustrated with someone else. Taking a beat to find your breath and clear your head may help you respond more effectively, especially if you’re tempted to shoot off an angry text or fire back a snarky email that you may regret later.
13. Meditate for others.
When I’m really busy, sitting still can feel like a waste of my time, or as if I’m taking time away from others. Especially if I have to sacrifice time with my family to squeeze in my meditation. But there’s another way to look at it. Even though I benefit from meditation, my family members, friends, and collaborators probably benefit even more by my meditation. They get the best version of me. They get the version of me that can respond, rather than simply react. They get the calm, compassionate, less overwhelmed version of me. Really. Ask my husband.
Wishing you a few moments of clarity amidst the chaos,
Have you tried any of these? Let me know how they work for you!
Do you have any questions about meditation? I’d love to help! Leave a comment below or send me an email!