You know meditation is good for you. You’ve seen the studies. You know you feel better when you do it. You know all of the positives, yet, it’s still so hard to commit to a daily meditation practice. I know, I’ve been there.
I’m here to share nine tools I’ve personally used, or use still daily, to create a meditation practice that sticks. I’ve been an on and off again meditator since I was in middle school but it wasn’t until I implemented a few simple practices that it became a daily routine for me. Read on to learn my favorite tips.
Entire books are written on this topic, but here are some of the big reasons meditation will rock your world.
- Stress relief: Regular meditation will help you see the bigger picture so you’re not narrowed in on the small stuff.
- Better sleep: Meditation helps soothe your pineal gland, which, among other things, helps you sleep.
- Improves your health: Regular meditation can help lower your blood pressure, improve your immune function, and decrease inflammation.
- Improves your aura (energy field): Meditating raises your energy frequency, which will improve your aura. Meditate regularly, and you’ll start to experience a big shift in your energy frequency and aura.
- Stay in tune with your soul’s purpose: Lost or confused about what to do? Meditation can help clear your mind so you can gain more clarity about the next right move.
Sounds good, right? A regular meditation practice is life-changing, but the key here is regular. Here are nine ways to build a meditation practice that you’ll actually stick to.
9 Ways to Create a Meditation Practice That Actually Sticks
1. Ritual for all five senses
Creating any habit is all about routine and repetition. One effective way to do this is to build rituals around your meditation time. By practicing the same rituals, at the same time, every day, you’ll prime yourself for your meditation practice.
The more of your five senses you can incorporate into your meditation rituals the better, it will help your new habit stick. Here are a few ways to engage your five senses and create a ritual around your meditation practice.
- Sound: Music, gong, singing bowl, or a fountain
- Scent: Essential oils, candles, or incense
- Sight: Salt lamps, candles, colored light, specific time of day, specific room
- Touch: Meditation pillow or blanket, mudras, self-massage
- Taste: Fresh breath right after you brush your teeth in the morning, or a specific herbal tea
Pick and choose what sounds good to you. These meditation rituals can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. The simple act of lighting a candle and rubbing a certain scent on your chest before every meditation can have a powerful effect.
2. Build in time. Something is better than nothing.
“There’s not enough time” is probably the #1 killer of most meditation practices. Like any new habit, it’s all about building in the time for it. The good news is, you don’t need much time to build a meditation practice, just 5-15 minutes a day will have a positive effect on your day.
The key, plan ahead. Take an honest look at the schedule of your day, and decide where the best place is to add in 10-15 minutes of quiet meditation time. When you’re just getting started try setting a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
Five minutes of meditation in your car is better than no meditation and will help solidify your meditation practice.
3. Create a space
A room, a corner of a room, or a simple seat will do. Designating a specific spot for your meditation time will help you stay on track. You know exactly where you need to go and have a spot for any meditation ritual elements you’re incorporating.
A space with minimal distractions is ideal but any dedicated space is better than no space.
4. Be OK with distractions
Distractions are part of life and will most likely make an appearance during your meditation time at some point. Whether it’s a pet, child, loved one, or a noisy work crew outside your house, expect them, accept them, and then move right back to your meditation.
5. Use a timer and start small
It can be difficult to get in the zone while you’re meditating if you’re spending the entire time wondering how long you’ve been meditating. Set a timer on your phone so you don’t have to wonder.
Starting out, set your timer for just 5 minutes and work your way up from there. Once you find that you’re naturally ready to sit for longer than 5 minutes, up your time by a couple of minutes. Do this for six months and you might be surprised by how long you can sit in quiet meditation.
If your mind goes a mile a minute the moment you sit down, try some pranayama to help you drop into your meditation. Many of us are stuck in fight or flight mode constantly and flipping the switch to relax can seem impossible. Starting your meditation with some simple breathing exercises can help set the tone for your meditation.
Try either of these breathing techniques to help queue your body to relax:
As you inhale, feel the air filling the lowest part of your belly, the middle part of the torso (just below your heart center), and then your chest. As you exhale let the air out in the reverse order, feel the air leave your chest, just underneath your chest, and out your lower belly. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
Alternate nostril breathing
Using your thumb and your ring finger, close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly through your left nostril. Cover your left nostril with your ring finger, release your thumb from the right nostril, and exhale. Repeat this on the other side starting with inhaling through your right nostril. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
7. Use guided meditations
If pranayama isn’t your jam, or you need some extra guidance to stay in the meditation zone try using guided meditations. There are several podcasts and free apps available with great guided meditations, you can also find several online. Here are some that I’ve used that are all great places to start:
- Meditation Oasis Podcast (Free and my favorite!)
- Meditation Minis Podcast (Free)
- Headspace App (Free and paid options)
- My guided meditations bundles for energy balancing, moon phases, Wheel of the Year, and Spirit Guides. Here you can download my free waning moon meditation.
8. Accountability Buddy or a Meditation Challenge
Using the momentum of a group or working with a meditation accountability partner can help you seal the deal for your meditation routine and keep you on track. Have a soul sister who’s trying to build a meditation practice too? Make a plan to touch base with each other every day once you’ve meditated.
9. Allow yourself cheat days
Things will come up, and you’ll probably miss some days. Instead of letting this be a reason to beat yourself up or stop meditating all together allow yourself a cheat day once a week. That way, if you have a crazy day that gets away from you (which will probably happen at some point!), you’ve got an easy out that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
Ditched your meditation practice? Start with self-love, no need to beat yourself up over it, then come on back to this list to find some motivation to get started again. Your mind, body, soul, and fellow humans will thank you for it.
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.