Are you in the right headspace? Follow these five steps to implement a morning meditation routine
Discover how to get yourself in the right headspace and implement a meditation routine that’s lasting and effective.
What comes to mind when you think about meditation? Do you imagine a Tibetan monk sitting in a lotus pose for hours finding peace and transcending to the upper realms of consciousness?
Ok, maybe not, but when we try meditation for the first time, we promise ourselves we are going to do it everyday for the rest of our lives and we’ll never feel stressed again!
We do it for a few days, maybe even a couple weeks, but then life gets in the way and we lose motivation.
We get swept away by the tornado of stresses and strains we call life.
Studies by behavioural psychologists suggest people are reasonably good at starting something new, but most kick it within a couple weeks.
But how can they do it and why can’t we?
Utilising my experience as a patient and a practitioner I devised what I call the five A system (which can be used for any lifestyle change).
Follow the five A principles along with the three-week plan outlined here, which will help you get into the right headspace:
Step 1: ACCEPT what you are trying to do is extremely difficult
We must accept we are going against our societal and environmental programming. Not to mention our own subconscious programming that maybe doing everything in it’s power to distract us. You have decided to be a renegade against society and yourself. Accept and embrace what you have chosen to do is very difficult and it will take time to develop a meditation routine.
Step 2: ACKNOWLEDGE what’s holding you back
Before we can make any lasting positive change, we need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge what may be holding us back.
Ask yourself ‘what is holding me back or preventing me from changing’?
Write it down. It maybe fear, stress, the realisation that we may have to face ourselves without the comfort or stimulation from food, media or drugs.
Meditation often brings up thoughts we’ve tried to suppress. Think about ways you can resolve the issues holding you back. I often recommend seeing a psychotherapist/NLP/Hypnotherapist to help you remove these blocks.
Next, ask yourself why you want to meditate? Are you looking for enlightenment or to achieve the highest state of tranquillity? Hmmm, if you are then I’m afraid this article isn’t for you.
If you are looking to cultivate objectivity and awareness of yourself, then maybe this article can help.
If you want to know why you feel or react a certain way, meditation may be able to help.
If you want to examine underlying thoughts which have shaped your inner reality, meditation may be able to help.
BUT first acknowledge these are not the primary goal of meditation. These are simply effects. Our primary goal is to cultivate the ‘still small voice in our mind’ and to just notice what’s going on.
To cultivate awareness.
Just know you’ve decided to meditate for a reason…and you are ready to begin your journey. Go for it!
Step 3: APPRECIATE what you can do!
We live in a society that bombards us with reminders of our inadequacies and insufficiencies…our lack of abilities and possessions. In the beginning, just focus on what you can do, don’t worry about what you can’t. Just try to maintain appreciation and gratitude.
I miss days all the time but I make an extra effort to be mindful when I use technology, or perform an activity such as washing my hands.
If you find it difficult on one day and manage 10 seconds, that’s ok! Just appreciate you managed to do something and be grateful for it.
Trying to meditate forcefully goes against the point of doing it. I just notice my mind drifting and that it maybe, a good time to stop. I don’t judge or beat myself up. I thank myself for the time I spent and get on with my day.
Step 4: ABOLISH big steps.
As the saying goes ‘a journey of a thousand steps’ starts with a single step.
A routine or habit is made up of many little steps. It will take baby steps to eventually make meditation a routine.
In my experience it takes around 3 months to develop a mediation habit. Remember you’ve been ‘mindless’ for much longer than you’ve been mindful so try to embrace the journey.
I began meditating for 15 seconds and over a few months, I was able to consistently meditate for 30 minutes.
Just trust you will eventually get there no matter how small the step.
Step 5: ANCHOR The habit
Studies investigating the elements of implementing positive change have indicated that people who rely on environmental cues or objects that they associate with an act, tend to maintain a habit longer.
I use my stop watch and a crystal that was given to me. I know when I have those two things I just ‘switch on’ and I’m in the zone.
Try and find one or two objects that you can use during the meditation to get you in the zone.
I find using a stop watch and not my device helps anchor me to the meditation because I am not so disturbed if it goes off if I want to continue meditating.
Take a good look at your living areas and decide the space that’s most suitable.
Try to find an area that is already involved in your daily routine. I like to sit on my bed because I know the moment I leave my bedroom in the morning the chance of meditating drops dramatically.
In order to get into the right headspace and nurture a meditation routine:
- Accept: What you are trying to do is extremely difficult. It will take time and require small steps.
- Acknolwedge: Why you are meditating? What are the reasons? Make sure they are realistic and suitable to your needs.
- Appreciate: What you can do! It will be difficult at times but it helps to appreciate and be grateful for what you can do.
- Abolish: The big steps. Routines and habits are made up of little steps. Be prepared to break down your goal into many baby steps.
- Anchor: The habit so meditation becomes automated and integrated into your lifestyle.
To find out the details of how to put this into practice and develop a meditation routine check out my three week plan.
Wishing you well on your path to health,