The benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness are plenty. However for many people it’s difficult, or at least appears to be, to find the time needed to realize them. When most people think of meditation, it’s likely they imagine a long and difficult process, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are many simple ways you can make meditation easy and fit it into even the most hectic of schedules. Start Small

When starting a new project, hobby, or other endeavor, it’s easy to get swept up in it all. Everything is new, exciting, and full of possibilities. So instead of making a small realistic commitment to our new favorite activity, we jump right into the deep end. For some people this works, and that’s great! But for most of us, this is a surefire way to burnout. Instead of telling yourself “I am going to meditate for 30 minutes a day” try to set the bar a little lower, perhaps 3-5 minutes a day instead. The smaller goal is less daunting, and easier to stick with past the first few days. As you practice meditation and begin to get better at it, you will find it easier and easier to meditate for longer periods of time. Soon you will be looking forward towards your 30 minutes of peace instead of dreading your 30 minutes of frustration.

MEDITATE WITH A FRIEND

It’s easy to think of meditation as a quiet solo activity. While it very much can be, it by no means has to be. In fact, some people find it much easier to meditate with a partner than by themselves. This is a great bonding activity for a friend, child, or a partner. Set your timer as you normally would and sit facing the other person. Begin by first focusing on establishing yourself, focusing on your own breathing. After a few seconds, turn your attention to the other person. Watch them as they breathe, focus your awareness on the rise and fall of your chest. Do this for a few breathes before returning your focus to your own body. Not only is this a great way to meditate, but the intimacy of the activity can even help you to feel closer to the other person.

ESTABLISH A ROUTINE

One of the best ways to make meditation easy is by establishing a strict routine. Create a space for yourself where you will meditate each time. Surround yourself with objects that bring you a sense of calm, such as a favorite plant or scented candle. Use this space for meditation only, train your mind to feel relaxed as you enter. Each time you begin to meditate, follow the same mantra or set of mental instructions. The familiarity will help you more quickly enter a state of relaxation.

PRACTICE MINDFUL EXERCISE

There’s only so many hours in a day, and between work, life, and family it’s hard to fit everything all in. For many people, this comes down to choosing between healthy activities like meditation or exercise. Thankfully, they needn’t be mutually exclusive. You can make meditation easy on the go by practicing mindfulness during your exercise routine. Take notice of your breathing, counting each breath as you inhale and exhale. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going for a run or a walk, shift your awareness to the wind in your hair, or the feel of your feet against the pavement.

MEDITATE WITH A PURPOSE

Meditation for its own sake is a completely valid practice, however many people find it hard to do this, especially when they are first starting out. Make meditation easy by doing it for a purpose or goal. Try to identify a goal you want to accomplish and focus your efforts on this during your time. Use positive mantras to improve self-esteem, find forgiveness, or as a means to express gratitude. Establishing a goal serves as both an incentive to meditate, and for some can deliver a more tangible reward than they would otherwise receive.

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