Meditation is a natural stress reliever. This ancient practice is used by people all over the world everyday because it gives them time to clear their minds and focus on being present. Perhaps now more than ever it’s important to simply live in the moment instead of constantly being glued to our technology.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to start a mediation practice. Just a few minutes every day can make a big difference in your stress levels and your outlook on life. So let’s get started!
Micro-Habit Mindset: Get Prepared
“Before taking action on any habit (new or old), first plan to prepare.”Danielle Atcheson, NBC-HWC, CHN
A key to making any habit change is to first get prepared. This seemingly small step of planning and preparing before taking action is really the key to creating lasting habit change. So before you start taking action on any habit (new or old), first plan to prepare.
How does one “prepare” for meditation? Before you get started, I recommend setting yourself up for success with some meditation tools and pick out a few audio meditations that you like ahead of time.
Find a Meditation that You Like
This one may sound obvious, but the last thing you want to do is decide to do a meditation for a few minutes, but then spend another 25 minutes trying to find one that you like. Recorded audio meditations can widely vary – from voice and length, to style of imagery. So first do some due diligence and find a meditation or two that you resonate with that can be your go-to during your mindfulness breaks.
Here are some resources to get your started.
Free Meditation Resources
Who doesn’t like free? There are a ton of free mediation resources available on the internet. You’ll just need to spend a few minutes searching “guided meditation” on Google and YouTube to find a few that you like.
There are also a lot of podcasts focused on mediation. Search your favorite podcast provider, listen to a few options, and subscribe to one that you like.
Here are some free meditations to get you started:
- Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton (Podcast – I listen to this one via Spotify)
- Managing stress, anxiety, and overwhelm during COVID, free meditations from Headspace
- Goodful Meditation Playlist (YouTube)
Meditation Apps to Try
If you’re eager to get started and are ready to make an investment ranging from $6 to $15/month, then apps like Calm, Headspace, Aura, and Simple Habit, are highly rated for getting your 5-minutes of meditation in. Many of these apps have a trial period so recommend trying them out before committing to any one app.
TIP: Before you buy any meditation apps, first see if your health insurance, employer, or credit card offers you a free or discounted meditation app. Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente and American Express recently launched Calm for free to their members.
Oprah Magazine curated this top 10 list of mediation apps for 2020 that’s worth checking out if ready to invest.
Additional Tools for Success
Once you have a few meditations saved or an app purchased, you should be ready to start meditating. However, incorporating some additional tools can help level up this new habit for you.
- Headphones. When the audio is closer to you, it can help you connect and get in the zone with it. I find that even just the act of putting headphones in my ears makes me calmer and ready for what’s next.
- Eye Mask. When just beginning to meditate, it can be helpful to block out the light and other distractions by using an eye mask. If you find yourself getting too distracted by light when your eyes are closed, try using an eye mask. I prefer the eye masks with gentle cupping like this one as it won’t leave marks or mess with my hair or eye makeup.
- Floor Cushion. You can easily do your meditation right at your desk or on your couch, but there’s something about having a dedicated space that really helps get you into the zone. Using a meditation cushion can help you create a place of calm in your office or home. I like this one because it’s made of sustainable cotton and filled with eco-friendly buckwheat.
Micro-Habit Mindset: Schedule It
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”Stephen Covey
Now that you’ve prepared by selecting a meditation or two and gotten some tools to help support you, it’s now time to make it real. You make it real by scheduling it in your calendar.
You should schedule your meditation just like you would with an important meeting or engagement. And I know it sounds silly to schedule a 5-minute break into your calendar, but trust me on this one, if it’s not on your schedule, the chances of it getting done dramatically decrease. As Stephen Covey once said, “Schedule your priorities.”
Look at where it would make the most sense for you to add a few minutes of mediation into your routine. Is right after you wake up a good time for you? Or maybe it’s after your shower and before you start your workday? How about adding it into your lunch break?
Pick a time, schedule it into your calendar, and then…. actually take a break at that time.
Micro-Habit Mindset: Track & Assess
Okay, so let’s say you decided on 10:30a every day as a good time for your 5-minute mindfulness break. It’s in your schedule.
It’s now 10:30a. Are you putting your headphones in and opening up your new meditation podcast? Or did you just snooze the reminder and tell yourself that you’ll do it later?
The Micro-Habit Mindset is all about incorporating habits into our routine that soon become part of our day and who we are. They don’t take a lot of thinking or effort, they should just flow. If you took a break at 10:30a today like you said you would, Congratulations, you’re starting a new habit!
But if 10:30a came by and you decided that you couldn’t do it or would do it later, then it’s important to do a gut check of why.
Was the time you selected on paper not a good time for you in reality? Did you not feel prepared enough when 10:30a came around?
Assess and track how often you’re able to keep this micro-commitment to yourself. After a week, look back at your progress and identify what’s working, what’s not, and make tweaks for next week. Maybe 10:30a only works for you on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or you see that first thing in the morning before your shower would be a better time.
Make Meditation a Micro-Habit
Keep assessing, tracking, and tweaking until you’re able to complete this micro-habit consistently. Soon this 5-minute mindfulness break will become a part of your lifestyle and will be a part of who you are.
My 5-Minute Meditation
Before I go, I want to leave you with my favorite go-to meditation for taking a 5-minute mindfulness break. I like to listen to this one before lunch and after I do my 5-minute desk exercise. Enjoy!
Micro-Habit Mindset: Share Your Wins
Are you inspired to add a 5-minute meditation break to your day? What awesome meditation podcast or video did you find for yourself? Share with us in the comments below.