However, even if you’re already convinced you want to take up a meditation habit, you’re still going to run up against your fair share of challenges — including those excuses. For some pointers, we turned to Ralph De La Rosa, a meditation expert and therapist, for ways to make that habit just a bit easier to build. Get ready: full Zen ahead.
If you’re a total beginner, try an app likeHeadspace, which can be an on-the-go guide to starting mindfulness and breathing exercises — without the commitment (or potential for self-consciousness) of a class.
Other apps might be better for more seasoned meditators looking for specific training. For instance, Happify places meditation in the context of other happiness boosting exercises. And Karmic offers the more free-form experience of calming music on a timer, for however long you want to go. Try out a few of our favorites here.
You’ve probably heard that the “secret” to creating a habit is to do the activity you’re trying to make stick at the same time every day. But, the right time for you to meditate might not be when you wake up — or maybe it is! The only way to know what will feel best is to try it.
Maybe you’ll do your best mindfulness work right before you head to bed, or you’ll need some stress relief in the few minutes you actually get to sit down on the subway.
As time goes on, don’t be afraid to get creative with your timing if you need to.”If I’m too rushed in the morning or if I wake up late, I’ll use my lunch break,” De La Rosa says.
Find Your Mantra
A lot of people have this idea that meditation means completely turning your brain off, but it’s really about being present. Finding a mantra to repeat to yourself during meditation is a great way to stay focused on what you’re doing — rather than the 15 emails waiting in your inbox. Try doing some searching and experimenting to find a phrase that resonates with you. For instance, check out metta meditation, which has you send goodwill to yourself and other people.
Or maybe it’s much simpler than that: “Something that helps me a lot when my mind is busy or I’m overcaffeinated is using the mantra ‘Here,'” says De La Rosa.”You’re just calling the mind to be here.”
If you’re starting with an hour, or even just 15 minutes, it’s easy to get psyched out in the first few moments. De La Rosa’s advice: don’t get too ambitious, too quickly.
“Begin with something totally manageable that you can sustain with some consistency,” he says. “But remember that 10 minutes of meditation a day is a lot more than zero minutes of meditation a day.”