Monday, April 23, 2012

How to make meditation a habit

We all know about the beneficial effects on our health and lives of meditation. Just yesterday, I came across this article, which shows that mindful meditation is also one of the unexpected treatments for depression.

I've been practicing meditation on and of over the past few years, but I find it extremely hard to make the habit stick, even though I write it as an item on my to do list to remind me to make time for it.

When I get busy, I don't meditate because I can't find the right time for it.
When I get stressed, I don't meditate because I have other things on my mind.
When I am traveling, I don't meditate because I can't find the right place.
When I am tired, I don't meditate because I just want to sleep.

And then I came across this lifesaver from Zen Habits: "How to Meditate Daily." This article inspired me to start cultivating my habit of meditation in my own way.

First, I started analyzing why I can't make it a habit - and I found that I need a set time.

I've been practicing at night, right before going to sleep - but whenever I have a good book, I keep reading late and then realize I need to sleep right away if I don't want to be too much of a zombie the next day.
I've thought of practicing first thing in the morning, but I know that when I roll out of bed, I just want to get going to my office and start the day.

And thus, I realized that the best time for me, is right when I come home. So far, it is working like a charm. The advantages of meditating upon coming home are the following:
- I clearly mark the end of the day. It's time to refresh my mind now such that I can continue working tomorrow (or in a few hours, when I decide to work at home a few more hours).
- Usually I do some brain-dead things upon getting home, like surfing around news websites - but certainly mindful meditation is a much more powerful way to relax.


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