Making Meditation and Mindfulness a Habit

By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor

Self motivating to exercise isn’t difficult for me. It’s such a habit, I don’t think twice about going for a run or catching a yoga class. I just do it. Meditating, on the other hand, is a whole different experience. I have tried for years to establish a daily meditating habit, using various “challenges” and other guided programs, but it’s never stuck. It’s not that I haven’t experienced the benefits of meditation – greater calmness and focus, gratitude for quiet and breath – it’s just never been addictive to me the way exercise is.

But lately I’ve gotten hooked on Headspace, an online meditation and mindfulness program that gently supports a daily habit with an initial package of 10, 10-minute “training” meditations guided by the soothing voice of company founder and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe. (I first discovered Andy and Headspace via his Ted Talk.)

Admittedly, it took me about 20 days to complete the 10-day bootcamp, but having completed that and then ponying up for a subscription that gives me access to hundreds of hours of meditations, it’s slowly become a morning ritual. Coffee first, then 20 minutes with Andy. (His British accent helps.) With the subscription, I can choose additional foundational meditations (which I recommend for really experiencing the rewards and establishing the routine), plus themed packages around stress, performance and relationships.

My next challenge is working mindful moments into the rest of my day, continuing to experience the calm and clarity I feel after a 20-minute morning session. I also know that on those days when I have time for only meditation or exercise, the latter will win. And, in fact, I’ve discovered I can work mindfulness into my workouts as well as after, ending with a five-minute meditation to calm my breath, settle my head and better prepare me for whatever’s next.

As Andy says: “Treat your head right, everything else will follow.”

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