This is a question I’m often asked, either on its own, or as part of an enquiry into my own personal meditation routine.
It’s no secret that I have never found meditation easy (or even sitting still for that matter), nor I am attracted to the way a lot of meditation is taught. In my view, it is often made unnecessarily complex and can lead to the ‘bar’ being set so high that people may well give it a go, develop a perception of failure and then simply give up.
This is what prompted me to write my book ‘7-Day Mindfulness’ as a genuinely accessible introduction to mindfulness and meditation for those who may feel they are too busy or just ‘can’t meditate’.
I genuinely mean it when I say to my clients that “if i can meditate, anyone can!”, but when exactly in the day should someone do it?
Well, the short answer is that you should meditate at the time of day that best suits YOU. Everyone is different and you will only find out your ideal time by experimenting with your practice by trying out different times.
There is definite value in establishing a set time for your daily meditation. This will allow you to develop your practice as a positive habit and for it to become an effortless part of your own routine for wellbeing.
Meditation Tips – My Personal Routine
Once my day has started properly I’m usually fairly quickly into ‘Tigger Mode’, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often wake up a fair few times feeling more like Eeyore!
So, I find that doing 5-10 minutes of dedicated meditation practice (usually ‘Mindfulness of Breath’) BEFORE I do anything else is a great way to start my day.
Practically, I usually stay in bed but prop myself up in such a way that I can’t just roll back to sleep and then I just close my eyes and focus on my breathing. As any thoughts or concerns about the day ahead enter my mind, I let them float by and gently guide my conscious mind back to the experience of breathing.
I find this works well for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gets it ‘out of the way’, so I’ve got no excuse for failing to find time later in my busy day. Secondly, as I frequently have vivid dreams, I find it is beneficial to have this time as a way of settling my mind after the period of subconscious activity that occurs during R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
In addition, I find it really sets me up for a great day, on both a conscious and subconscious level. I always refer to it as the ‘mental flossing’ which precedes the dental one.
Beyond this dedicated practice, if you have absorbed the core concepts of mindfulness (the ‘Key Attitudes’ in my book) then you will find lots of opportunities throughout each day to practice more opportunistic, everyday mindfulness.
In this way mindfulness and the different ways in can be applied through meditation is not just something you DO, but something that increasingly you ARE – mindful, in the moment, calm and balanced.