Why meditate daily?
Why meditate daily?
Judging by the question, I’m guessing you’re already sold on the idea of meditation, and rightly so. Meditation is proven to reduce stress, boost your immune system, improve your focus and keep you happy. But why do it every day?
The thing with meditation is that the real benefits come with consistent practice over time. A one-off session, or a sporadic attempt every week or so is still worthwhile, but it's unlikely to make a profound difference to your life and well-being. (Learn 7 Steps to Take Your Meditation Practice to the Next Level.)
Benefits Come Easier
When you practice every day - as opposed to, say, once per week - the benefits increase exponentially. The benefits are cumulative, so if you do a bit every day, it makes sense that you'll notice differences seven times faster than doing it once per week. It becomes easier each day to drop into that mindset, building on what you did the previous day, rather than having to restart each week.
Daily Gift to Yourself
A daily meditation practice will become something precious in your day. It's the time that you carve out for yourself to allow yourself to just be. It doesn’t have to be very long, even a short session of 10 minutes will do. The important thing is valuing yourself enough to protect that time. See it as a daily gift you give yourself.
Chance to Observe Thought Patterns
When you practice regularly you'll have a chance to observe the waves and patterns in your mind. You discover that some days your mind is calm, and on other days it’s jumpy and agitated. Meditation teaches you to sit gently with whatever comes up. If you’re practicing less often and you have a challenging session one day, you’re more likely to be turned off and skip your practice the following week. Much like falling off a horse, it’s better to get back on again as quickly as possible! (Read more in Vritti: Calming the Waves of Your Mind.)
The other thing is that new habits are much easier to create and maintain when they’re daily habits. A while ago when I was trying to write a weekly blog, I complained to a friend that I didn’t have time to do it every week. His advice? Write one every day instead. As counter-intuitive as that was, it worked!
When you commit to doing something every day, you prioritize it and make it part of your routine. You get into the habit of protecting the time you've set aside for it. Eventually, it becomes something that you do automatically, without having to go to the effort of seeing when and where you can squeeze it into your week. Once you get into a rhythm, the whole process begins to flow naturally on its own.
So, what are you waiting for? Set yourself a daily meditation challenge, commit to doing it once a day at the same time each day for two weeks. Try keeping a meditation journal to keep track of your time and progress. See what a difference it makes. You may find yourself continuing on well beyond the 14th day! (Read more in Meditation 101.)