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Establishing a Meditation Routine

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Article by Blue Banyan Meditation Products

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We are all creatures of habit. Consider your typical day. From the time you wake up until the time you crawl back into bed, your day probably consists of a series of steps you go through without much thought or effort – it’s routine. With that said, the following is a look at some things to consider while incorporating your own meditation routine.

The Benefits of Rhythm

Long-term meditation has significant health benefits. Although infrequent meditation still has its place, such as when dealing with a particularly stressful situation, it is regular meditation over the long term that produces the most significant health gains, such as neurological changes, lower blood pressure, improved overall mood, and so on.

Meditation is a skill, and just like any skill, the more you practice, the more proficient you will become. This works in two ways. First, regular practice will make each successive meditation session more beneficial by allowing you to enter deeper meditation more quickly.

Second, it allows you to easily switch into stress management mode when necessary. This works similarly to why professional athletes practice their routines or techniques hundreds or thousands of times, all in preparation for a single event.

In a sense, stress short-circuits the brain. When this happens, cognitive function is impaired, and the brain reacts instinctively. Regular meditation helps by turning those meditation techniques (deep, rhythmic breathing, for example) into an instinctive reaction, rather than something you must choose to do.

Goal-Setting Guidelines

Setting a goal to establish a meditation routine is a great first step in the right direction. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be specific. Specify exactly what you want accomplish. A vague goal, “I want to meditate more”, is much less effective than a specific goal, “I will meditate three times a week for a minimum of 15 minutes.”

  • Be realistic. Set your goal high enough to be beneficial, but not so high that it’s impossible to achieve. Smaller goals that are easier to achieve will also build up your confidence. You can build up from there.

  • Be flexible. Figuring out the routine that will work for you takes time. Set a reasonable goal and get started. If it still seems too high, adjust it. Also, keep in mind that things do happen that are out of your control. If that does happen, don’t worry. The purpose of establishing a routine is for your benefit, not to make you more stressed.

Some Helpful Tips for Getting Started

You understand the benefits of regular meditation, you’ve set some specific, realistic goals. Now, let’s take a look at some additional tips that can help you get the most out of your new meditation routine.

  • Make meditation a priority. Let’s be honest, if meditation isn’t important to you, you probably won’t take the time to do it. Remind yourself of your reasons. If you have to, post sticky notes in obvious places as reminders or set a banner on your smartphone. Be creative.

  • Choose the time that works for you. For some, it’s first thing in the morning. This allows them to get into the right mindset before they get started on their day. Others like to meditate right after work, before they go home to their families. Yet others prefer to meditate before going to bed, allowing them to release the stress of the day before drifting off into sleep. There is no right or wrong time to meditate; the only thing that matters is choosing a time that works for you.

  • Choose a “Plan B”, an alternate time to meditate. If something comes up, you can relax, knowing you already have time set aside later.

  • Choose the right location. You have a kitchen for cooking and a bed for sleeping. Consider creating ameditation space, a place of refuge from all the stress designed to help you get the most out of your meditation.

  • Use triggers. Use other things in your daily routine to “trigger” your memory. For example, think to yourself “coffee equals meditate”, meaning that in your morning routine, after your coffee, head to your meditation space.

  • Get a meditation buddy. This can be a friend to either meditate with you or to stay on you to make sure you’re sticking to your routine.
Overcoming Procrastination

Some of us are experts at procrastinating, creatively coming up with all kinds of reasons or excuses not to do something– “I’m too busy right now, I have chores to do, I should take care of…” The following are some tips to help you to stop procrastinating and get you on your way to reaping the rewards of a healthy meditation routine.

In some senses, we’re like children; if something isn’t fun, we don’t want to do it. Use this to your advantage. Make your meditation sessions enjoyable. Try alternating techniques. For example, Monday could be Yoga, while Wednesday could be Tai Chi. You could even try sipping on a cup of tea while relaxing in a comfortable chair and watching the sun rise one or more days a week. It’s all about what works for you.

Start small. Oftentimes, it’s taking the first step that is the hardest. You’ve probably noticed that it’s harder to force yourself to sit down to meditate than it is to stay seated for fifteen minutes. If this sounds like you, then try tricking yourself. Tell yourself that you’ll just meditate for five minutes or only take a set number of deep breaths. You may notice that after you get started, you’ll want to keep going.

A final note: Many times, other responsibilities can distract us from getting the most out of our meditation. Instead of relaxing, you’re sitting there thinking about how the dishes aren’t done, or that you need to get the kids from school, and so on. If this sounds like you, then try to take care of those things before practicing your meditation.

Meditation can be extremely beneficial, both in the short and long term. Establishing a meditation routine is a great way to help maximize the benefits you gain. By setting the right goals, being flexible, and following some simple tips, you’ll be on your way better health, improved mood, and a more positive, relaxed attitude.

22 Mar 2014

Article/Information supplied by Blue Banyan Meditation Products

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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