You've read about the benefits. You know all about unlikely meditators like CEOs and Fortune 500 Companies who are incorporating mindfulness due to its scientifically based results. Now you just need to practice.
Here are my top 5 tips to helping you begin a meditation practice:
1) FIND YOUR WHY
What is motivating you? When we begin any new practice or habit it's helpful to remember our why. Perhaps you are meditating in to improve your health, to manage stress or to simply enjoy life more fully on a day to day basis. There are many reasons why you might begin a practice, but it's helpful to connect to your own unique personal motivation.
2) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Where will you practice? Find a consistent place in your home that will serve as your meditation space. Could be a spare room, or even the space beside your bed. Where are you least likely to be interuppted? Is there an area of your house that is quieter than others? Decide on the space you'll use and then set it up for success. Will you sit on the floor on a cushion or would you prefer a chair? Perhaps lying down is better for your body - bring what you will need into that space so it is ready when you are.
3) YOU NEED HELP!
From apps to books to public classes in your area -- check out resources that can help you continue to learn and be inspired. Drop-in meditation is available in Banff, Calgary and Edmonton for those Albertans. If you're from elsewhere, do a quick google to see what's available where you live.
Our phones can easily be a source of distraction, but also offer some great apps we can use to enhance our practice. My faves are Insight Timer, Headspace, 10% Happier and Aura. They offer a range of guided meditations as well as silent timers to practice on your own with.
I've included a short list of some of my favourite mindfulness books at the bottom of this article. **
4) USE SCIENCE TO HELP YOU SUCCEED!
Behaviour change science that is! When we create a new habit it helps to anchor it to something we already do in our day. Perhaps you could meditate immediately after you wake, or brush your teeth. Since those actions are already habits, they act as a reminder to start our meditation practice. You could meditate as you make your morning coffee, or right before you sit down to have your lunch. Any existing habit will do. Try to be consistent with your timing day to day.
Another suggestion when starting a new habit is to make it so easy you can't say no. For example; if you wanted to start flossing, you begin by flossing one tooth/day. It's so simple you can't avoid it. This might mean beginning with just 1 minute of meditation per day. Start small and slowly increase to work up to your ideal performance level.
5) TRY EASY
Our practice should have an atmosphere of being kind to ourselves. Don't let your meditation practice be one more area of your life that you can criticize yourself about. Be grateful when you make time for practice, and if you miss a day here and there, no need to beat yourself up -- just get back on the wagon the next day. Remember: what you practice grows stronger, so if you practice judgement and criticism of yourself, you'll get better at doing just that. Wouldn't it be nicer to practice kindness and compassion?
**Wherever you go, There you are - Jon Kabat-Zinn; Full Catastrophe Living - Jon Kabat-Zinn; Real Happiness - Sharon Salzberg; 10% Happier - Dan Harris; Peace is Every Step - Thich Nhat Hanh; Buddha's Brain - Rick Hanson; Waking Up - Sam Harris;