Each of us have parts of our daily routine that help us face the day, let go of stresses, or prepare for life events like exams or job interviews. As humans, we thrive on repetition and predictability and rituals have been part of our experience for thousands of years. Rituals can help us feel grounded and balanced, bringing meaning to uncertainty, reducing anxiety, improving performance and can even boost your immune system. Here are 5 ways to ritualize your meditation practice and give each session meaning beyond sitting quietly still, making it easier to have a clear focus on your intentions and needs.
1. Schedule a time to meditate. I don't need to explain the well known stress reduction benefits of meditation, but the truth is we all have a difficult time prioritizing our well being because of our modern day hectic lifestyles. It's easy to say "I don't have time" or "there's only 24 hours in a day" but we really DO have time. How many hours a day do you spend on your phone, scrolling social feeds, aimlessly looking through emails or watching television? You probably have a suitcase full of other excuses that are completely valid because we all have busy lives. But health is wealth that spills over to all areas of your life. If your health is failing, nothing else matters. Could you spare 5-10 minutes for your health? Habits are created through repetition and although I always recommend a morning meditation to choose your emotional states and intentions for the day, there are a few smart phone apps out there that can help schedule your meditations. A couple I recommend are Headspace where you can customized reminders, alarms, check-ins and meditations. As well as The Mindfulness App which allows users to set reminders to tell you when it’s time to meditate, get mindfulness notices, and find guided meditations that range from 3 to 30 minutes. 2. Create a comfortable space. Make it a ritual space that reminds you to sit just by walking past. So long as you can maintain your attention on your breathing or anywhere else you wish in you energetic body and keep returning your focus, you can meditate in any position you like even laying down as long as you can stay awake. 3. Engage in a physical ritual with intention such as signaling the beginning and the end of your meditation. You can do this by simply lighting and blowing out a candle, using insense, or ringing a bell to signal the beginning and completion of your session. Turning part of your meditation into a ritual not only gives the practice a sense of being official, it creates a sub-conscious success loop just by successfully completing your chosen ritual. And that my friend creates momentum! I light a candle in honour of connecting to my higher self to begin my meditation. At the end I blow out the candle with gratitude and bow from my kneeling position to honour my trust in the universe and myself. 4. Use a technique. Simply sitting still for your meditation might be difficult. I highly suggest you seek out a teacher or coach to train you in an approach to meditation that truly resonates with you. Self education is key, there are many books and online information you can find. If you haven’t yet found a teacher or a technique, I suggest syncing your breath to a silently repeated word or short phrase called a mantra. Your mantra can be any words or short phrase you like. Working with the simple mantra, “Let Go.” On inhale, silently say, “Let” and on the exhale, silently say, “Go.” When you notice your mind wandering, smile and gently direct you attention back to the mantra paired with the breath. 5. Keep a meditation journal. We are all more consistent when we can see our progress. Keeping a meditation journal can help us see patterns and become more aware of ourselves. You can keep track of things that you deem relevant such as how long each session is, feelings that arose during your session, questions or answers that came up, and maybe even rate how focused you felt on a scale of 1-10. I hope you found this useful. As always. Be Love.