Build a Daily Meditation Habit

Daily meditation — even for just a few minutes — can have a majorly positive impact on your health. Not only does meditating calm your mind, but it can actually improve your physical health, too.

Got 5 minutes? Close your eyes and say om!

Health Benefits of Daily Meditation

Meditation can seem hokey. Is it just people sitting around with their eyes closed?? In reality, it’s a scientifically backed practice that can improve your health in many ways. Its cognitive benefits include:

  • decreased anxiety
  • increased ability to cope with stress
  • improved mood

And the following physical benefits:

  • better/more sleep
  • decreased fatigue
  • may reduce blood pressure
  • improve overall quality of life for those with cancer

While it is isn’t a magical cure-all for any disease, it’s free, it’s low-risk, and it’s still being studied for more possible positive outcomes. (source) Basically, what do you have to lose?

But How Do I Meditate?

If you don’t normally meditate and you have a busy brain, it can be hard to shut down at first. Like anything else worth accomplishing, daily meditation requires practice. Here are some tips for first-time practitioners.

  • Don’t make it a big production. You don’t need a special pillow or a dedicated space. You can meditate anywhere, including on your commute (as long as you’re not the driver!). The white noise of daily life can be a totally fine soundtrack for meditation.
  • Clear your mind. Or don’t. You also don’t need to pressure yourself to have an empty brain. Acknowledge any thoughts you have and let them float away. This technique is called “noting.”
  • Follow a guided meditation. It can be more beginner-friendly than trying to clear your mind on your own.
  • Count your breaths. It’s a simple trick for keeping you at the moment.

Building a Daily Meditation Practice

Are you sold? Then let’s start building a daily practice! Please remember that there is no “right” way to do this — just a way that is right for you. Take these tips and use what works for you.

  • Meditate first thing in the morning. That prevents you from putting it off and never getting it done.
  • Set goals for yourself. Commit to a certain number of minutes a day, even if it’s only two! See how you feel after a week and increase the time if you are ready.
  • Try to hit a streak. Basically, just keep going!
  • Always be kind and loving toward yourself. Meditation is about exploration, not about judgment. If you miss a day, just pick it back up the next day. If you are having trouble focusing, no worries! Daily meditation is a time to enhance your life, not add stress to it.

Tips above are courtesy of Headspace and Zen Habits.

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