Meditation instructions may be as simple as “Breathe in, breathe out,” but if you’re finding even that difficult, you’re not alone. Research has shown that even the most experienced meditators have trouble emptying their minds, while those new to the practice struggle with anxiety that they’re not meditating properly, conflicting feelings about how the practice fits into their cultural values, and finding the time and space to make room for this new practice.
Contrary to popular belief, studies show that people who have completed a formal meditation course actually meditate LESS frequently after the fact. And given the current state of the world, not to mention the busy lives that most of us lead, it’s no wonder that people find it hard to make time for meditation or even find the use in doing so. But the good news is that studies also show meditation only takes a few minutes to make a difference in the context of a consistent practice – it’s more about the quality of those few minutes than the quantity of them. And while meditation may seem solitary by nature, there are lots of benefits to the sense of belonging and community that comes from taking a class or practicing with a group. That togetherness that comes from a class centered on wellness is healing in its own right, whether or not meditation is the focus of the class.
However, studies also show that longer and more regular sessions do produce better results, if you can stick to them. Researchers have found that longer meditation sessions produced more positive emotions and mindfulness in participants that same day, suggesting that daily practice really does add up.
Tips To Help You Stick With Meditation
If we think a certain action will improve our lives, we are more likely to take it. Studies have shown that meditation has several health benefits, including boosting happiness, decreasing stress, enhancing well-being, and even warding off headaches. Potentially, the practice can help us be more empathetic and forgiving individuals, which can have positive effects on our relationships and our communities. To stick with your routine, try these tips:
- Meditate with a friend, partner, or group
- Remind yourself why you’re meditating
- Trust the science
- Hold on to the good feelings
Don’t be hard on yourself if you stray from your routine. Every day is a new day to start again. Meditation is beneficial no matter how often you practice.
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