Take a Moment: How to Incorporate Meditation into your Self Care Routine
Updated: Feb 18
By Kendra Stiers
I was first introduced to the practice of meditation like many other people– on tv. Specifically, I watched Aang from The Last Airbender meditate in order to improve his control over his skills as the Avatar. Of course, meditation won’t allow you to bend the elements, but it can have important mental and emotional benefits. Whether you’ve been practicing for a while or you’ve never tried before, read on to learn why and how to try meditation!
It’s a tried and true practice. Scholars aren’t sure whether the practice originated in India or China, but written records put meditation as far back as 1500 BCE! Now it’s an open practice, with many religions adopting meditation for the purposes of devotion and reflection.
But even when meditation is not connected to a religion, it can have positive effects on your health and your life. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation brings many people a sense of calm, self-awareness, and even creativity, all of which can help reduce stress, anxiety, sleep problems, headaches, etc. In general, mindfulness is an important component in any wellness routine, and meditation is a simple way to achieve that.
If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because meditation can be harder than it seems. Especially as students, who are thinking about what seems like a million things at once, it can be hard to quiet all the chatter.
Headspace, a popular app for people practicing mindfulness, has laid out 13 of their tips for beginners to meditation. Here are some that I have found most helpful:
Consistency is key! The more you practice, the easier it will be to clear your mind. Maybe this means practicing every day. Maybe you follow a series of guided meditations on Youtube. Only meditating once or twice will not get you positive results immediately.
Get comfortable. You don’t have to sit in the classic cross-legged stance if that’s not comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to be focusing on that instead of on clearing your mind. Try laying on the floor or sitting against the wall.
Take Notes. I know it seems counterintuitive to be taking notes when you’re supposed to be easing your stress, but remembering certain details will help you learn and grow comfortable with the practice. Jot down how you feel during meditation, what kind of things your mind wandered to, which guided meditations you like, or any constructive observations to help build confidence in your meditation.
Probably the most important thing to remember about meditation is that you don’t have to be perfect at it! If your mind wanders, be kind to yourself. There are many different ways to meditate, and it might take some time to figure out what feels right for you. Because, at the end of the day, meditation is not a practice for punishment, it’s a practice for mindfulness and self-improvement. Good luck in your practice!