Meditation has so many benefits, from stress relief, to improved concentration, to an increase in overall happiness. The benefits are more than just psychological: Practicing meditation actually improves both our physical and emotional responses to stress, decreasing blood pressure and improving the immune system.
That’s why we encourage everyone we encounter, from the communities we work with to our friends and families, to practice meditation. That said, we recognize that, for some, the idea of taking time out of a busy day to meditate sounds unrealistic or, worse, stress inducing. As a result, they may have a hard time making meditation practice stick.
For those of you who feel that way, perhaps what you need is to rethink what meditation looks like for you. Rather than thinking of it as a predetermined practice that takes a certain form, you can decide how meditation can best fit into your own life.
We were particularly inspired by this woman’s meditation journey. After trying various guided meditation apps and gadgets, she still found it difficult to make her meditation practice a part of her ongoing routine. Finally, on a vacation in which she felt particularly tense, she tried simply breathing intentionally while on a walk. A few simple breaths made her feel more relaxed and calm, and she realized that by unintentionally taking a break to breathe, she was practicing a form of meditation that worked for her. Here’s her advice:
I'd like this to be a gateway drug to a regular meditation practice, but regardless of whether it becomes that, I've decided that twice a day, I'm simply going to count out 50 breaths. Try it yourself: Start with ten, even. Make sure they're good, deep breaths. Do it on the subway or in the car or bathroom, if you have to. It helps. Breathing is the cornerstone of "real" meditation, after all.
How do you meditate, and what are your best tips for making sure your routine sticks? Share with us in the comments below, or on social (Facebook or Twitter)!
If you’re interested in practicing meditation, but don’t know where to start, here’s our advice.