My mom kept urging me to try out a meditation tape, in hopes that it would help ease my anxiety, but I had a preconceived fear that it was going to fail—just like the rest of the coping skills I had tried. I eventually did try it, however, and I still remember the moment I decided. In my quiet bedroom, I turned the meditation DVD on and just listened to the directions while I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew, the man’s voice guided me to open my eyes.
I couldn’t believe the results: I felt calmer and more peaceful than I had in a very long time.
Many people can find a comfortable—if not "traditional"—meditation place that works perfectly for them, whether it be their home, car, or work. Meditation is not governed by a set of rules, but more specifically, a set of beliefs. And no, you do not have to be a pretzel-bending yogi to have a successful and empowering meditation practice.
To keep it realistic, not everyone will have these results immediately. Some people may not even believe that meditation can help you find a peaceful place. From my personal experience, however, I will say that it requires making the practice a habit—not just a one-time thing. Taking up a meditation practice can be daunting, so here are four practical recommendations to help make your meditation practice a successful habit.
1. Start Early
Put on a five minute YouTube video or other recording as soon as you wake up. Your phone is probably sitting right there, so instead of checking Instagram, grab some earbuds and make your way to meditation land. This will help start your day out from a peaceful and grounded place.
2. Set the Mood
Light a candle or some incense. Put on some soothing music. These simple actions will makes you feel somewhat peaceful, and it can certainly set the mood for a meditative state.
3. Let It Flow
Do not worry about having other thoughts, and don't try to empty your mind. It is entirely normal to have many thoughts while you are meditating—that is fine! Do not have a mindset that you are taking nothing from it if you can't slow your thought stream—just allow the thoughts to come in and go as they please. Eventually, with practice, they will settle.
When you've finished meditating, take a long stretch at the end. Stretching your muscles allows you to loosen up and get the blood and breath flowing again. Stretching is a great way to end the practice and start your day. While stretching, bring to mind something that you are grateful for and keep in the back of your mind for the day. Let that thought be your anchor to your meditation, and to your peace.
If your mind is overly active or if you have a hard time focusing and concentrating, you can experiment with chanting a Sanskrit mantra. Mantras are sacred sounds that captivate the mind and make meditation easeful. Mantras also are a great way to set and link your intentions and goals with your meditation practice. You can use a set of meditation mala beads to help you count the mantras in sets of 108.