There is no right time to meditate, it’s going to be different for everyone.
The right time for you, is the time when you are going to be able to practice it in a regular way. If you can figure out the best time for you and stick with it, this will help you to create a routine.
There are, however, a few steps that can help you find your best time to meditate and turn it into something you enjoy doing and into a habit.
1. Experiment. Try different schedules and times. Notice how you feel when you meditate at different times and what works with your daily routine. Sometimes what we think works for us, just brings tension, only by experimenting will you know. This will help you to find the time that works for you and that doesn’t interfere with your day (or you will create resistance).
Start by looking for small ways to incorporate into your daily life. If you don’t have time during the day start waking up 15 minutes early and sit with a cup of tea and practice deep breathing before the chaos of the day begins.
If you have a lunch time break take a walk around the block or go to a park and listen to a guided breathing meditation.
Or maybe after the kids are in bed: put your phone away and take 15 minutes in silence for you.
If you notice that a certain schedule is not working, try another one until it feels right. Don’t force it.
After you have established those 15 minutes for you, be curious and explore.
2. Schedule your meditation practice and guard that time. You can start by bringing self-awareness to the excuses your mind is telling you. “I don’t have the time” is an excuse. Not having the time means not having your priorities clear.
When you understand the importance of making time for you, you will find the time.
Write it in your agenda, don’t leave it for last. Schedule it. Find small holes in your schedule. The key to finding a little bit of personal time is to look for the small pockets of air. Remember, we’re talking about only a few minutes at a time.
It can be hard for all of us to find the extra time. But it is extremely important to plan this time. After you make it a priority, be consistent, turn it into a habit.
You will start seeing immediate results and that will be all the motivation you need to continue.
3. Eliminate distractions. One of the reasons why many people prefer to do their meditation practice in the morning is because they have fewer distractions. However, if the morning doesn’t work for you just make sure your phone is in silent mode and that you are not going to be disturbed. We are so used to being busy that it’s hard to escape from being immersed in the activities of the day, and in the beginning it feels like you have to tear yourself away from your work or from family.
4. Connect it to another regular habit. The quickest way to develop your practice routine, and create new habit pathways, is to attach it to something you already do consistently.
5. Commitment. Taking life to the next level begins by accepting total and full responsibility for our life (and refusing to blame anyone else). Be honest with yourself.
Once you identify the best times to meditate, schedule them and commit to it. When the appointed time comes, stop everything and start your meditation practice. Be aware that something will happen that will tempt you to deviate from the plan: you will get a phone call, a deadline will be changed, your e-mail and social channels will ping repeatedly. Life will continue to happen. Stick to your commitment. Understanding its importance, and realising it’s not a waste of your time, but instead it can make you gain, not only time, but energy and joy, is crucial for your commitment to the practice.
6. Break only for emergencies. At first your mind is going to fight it. Ask yourself: “can this email wait a few minutes?” “do I really have to do this now?”, that way you can start to make the distinction between a true emergency or just routine. We usually live on autopilot, it’s difficult to make new habits. To overcome this, you can tell yourself that you can get right back to whatever issue arises as soon as the meditation is over. You may even have a better handle on the issue after meditation than you did before.
7. Do it anyway. Even if you are not “feeling” it. If you are not in the mood. If you are distracted, restless and having trouble letting go. Meditate anyway. It is better to meditate while distracted than not to meditate at all.
8. Be kind. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you miss a practice one day, just show up on the day after. If your routine changes, be open to meditate on another schedule. Guilt tripping is not productive.
“So what is a good meditator? The one who meditates”~Allan Lokos
Take good care of you,