Last updated November 1, 2023
I’m practically a newbie when it comes to meditation and mindfulness—and am probably the last person who should be sharing tips to cultivate a meditation practice.
Hear me out, though. I started to meditate about a year ago as part of a challenge designed to increase my happiness and build more productive habits while taking Yale’s Science of Well-Being course through Coursera. Wow, that’s a mouthful.
I was initially suspect about jumping on the meditation bandwagon, thinking that meditation means sitting in lotus pose for hours on end and chanting Om.
Boy was I wrong. Meditation is the practice of taming your monkey mind (that unsettled and restless inner voice) and calming your overactive brain.
A meditation practice can be done from anywhere and for any length of time. You can meditate before hopping out of bed in the morning. You can take a mindset reset at your desk during the day. Or you can end your evening with a session before hitting the sack.
The only caveat—which really isn’t a limitation—is that you should practice meditation daily. Because it’s these small habits done every day that create the big shifts in life.
I know myself. And if I don’t take time first thing in the morning, the likelihood of me meditating later in the day is slim to none. My attention span is all over the place. Setting aside time every morning puts things into perspective before the day takes me away.
Ready to cultivate a meditation practice? All it takes is two minutes with these five easy steps.
Anchor yourself in the moment with a few slow deep breaths. It’s up to you whether to close your eyes or leave them open.
Think about one thing that you are grateful for today and ask why this is important to you. Gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. You can say thank you to yourself (good health), to your pet or to an inanimate object (your yoga mat).
This may sound woo-woo, but consider purpose as living a life built on service. Who or what will you serve today and why is this one thing important? Even the act of watering a plant can be construed as service. Be mindful of doing something spontaneous for someone else—you never know when you can show a random act of kindness.
Be kind to yourself. Our internal monologue often muddles our thoughts and actions. Don’t be afraid to say yes; don’t be afraid to say no. Ask yourself what is that one thing you will think or do today that will have a positive consequence and why.
Answer the following question: Today I choose to be [insert answer]. Rinse and repeat. You are now ready to go on your merry old way.
There you have it. Two minutes to cultivate a meditation practice. As I mentioned above, I practice meditation in the morning. My recommendation is to do what works for you at the time that suits you best. Just make it a ritual and part of your daily routine.
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