Meditation is the life of the soul:

Action, the soul of meditation.

And honor the reward of action.

Francis Quarles

Meditation is an excellent habit to add to your daily routine. Not only does it help you relax, but it also helps with almost every other part of your life as well. Your focus will improve. Your appreciation for all the positive things in your life will increase. You will get more done. You sleep better. The list of the beneficial effects is practically endless.

There are many forms of meditation. But rather than trying to track down the perfect method, we are going to focus today on simply making meditation a daily habit.

How do you get started?

1. Keep it short, at first. The perfect way to fail at anything is to try to do it all at once. This is true whether we are talking about preparing to run your first marathon or about meditation. Meditation is a lot of exercise for your mind. Start with 5 minutes or less.

2. Set a schedule. Your scheduled time does not have to be etched in stone. Try something more generalized like during lunch, or in bed after you wake up. Choose a time and stick to it.

3. Find a good spot. You will need to find a time and place that are conducive to being able to concentrate. Quietness and solitude help but are not absolute requirements.

4. Sit down. You don’t need to try to sit in a special position, or purchase new clothes, pillows, or anything else. What is important here is that you can sit comfortably without having to move throughout the meditation. A chair or bench is fine. You might even find it helpful to sit on the floor with your back against the wall or sofa.

5. Progress slowly. Three minutes a day is great place to start. You can do five minutes next week. You are not trying to prove to yourself that you can do it for 30 minutes, you are trying to gently introduce meditation into your life in a way that will result in it becoming a daily habit. Take a month to six weeks to work your way up to 30 minutes.

6. Focus on your breathing. While you are sitting, simply focus on your breath and your breathing. Your eyes can be open or closed, this is entirely up to you. Count your breaths and when you reach 10, start over again. See how long you can go before your mind wanders> And, yes, your mind will wander.

When you catch yourself thinking about something other than your breath, simply gently pull your attention back to your breath. It will be a struggle to maintain your focus at first, but your ability to this will improve with time.

7. Do it every day. The key to establishing good, positive habits is to do them daily. It won’t be very long before your meditation habit is as much a part of your life as brushing your teeth.

Of course, if you haven’t meditated before you may be asking yourself what sitting down and counting your breaths will do for you. If you can learn to focus completely on your breathing, you can learn to focus on anything!

Eventually, you will reach a point that when you are working, you think about nothing but work you are performing. You will become much more effective and efficient at work. When you are spending time with your family, you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the joy of being together. During dinner, you will think only about the dinner experience.

You can essentially eliminate all stress from your life, because you will always be thinking about and focusing on your present experience. Your stress level will decrease dramatically when can pull your mind away from the habit of either thinking about the past or projecting ahead into the future. Meditation helps you live your life fully in the present.

Start meditating today.

Remember: You don’t need anything except a place to sit down and a few minutes of your time.

But the benefits can last a lifetime!

Photo Credit: Vitó via Compfight cc