50 Must-Have Meditation Tips

I get it. Meditation isn’t always easy. You don’t always have time for it. And maybe you just suck at it. I get it, really I do.  

Even though now meditation is something I can do easy peasy {mostly} I used to struggle like you wouldn’t believe with just getting my head to shut up long enough to get a few quiet breaths in.  Spoiler Alert! You’ll never get your head to shut up. Not truly.

Here’s the thing though – we need meditation. Your excuses and past experiences don’t matter. It’s time to hack it, try something different, and just practice! 

The number of benefits to meditation are massive. You’ve heard them all by now I’m sure:

  • stress reduction
  • lower blood pressure
  • better focus
  • better ability to handle high-pressure situations
  • immunity system boost
  • reduction in negative emotions
  • better relationships
  • developed intuition
  • better nervous system function
  • better chances of avoiding heart disease

And that’s just scratching the surface {check out this list of 100 meditation benefits}.  If you can get all this and more from just sitting there doing nothing, why wouldn’t you make this a priority in your life!

Meditation is simply the practice of maintaining a sense of peace and mental calmness for a period of time. It is not about having no thoughts. To try and empty the mind completely is a waste of time and it defeats the true purpose of mediation. All you need to do is simply let those thoughts come and go. You can’t control the fact that they pop up but you can control hold you react or hang on to them.

So I have for you 50 tips, some super quick and simple and a few a little more involved, to help you make it happen:

  • Listen to chants or kirtans. {Deva Premal and Krishna Das are my favs!}
  • Let the noise around you be like natural music rather than a distraction.
  • Don’t close your eyes.
  • Keep a soft gaze on a candle flame.
  • Count your breaths to keep your left brain busy {count 1 on an inhale, 2 on an exhale, and so on up to 10 then start again}.
  • Stretch first so your body is loose, just like before any exercise you do.
  • Have a purpose for your meditation. {just being quite is a purpose!}
  • Make it a ritual.
  • Try different meditation techniques from different traditions + cultures.
  • Commit to start with 10 days of meditation without skipping a day.
  • Use guided meditations.
  • Meditate when everyone else in the house is asleep or out.
  • Meditate before you get out bed in the morning.
  • Meditate at the same time every day.
  • Use mala beads.
  • Sit quietly and just mentally list what you’re grateful for that day. {hey, that’s mediation!}
  • Stop meditating when it feels like it’s time regardless of what the clock says.
  • You only need a few minutes a day {5-10 is perfect}, not hours.
  • If you have a scratch, scratch it!  It’s more distracting to try to ignore it.
  • Start where you are with just 2-3 minutes a day – that’s better than no minutes a day!
  • Do activities that let your mind wonder like looking out the windows at clouds floating.
  • Write down all your thoughts, frustrations, and to-do’s on a piece of paper so you can get it out of your head before sitting down to meditate.
  • Mediation has no true beginning or end so don’t worry about the destination and focus on the journey.
  • Adjust your posture when you start – if you can’t comfortably take a deep breath, shift.
  • The mind is always changing so your meditation practice will always change – some days will be harder than others.
  • The mind is meant to think so give yourself a few minutes every time to just let the mind do what it wants.
  • Practice with consistency is the only way it will get easier.
  • It’s OK to just sit there – just sitting there and being focused on that alone creates an intentioned focus.
  • Keep a journal handy to write down your Ah-Ha’s and your Ah Crap’s – then work to fix the Ah Crap moments.
  • Keep track of your excuses and then stop making them!
  • Do a mediation challenge with a friend – hold each other accountable.
  • Be realistic and honest with yourself about why you’re doing meditation – what are you looking for?
  • Don’t judge your meditation – no meditation is good or bad – you get what you need each time.
  • Turn off and drop out – shut down computers, phones, and anything that can distract you and pull you out of your meditation and back to the daily grind.
  • Don’t start off with your eyes closed – after getting settled and doing some breathing let your eyes close naturally.
  • Make use of the “me time” that you already have – meditate in the shower, on our lunch break, or while you’re walking the dog.
  • Your mind will wonder and you will start to think – acknowledge when this happens and then turn your attention back to your breath, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Begin being more present and in the moment in your every daily life {you know, not trying to be a multitasking master} – this will help your meditation practice.
  • Make sure you’re sitting somewhere that you are completely safe.
  • You don’t need a special mediation room – you can meditate anywhere you’re comfortable.
  • Meditation is like running – you have to start small and build muscle to go long distances.
  • Meditation will never give you a permanent sense of bliss and well-being – instead it gives you a too to help you create a space of peace and calm in your mind when you need it most.
  • Create a schedule for building and growing your meditation practice and then stick to it.
  • If you’re meditating in the morning do it before your morning coffee.
  • Don’t do your meditation after eating, especially big meals – try to meditate on an empty stomach.
  • Let gravity do it’s thing and really feel the sensation of sitting in your body.
  • Stretch when you’re doing to awaken your body but don’t jump up and move around too quickly.
  • Don’t use a timer and don’t rush – just do things in the time that comes naturally.
  • Cover your eyes with something if you feel the light or outside world distracting.
  • If your emotions are high and get in the way turn your attention to your body – where do you really feel these emotions gathering in your body?  Acknowledge that, feel it, then let it go and focus back on your breath.

By Jess Carlson;